Bitter Magic

Written by Fat and the Moon November 03, 2018

Bitter is the flavor of our ancestors. The more ancient the ancestor, the more bitter dominant their flavor experience. The plants which comprised MOST our fore-ma’s and pa’s diets were unadulterated, wild plants. Over time, the simultaneous domestication of humans, plants and animals along with basic food processing technologies (i.e. cooking, soaking), stripped the plants of their bitter, and often times, medicinal constituents. Those phytochemicals that don’t taste so great were later introduced back into human diet in smaller doses through, that’s right, herbal medicine. Genius, huh?

Bottom line: we need the bitter compounds in plants for optimal health. THAT is a paleo diet. That cassava, almond flour and bacon scone? Um, sorta.

Bitter flavors aid the bod in digesting and ABSORBING the goodness of our foods. The pre-meal apéritif is the result of thousands of years of harmonizing pleasure and pragmatism. Pleasure + Pragmatism = Wellness

The word ‘bitter’ is loaded with negative connotations, yet bitter in balance expands our palate; both literally and figuratively. After letting a few drops of bitters light up your tastebuds, notice how much how much brighter sweet flavors taste, or how satisfying rich foods feel in your mouth. That’s the pleasure bit. As for the pragmatic: a few drops of bitters before a meal gets the digestive juices flowing, starting with increasing the acidity your saliva. By the time that delicious bite is coming down the pipe, your bod’s bile is ready and waiting. Proper digestion is the core of our health. Bitters support the bod in turning food into fuel.

So, how does one enjoy the benefits of bitters?

Check out the pleasure/pragmatism continuum in these few applications of Bitters:



Beneficent Bile Begetting:

15 minutes before a meal, drop 3 drops on your tongue. Let the bitter flave get your salivia streaming.

Belly Ache Bitters:

For that post windy care ride/ overindulgent meal kinda belly ache. Add a full dropper of bitters to 8 oz sparkling water. Add a squirt of lime or lemon and sip.

Brandy Old Fashioned

For those who are old fashion at heart, or are just from Milwaukee, brandy is my favorite spirit to use for cordials, so one I have around. This is the staple cocktail of my dad’s side of the family.

Fun fact: Wisconsin consumes the most brandy out of all the states in the US- and I think it is because they are mixing lots of this recipe below…

2 oz brandy

½ dropper full bitters

2 orange slices

1 sugar cube

2 maraschino cherries

Selter to top.

Drop a sugar cube into a glass, drop on bitters. Add fruit and muddle until the sugar dissolves, then add brandy, a cube of ice and selter to top off. Drink to your health and the Green Bay Packers….uh.