Bitters are made by enfusing numerous types of tree roots, spices, herbs and fruit in alcohol to create a concentrated aroma and flavour.
Ingredients such as gentian root, cinchona bark and cassia are the most commonly used as the bittering agent.
Their use dates back as far as the ancient Egyptians and Romans can continues today. Orginally designed for medicinal and health benefits.
The Bitter taste and ingredeints aid digestion by stimulating the taste buds and disgestive system. Over time they became the cure for all ills, sold by quack doctors as elixirs. Over time digestive bitters appeared with less out landish claims and but are still widely sold today. Strict regulations now apply over claims for any health benefits for products.
Tonic water launched by Schwepps in 1870's has quinne which helps protect against Maleria and we drunk widely in the Bristhish Empire with Gin creating the G&T.
The development of Cocktails in the 1900's, particulary in the USA, saw Bitters being used to add new flavours and balance to the often sweet concoctions.