The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters

March 4th, 2010

It’s no secret I’m a huge fan of bitters, so the current cocktail renaissance that is allowing so many different bitters to come to market is keeping me very happy indeed. However, with quite so many different bitters coming out it can be hard to keep track and I even begin to wonder if I really need over 50 bottles of bitters. Of course the second I hear of a new brand coming out that doubt soon vanishes and I find myself reaching for the credit card to place an order.

Bitters bottles

Even when suffering with bitters fatigue one brand I follow with keen interest is The Bitter Truth. A Germany outfit ran by Stephan Berg and Alex Hauck, two former bartenders from Munich, they started out in 2006 with an “Old TIme” aromatic bitters and an orange bitters, and have since expanded the range to include, amongst others, a tribute to Jerry Thomas, the first modern celery bitters, and even a dried fruit bitters produced specially for the world’s most expensive cocktail at the Burj al-Arab Hotel in Dubai.

Consistently excellent, I always look forward to new releases from The Bitter Truth, and happily this month sees another product join the line up. Their latest bitters are influenced by creole cuisine and New Orleans cocktail history. An attempt to replicate what a creole cuisine influenced bitters from the nineteenth century might have tasted like, The Bitter Truth Creole bitters

The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters bottle

The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters

39% ABV

Packaged in the 200ml bottle that is used for the new American editions, The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters feature a beautiful metalic-red floral-patterned label. The liquid itself is a fairly vivid cherry red colour, and has a light anise aroma. In the mouth a strong earthy anise flavour dominates, with just a hint of sweetness which quickly dissipates to reveal spices like cardamom and a subtle floral note. These linger as a medium bitterness develops on the finish along with some alcoholic heat.

The obvious bitters to compare these to is of course Peychaud’s, but while superficially they are similar – the bright red colour and anise flavours – the overall taste profile is quite different. Peychaud’s is more dominantly anise, and sweeter (though by no means over-sweet!) with a lighter more floral flavour. TBT Creole bitters on the other hand have a more complex combination of flavours with much more spice and bitterness, and a deeper, longer finish.

Improved Brandy Cocktail

View in: oz | ml | shots

The Creole bitters bottle recommends the Improved Brandy Cocktail, which is more commonly referred to as a brandy Sazerac. The bitters work well here adding extra nuance to the Cognac and resulting in a well-rounded and complex cocktail. The bitters work similarly well in the traditional Sazerac, where they add a little less anise flavour than Peychaud’s but give the drink a slightly more aromatic edge. I found I needed just a touch more sugar syrup to counteract the heavier bitterness of the Creole bitters, but the overall result was great.

Sitting between a traditional aromatic bitters and Peychaud’s, The Bitter Truth Creole bitters offer a wonderful depth that really adds to cocktails. While I can see them working as a replacement for Peychaud’s I think the most interesting results will be found in their use as an alternative to traditional aromatic bitters in drinks like the Manhattan where they work very well. I also eagerly await the new cocktails that will undoubtably be inspired by Creole bitters.

Overall a great new bitters and a must for the shelves of anyone with more than a passing interest in cocktails.

The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters will be available from The Bitter Truth Shop and retail stores by the end of March 2010.

Note: In the interests of full disclosure, The Bitter Truth Creole bitters reviewed here were supplied to me by The Bitter Truth.

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Posted in Bitters, Reviews

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11 responses to “The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters”

  1. Tiare Tiare says:

    This review was like a silver plate served..thank you! i`ve been anxiously waiting since i heard about `em! first thing end of march is a visit to the BT store. Then i`m gonna make some interesting cocktails..

  2. The Concierge The Concierge says:

    A bitter that is between Peychaud’s and Angostura is a marriage made in Vegas. We in the colonies are jealous at your advance tasting but rejoice in that we don’t have to give 50ml of each bottle to the crown.

  3. Mari Mari says:

    We are unable to find ANY bitters in Michigan. Much less specific bitters. Varying rumors from liquor store salespeople include: a) a state-wide embargo b) fight between state-liquor agency and bitters distributors c) catastrophe affecting crops so there were no more bitters made this year or again ever.

    Yeah. I tried to find a recipe so that I could make my own… I’m not able to track down the 45 hard-to-find ingredients that are included in tiny amounts.

  4. Thirsty in LA Thirsty in LA says:

    Had a chance to sample the Bitter Truth range at Las Perlas yesterday afternoon. The Creole Bitters is indeed fantastic. Stephan and Alex are hosting a Bitters Master Class at Bar Keeper in Silver Lake tomorrow, which should be enlightening.

  5. The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters | The Bitter Truth says:

    [...] Review of The Bitter Truth Creole Bitters » Cocktail adventures at Oh Gosh!. Share and [...]

  6. Hobson’s Choice Hobson's Choice says:

    Great post. I missed out on the visit by the Bitter Truth duo to LA this week. I will certainly have to make up for it by getting my hands on this bottling.

  7. Sir Mango Sir Mango says:

    Thanks for the review. You use really much sugar in the Brandy Cocktail. I thought even 1 barspoon sugar sirup in my Sazerac made it taste sweet.

    Is the creole bitters more intense flavorwise then Peychaud’s? I made my first Sazerac tonight and I used the Peychaud’s Bitters the first time too. What I experienced is Peychaud’s is far behind Angostura Bitters as intensity goes – I used four big dashes – the recipe says 2.

  8. A Brief Encounter with Stephan Berg and Alexander Hauck from The Bitter Truth « Stirred, Not Shaken says:

    [...] [Photo by Jay Hepburn] [...]

  9. Blair, aka Trader Tiki Blair, aka Trader Tiki says:


    I also got a chance to try these at the Bitter Truth seminar here in Portland.

    As someone who has slung somewhere in the thousands of Sazeracs, I have to say these Creole Bitters will rock everyone’s world. They are quite amazing, with intense flavors. A Sazerac with these is a life-changing experience.

    and now that we’ve got Herbsaint Original Formula out, looks like it’s time for Peychaud’s to up their game.


  10. Dinah Sanders Dinah Sanders says:

    I completely agree with Blair. These are just stunningly good and I have a hard time seeing when I would ever reach for the Peychaud’s instead of Bitter Truth Creole.

  11. Tiare Tiare says:

    They came! enjoying a Saz now..omg..i must say a “Creole Sazerac” is amazing!

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