The Bitter Truth 10 Bottle Give-Away Entry Deadline: Friday 15th December, 2023
There are a few different dates kicking around for Bartender Appreciation Day, but because it falls right at the start of the month and is officially ‘nearly Christmas’, here at BarLifeUK we favour December 2nd.
The next three weeks will see bars filled with office party warriors, many of whom will be drinking at an unfamiliar speed and intensity, resulting in vomit, drama, and new year visits to the HR office. It’s a period in which bartenders wake up in the afternoon needing to gather all of their inner strength for the battles ahead, and remind themselves why they love hospitality. In other words, it’s a time of year when bartenders deserve an extra dollop of appreciation for the work they do and the joy they dispense.
The Bitter Truth co-founder Stephan Berg is a former bartender and knows this all to well, which is why the company has celebrated Bartender Appreciation Day with big product give-away prizes for the past few years, and 2023 is no exception. The Bitter Truth have provided 10 bottles of their bitters, liqueurs, and rums for a lucky BarLifeUK reader, and all you need to do to enter the comp is fill out the form at the bottom of the page, and click ‘submit’.
The Bitter Truth Bitters: Aromatic, Chocolate, Orange and Black Cherry
The Bitter Truth Liqueurs: Pimento, Falernum, Violet
Tiki Lovers Rum: White, Dark and Pineapple.
Keen-eyed readers will notice ‘Black Cherry’ among the bitters included in the prize, which is not currently available in the UK. This is because Black Cherry is a new liquid which The Bitter Truth unveiled at Bar Convent Berlin earlier this year, meaning the winner of this comp will be among the first Brits to try it. We had a quick chat with Stephan Berg about the new liquid, Bartender Appreciation Day, and some of the world’s best bars:
BLUK: Hello Stephan, thanks for your time today. I understand The Bitter Truth launched a new liquid at BCB. What can you tell us about it?
SB: It is indeed true. We just launched our new Black Cherry Bitters at the Bar Convent Berlin with incredible reception. We had plans for a proper cherry bitters for some time as cherries have their place in the cocktail world and who doesn’t like cherries? It has been a while since launching a new flavor, but we wanted to come back with something special again. So, we went through our archives with old cocktail books and found something really interesting. After that, in true The Bitter Truth fashion, we started recreating, what once was and made it contemporary. The Bitter Truth Black Cherry Bitters are a tribute to a famous 19th-century aromatic bitters. Just like with other Bitters from our range, we pay homage to “Bitters from times gone by”. It obviously also follows our known agenda for natural and complex flavors and we couldn’t be more satisfied with the result. It is super intense, full of sour cherry flavors with a balanced backbone of bitter herb flavors and medicinal notes that may remind some folks of Tonka Beans, while we don’t use any of these.
BLUK: I believe there are now 13 different bitters in the Bitter Truth Range (correct me if I’m wrong!), how do you go about choosing a new variety, and what does the flavour development and ingredient sourcing process look like? SB: Yes, 13 different bitters now, but our range has naturally grown over a a time span of 17 years. When we launched our first bitters we clung to the traditional types of aromatic and orange as these were the most used bitters in the past. But we soon branched out into widening the portfolio with flavors like Creole, Chocolate, Lemon and Grapefruit Bitters. We were always asking ourselves: What is missing in the market and what would bring the cocktail forward. Usually it starts with an idea in our heads and we go from there. When we created our Celery Bitters, there was nothing like it around for about a century and look where the cocktail world is heading now with savoury flavors. Cucumber and Olive Bitters were the natural extension of our savoury bitters and the latter is now among the best selling products. We always try to identify the best possible ingredients and try the process most of it in-house, but we rely also on our suppliers and partners for their expertise in high quality ingredients.
BLUK: Are there any more new Bitter Truth flavours or products in the pipeline?
Yes there is more to come, but that is something for the future.
BLUK: The Bitter Truth has supported Bartender Appreciation Day for a number of years – why do you think this is an important date to mark?
SB: Having worked behind the bar for many years, we know what a hard profession a bartending career can be. Long and late ours, irregular breaks, challenging work environment, and of course you are constantly surrounded by alcohol with all the dangers that go along with it. Bartender Appreciation Day honors the work of all bartenders as it is the bartender who plays a huge part in the customer experience when people are going out.
BLUK: On the subject of bars and bartenders, can you tell us your favourite place to drink cocktails, and somewhere you have heard great things about and would like to visit?
SB: It is a difficult question as there are so many great bars in all parts of the world. There are those bars who make the „Best of List“ and it is usually exciting to see how new concepts and technics are put into reality. We are blessed to have a number of excellent and long running bars in our hometown Munich such as Schumanns Bar or Tabacco Bar. No matter when you are visiting these are bars the experience is always very convincing and satisfying. Having visited a vast number of places over the years we are still excited when we go somewhere and are unexpectedly blown away by the creativity of bartenders in any corner of the world. We heard good things about some bars in Mexico City like Licorería Limantour and Hanky Panky. Weare eager to visit, but haven’t had the chance yet.
BLUK: The Bitter Truth range is inspired by “bitters from times gone by”, if you could look back at cocktail history and taste or recreate any spirit that is no longer made, which would it be?
SB: Over the years we tried recreating a number of iconic bitters from the past, such as Bogart`s Bitters (the Bitters that Jerry Thomas called for, in the original versions of his famous book “The Bar-Tenders Guide: How to mix Drinks, or The Bon-Vivant’s companion”, which is a replica of the famous Bokers`s Bitters and we own an original bottle of these), Jerry Thomas Own Decanter Bitters & Celery Bitters to name a few. One of the best tasting bitters in history is undoubtedly Abbott`s Bitters which went out of business in the mid 1950`s and while there were a few commercial attempts to bring it back the results fell short in our opinion and it all resulted in a unnecessary trademark dispute so we have doubts there will ever be another Abbott`s Bitters and maybe that is also good news. It will ensure its iconic status.