Old Bitter Labels

by Darcy O'Neil on December 2012

Bitters are big business in the cocktail world and historically a cocktail wasn't a cocktail without bitters, so it only makes sense. We often associate bitters with bars because of the cocktail, but the reality is that bitters were most likely sourced from the local pharmacy prior to prohibition. Even when bartenders were making thier own bitters, they probably sourced the ingredients from the pharmacy. And let's face it, bitters were considered medicinal.

Modern bartenders can rhyme off some of the classic bitters, like Angostura, Bokers and Abbott's but there were literally hundreds of different brands. Most were just local or regional products created by savy druggists looking to expand their income. The more popular versions had well designed labels, which brings me to the point of this post. Check out these cool bitter labels.

Old Bitter Labels

Bitters-gainers-1868

Gainers Bitters [1868]

Old Bitter Labels

Dr robacks stomach bitters 1866

Dr. Robacks Stomach Bitters [1866]

Old Bitter Labels

Kentucky tonic bitters 1850s

Kentucky Tonic Nitters [1850s]

Old Bitter Labels

National bitters 1867

National Bitters [1867]

Old Bitter Labels

Old sachem bitters 1859

Old Sachem Bitters [1859]