It used to be that you had one or two choices of bitters for all of your cocktail-mixing needs, but in the past few years, a craft cocktail popularity explosion has led to a veritable plethora of different small-batch, natural, and organic bitters options to explore.
Bitters are commonly used to add a touch of pizzaz to cocktails; Serious Eats calls them “the spice of the cocktail world,” both because they are made from spices and roots and because they serve the same role in cocktails as spices do in food: they add a hint of a different flavor that can complement the main ingredients and turn the drink into something entirely new and exciting.
But before they were added to the Old-Fashioned or the Manhattan, bitters were actually known as a natural solution to digestive woes in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine.
“Bitters are safe, effective, time-tested botanical formulas that aid digestion using bitter herbs,” Medicine Hunter Chris Kilham tells Organic Spa Magazine. “Bitter compounds in plants stimulate the production of digestive juices and help detoxify the liver.”
He recommends adding bitters to a glass of filtered water and drinking them after a meal to reap the benefits.
Whether you’re mixing them into your favorite cocktail recipe or sipping on them to stave off heartburn, here are just a few natural and organic bitters brands we love.
El Guapo is a company out of New Orleans producing small batch, locally sourced, non-GMO bitters, syrups, and tonics. Founded by New Orleans bartender Scot Mattox, the company boasts a large variety of different flavors, many of which are inspired by the company's NOLA roots: Chicory Pecan and Crawfish Boil find their place among other offerings like Holiday Pie, Cucumber Lavender, and Spiced Cocoa Tea.
If you were lucky enough to purchase Organic Authority's recent Holiday Box, you can put El Guapo's bitters to the test! These complex, aromatic bitters joined a host of our favorite natural and organic brands in this box of goodies.
BAR KEEP Bitters were born of the collaboration between Los Angeles-based Greenbar Distillery and several talented bartenders across the U.S. These USDA-certified organic bitters are devoid of any artificial colors or other additives, and they come in a host of fun flavors like lavender, Chinese five-spice, and saffron.
These uniquely-flavored bitters also afford you the opportunity to give back: through a collaboration with Sustainable Harvest International, Greenbar Distillery has committed to planting a tree for every bottle purchased. Since 2008, the distillery has planted a whopping 638,759 trees.
Family-owned Wigle Whiskey has received myriad awards for its craft American rye and wheat whiskeys, and it applies the same care and attention to the creation of its organic bitters. Wigle currently produces four different flavors: Mole, Rosemary Lavender, Pomander Orange, and Aromatic (a careful blend of small-batch organic whiskey infused with cardamom, star anise, mace, gentian root, and orris root), each of which is a great addition to whiskey-based cocktails.
Bittermens got its start in San Francisco with its Mexican-inspired Xocolatl Mole bitters, and since then, the company has expanded to create over a dozen flavors, including Grapefruit, Orange Cream, Celery Shrub, and Hellfire Habanero. These small-batch bitters are handmade in the company's New Orleans facility, and the wide variety of flavors means there's something for everyone.
Urban Moonshine’s brand focus is specifically on digestive bitters to be used as health remedies.
“Our mission is to bridge the gap between the traditional stereotype of the ‘back-woods herbalist’ and bring plant-based wellness to the modern health-conscious individual who is seeking better options,” writes the company.
Whole-plant extraction is used to produce these high-quality certified organic bitters, bringing out the most in the herbs’ vibrancy and potency. The company’s product line is more focused on effectiveness and plant-medicine than many other bitters on this list, including Healthy Liver, Calm Tummy, and Maple Digestive bitters, but don’t be fooled: these bitters are just as delicious an addition to your home bar as many versions specially designed for cocktails.
*Disclaimer: Help support Organic Authority! Our site is dedicated to helping people live a conscious lifestyle. We’ve provided some affiliate links above in case you wish to purchase any of these products.
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