Review: Bitter Love Sparkling Drinking Bitters
Covers Products: Toasted Pineapple, Peppered Grapefruit, Tart Cherry
Bitter Love is a line of “Sparkling Drinking Bitters” that features three flavors: Toasted Pineapple, Peppered Grapefruit, and Tart Cherry. All three of the products are packaged in 12 oz. glass bottles and are low in calories (40 per bottle) without the use of any added sweeteners.
The whimsical label design fits this bitter line of beverages. The flavor name is front and center, which is great, but we feel as though they could do a better job of making the brand name stand out. It’s listed two times on the front of the bottle, but both placements are small and in the middle of a larger illustration.
From a taste perspective, the bottle does not lie: these products are definitely bitter. Our closest comparison would be to tonic water, although this is tad less sweet than most tonic waters out there. It also lacks the quinine, replacing it with their own “Bitter Love Herbal Blend” that consists of ashwagandha root and leaf extract, artichoke leaf extract, gentian root extract, ginger extract, and wormwood extract.
Each of the three flavors has added fruit juice, but the level of flavor and sweetness that it provides really swings across the three. For our palates, we were most fond of the toasted pineapple, which has a faint tropical fruit flavor and a crisp level of carbonation. Both of these help provide some balance to the bitterness, which teeters on the edge of overwhelming the other flavors.
As for the other two, we liked the first couple of sips of the Peppered Grapefruit (although we don’t taste any pepper), but the natural bitterness of grapefruit accentuates the bitterness that’s a part of the base of the drink. Lastly, there’s Tart Cherry, which is a flavor that would also probably benefit from a bit more sweetness. The cherry is more sour than tart, which, like the grapefruit, accentuates the bitterness.
In the end, we feel as though these are nice tasting products, but they are definitely niche. They’ll appeal to those consumers who really like bitter products and perhaps to those who are looking for an interesting cocktail mixer. From our perspective, we think that Bitter Love needs to think about building a larger audience. The obvious suggestion is to make the product slightly sweeter, especially if that helps add some depth and temper the bitterness just a bit.