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BITTER

A bitter is prepared by infusion or distillation, using aromatic herbs, bark, roots, and/or fruit, as well as various spices for their medicinal properties and flavor. Quite often, wormwood leaves, yarrow flowers, gentian roots, ginger, anise are used as ingredients. Bitters have been known from ancient times and are said to have initially been prepared as medicines in laboratories of alchemists and in monastic cells. However, the British Encyclopedia mentions “the commonly accepted” date and place of their creation: 1533, France. Nowadays bitters are characterized by a very wide range of color and taste shades and are first of all enjoyed, rather than used as remedies. What unites them is their bitter or bittersweet taste, which accounts for the name of this beverage. Bitter tinctures, some kinds of vermouth and liqueurs belong to this category: all of them, as a rule, are made on the basis of extracts of herbs, roots, stalks and leaves of medicinal herbs, and various spices derived by way of infusion. Curiously enough, bitters are more widespread in countries with a hot climate, the reason of it being their excellent thirst-quenching property. These beverages are generally used as flavorings in cocktails, however, they can be enjoyed straight as well, since they are famous for their positive impact on digestion (in case of moderate consumption) and “anti-hangover” properties.