What exactly are Bitters?
Bitters: Bitters are a liquid extraction of seeds, herbs, bark, roots, flowers, leaves and fruit of various plants dissolved in alcohol or glycerin. They are highly concentrated and are used by the dash as a flavor enhancement to cocktails, soft beverages and foods. They typically have a bitter or bittersweet flavor.
Fun Facts about the Human Palate
- The human palate has 10,000 taste buds (50 to 150 taste receptors per taste bud)
- It is a myth that taste buds are broken up into sections of the tongue.
- Bitter is the most complex taste sensory humans have (25 different taste receptors)
- By not addressing bitters on the palate you are not using 20% of the tongue’s capacity for taste.
The Science and Signals of Tasting
These tastes signal to the body that you are:
- Sweet – getting ready to take in carbohydrates
- Salty – getting ready to experience minerals
- Umami – getting ready to take in protein
- Sour – eating something rotten
- Bitter – eating something poisonous
The Science of Scent
- Bitters are aromatic in nature and therefore help enhance taste through smell.
- The human nose has 10,000 more smell receptors than the taste receptors on the tongue.
- The nose also tells us what we are tasting because smell is directly linked to the part of our brain that stores memory.
- Bitter and sweet taste receptors are basically structured the same, therefore bitter and sweet often complement each other.
A Bitter Sweet Symphony of Flavour
- Adds additional flavour and complexity to a drink
- Intensifies flavour in other ingredients
- Counteracts the acidic content of citrus juice
- Decreases the harshness of raw spirits
Bitters – A Healthy Elixir
- Increases balance and flavour to light beverages
- Cleanses the palate
- Increases appetite
- Helps digest