“Ask Matt Caputo” is a new, ongoing feature where Matt answers commonly asked questions from the market. This week, he discusses bitters as a cure for a distressed stomach.
Q: I over-ate this Thanksgiving. And with holiday parties and Christmas coming up, I’m wondering if I should look into aromatic bitters to ease my pain. Will they make a difference?
A: Well, I actually have quite a bit of experience with eating too much. If there is one thing I love it is food, and during the holidays, I can’t stand the thought of not having each and every one of my old favorites. On top of that, how could I pass up a new gastronomic experience. Shun a new dish just because I am full? Pah! No chance.
As the years go by, it is slowly but surely getting more difficult to put up with the physical aftermath, though. Over the past year, I have had more opportunities than I am proud to admit to test the curative powers of aromatic cocktail bitters.
As one would learn in our Intro to Bitters class, the history of these elixirs includes wild claims from the producers, purportedly curing everything from flatulence to impotence and absolutely everything in between. Luckily, the FDA cracked down on the “snake oil” side of bitters a long time ago.
However, from my experience, there is certainly truth to bitters ability to aid in digestion. Anytime I have overeaten or I am not feeling tip top in the tummy, I have a nice big glass of sparkling water with a healthy dose of Peychaud’s. Within a few minutes, I feel notably better. It almost never fails. Put 10 to 12 dashes in a small white wine glass, and that ought to do. Yeah, I take it in a wine glass. Why not? It smells incredible.
Obviously, I am no doctor, scientist, or herbalist, so I will leave it to them to tell you exactly which ingredient in these bitters is doing exactly what. But this practice should not seem that strange. Monks, apothecaries, and even grandmas from all around the world have long known the digestive value of things with bitter flavors.
Disclaimer: While Matt Caputo is a Certified Cheese Professional and specialty food fanatic, he is not a medical professional, doctor, or certified nutritionist. Please consult with your doctor or other qualified health care professional before making any healthcare decisions, diagnostics or treatment decisions based on Matt’s answers.