Irish-made bitters that bring cocktails to life

John Wilson: Beara Bitters provides endless fun for cocktail enthusiasts

Beara Bitters was founded in 2020 by Mary O’Sullivan and Loretto O’Driscoll, two of a growing band of entrepreneurial women involved in the drinks business. Both have experience in food science and farming.

"Reading about all of the new distilleries setting up, I thought there must be some way to bring Irish ingredients to the drinks industry," Mary tells me. Their timing was probably a little off, as Covid started soon after and the on-trade was their main focus. They are now selling to both bars and off-licences. See for stockists.

Beara produces three very different bitters, all designed to assist mixologists and cocktail enthusiasts create classic drinks using Irish bitters. Highbank in Kilkenny supplies the organic apple brandy, used as a base for all three bitters.

The Aromatic Bitters is a classic, ideal for an Old Fashioned, Pink Gin, Negroni, Whiskey Sour or Manhattan. The Orange Bitters, made with infusions of orange, lemongrass and cocoa, is full of orange, spice and chocolate – grown-up Terry’s. The third bitters is the intriguing smoked pear (cold smoked for 12 hours by Ummera using organic oak chips) which sounds unusual but really works with a subtle smokiness and spicy pear fruits.


All three are available in 30ml, 50ml and 200ml bottles. All three are delicious and I can see them providing endless fun for cocktail enthusiasts as well as offering an interesting very low alcohol option when a few drops are added to sparkling water.

The Aromatic won gold in the Blas na hÉireann 2021, but Mary tells me, “there is no clear cut favourite among consumers”.