Angel Heart Distillery - Gin Tasting - Bitters

Make your cocktails sing with Angel Heart Distillery

Angel Heart Distillery completes the symphony

Angel Heart Distillery was born in 2010 in our kitchen in Sandhurst, Johannesburg. A hobby of home distilling and blending turned into an idea. It grew organically, twisting and winding its way to the fully-grown distillery it is today.

The idea started with a chilli-infused liqueur, from there, the Gins developed and today the range is solid and extensive.

Angel Heart Distillery is built on passion and integrity; we always keep a sense of humour about what we do. The range now consists of:

•    Ginifer Joburg Dry Gin,

•    Ginifer Barrel aged chilli-infused Gin,

•    Westcliff Copper distilled Gin,

•    Luvoa Vodka,

•    Luvoa Strawberry Infused Vodka,

•    Venom Moonshine,

•    Tincture: The Alchemist’s Gin,

•    Ginifer Sober (a zero alcohol distilled gin available in Hibiscus and Dry), and

•    A range of nine bitters.

Add depth and flavour with Ginifer Bitters

Angel Heart Distillery - Ginifer Bitters

Some more detail on the bitters, as we feel this is a product to be celebrated. Every ingredient in these Bitters are natural and in its raw form and the intense infusions add depth and vigour to cocktails and culinary creations alike.

A heady concentration of eclectic flavours; you need just four drops to completely enhance the flavour profile of your drink and, in the words of Jacqueline Grobler, the artist behind their development, make your cocktail sing. 

“By incorporating small amounts of our Ginifer bitters to a cocktail, you’re effectively making it more complex. The Bitters provide balance and give the cocktail a more complete flavour profile,” says Grobler.

Handcrafted in small batches, the process is complicated and takes some two-and-a-half months to complete. There’s no added sugar and with an alcohol content of 48% – refrigeration is unnecessary. There are enough potent compounds to keep it tasting good without needing to keep it cold.

Bitters add extra dimension and flavour and are considered an essential ingredient in any well-crafted cocktail – they are the salt and pepper of the cocktail world. Catering to a wide range of preferences, there are eight unique bitters in the Ginifer range and one in the Westcliff – all of which are sold in 100ml bottles.

Ginifer Bitters Range set to expand

Angel Heart Distillery - Ginifer Bitters

The current range, which already looks set to expand includes: Grapefruit; Orange-Vanilla; Chocolate (bitter); Cinnamon; Star-Anise; Chilli; Strawberry-black pepper and Pomegranate. Westcliff offers a Baked Apple bitters. Ginifer Grapefruit Bitters:

Made with 11 different ingredients, this fresh, yet spicy bitters, is best served with Ginifer Barrel aged chilli and Indian Tonic water. Grapefruit peel, cloves, cinnamon, pepper and bittering agents are skillfully combined and deliver a friendly and fruity balance.

As the name suggests, the dominant ingredient is grapefruit and only the finest quality fruit – sourced from the Joburg fresh market, is used in the making of this bitters. All the ingredients are processed at the Angel Heart Beverages distillery.

Ginifer Orange & Vanilla Bitters:

Of all the bitters in the range, the Orange-Vanilla infusion is the longest in the making. But nothing prized can be rushed, and the enviable blend is worth the wait.

As bitters go, it’s rich and loaded with orange at the top of the palate – balanced with a vanilla bouquet. The interesting ingredient line-up includes orange peel from locally-grown fruit, witch hazel, all spice and vanilla pods.

It is delicious served with Ginifer and tonic and a slice of orange, but the citrusy hit can be equally wonderful in non-alcoholic cocktails like a steelworks – brightening up the drink in unexpected ways.

Ginifer Chocolate Bitters:

This is a truly magical bitters. Surprising, adaptable and full of contrasts – it’s rich and warm yet bitter and a definitively more adventurous alternative in the Ginifer line-up.

Organic raw chocolate nibs, cardamom, vanilla and cherry bark make up this gem, which is delicious served in coffee, hot chocolate, coffee martini and G&T.

It’s also truly inspiring to cook with. More than that, the inclusion of chocolate helps open the heart chakra and in so doing – eases heartache. On reflection – no pantry or bar should be without the engaging Ginifer Chocolate bitters.

Ginifer Cinnamon Bitters:

This is an incredibly versatile product and perfect in an apple and cinnamon G&T, but as outrageously good in coffee or hot chocolate.

Steeped in cinnamon, vanilla and cardamom – these ingredients are the stars in this line up and come together to deliver a perfectly smooth finish. Surprisingly easy to incorporate into food dishes and confectionary, just a few drops go a long way.

The Cinnamon bitters will transform the humble pancake into something quite inspired – simply incorporate a few drops into the batter, decadent and quite delicious.

Ginifer Star Anise Bitters:

A more unusual formulation – the star anise gives this bitters an interesting liquorice taste and a uniquely elegant taste profile. It’s best described as a sweeter, spiced, but soft bitters with gentle notes and there’s no denying it performs as well in a bar setting as it does in the kitchen.

It is particularly good when incorporated into Moroccan cooking and a flavoursome Breyani. Those preferring it in a glass should add it to a Ginifer chilli and dress the cocktail with fresh grapefruit and star anise.

Ginifer Chilli Bitters:

This 18-month-old oak-barrel-aged chilli essence is bold, with a big kick, intense in colour, flavour and smell. Everything about the flavour profile is audacious.

This product can be used to cook with or to add to your favourite drinks. Dole it out in drops or dashes but use cautiously. It measures 8.5 on the Scoville unit and has a big kick so just two to three drops will be enough to satiate the palate.

 Fiery in the mouth – there’s a passion in this bitters that can be quite alluring and addictive.

Ginifer Strawberry & Black Pepper Bitters:

This bitters is infused with real strawberries, black-pepper and honey bush tea and has a beautiful sweet strawberry tone, but balanced with plenty of hits of pepper.

This is the perfect complement to most drinks, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. The ingredient combination accentuates flavours but also introduces its own taste profile.

This is a standout option and the bitter-sweet notes are rhythmic in their magnetism.

Ginifer Pomegranate Bitters:

Our gorgeous, plump pomegranate fruit is grown in the Welgevonden Valley just outside Bela-Bela. This fruit is combined with cranberries, spices and bittering botanicals to create the most wonderful deep red, sweet and spicy pomegranate bitters.

Westcliff Baked Apple Bitters:

This is a superb blend of fresh apples baked in the oven until sticky, combined with added cinnamon and dark spices. This bitters, is the perfect final touch to a gin and tonic made with Westcliff Copper distilled gin, garnished with delicately sliced fresh apple.

Grobler, who believes there’s been a revival in the popularity of bitters, says that their inclusion in a cocktail is best compared to the violin in the orchestra – it completes the symphony.

The bitters range is available from leading liquor outlets or directly from Angel Heart Beverages. 011 608 1838 or mail us directly at

For additional information or recipes, follow Ginifer and Westcliff on Facebook: ginifergin/ westcliffgin.

PS. While cocktail aficionados will agree bitters are an essential ingredient, remember as a bonus, they can also soothe digestive issues.

by Jacqueline Grobler

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