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Bitters are herbal infusions often found in fancy craft cocktails, but they also have a long history of being used quasi-medicinally to aid digestion. Many Italians, for instance, wouldn’t dream of eating a big meal without finishing it off with a few sips of Fernet-Branca or another digestif. (Anyone having fond memories of Sunday supper with the Italian side of the fam?) The mixture of herbs, roots, flowers, spices, and alcohol in bitters is believed to keep digestion running smoothly. Bitters don’t have to be kept behind the bar, though. These days, you’re just as likely to find digestive bitters in the medicine cabinet, being used as holistic tonics to support digestion or relieve mild nausea.

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