What is Underberg, and why is it so amazing?

When you don’t know what a liquor is, first ask yourself:

“What is written on the bottle?”

A lot of people say, “of I love Pappy van Winkle, or Grey goose is the only vodka,” well, I love Underberg this much.

A lot of people say, “I love Pappy van Winkle, or Grey goose is the only vodka” well, I love Underberg this much.

This little green bottle reads…


Underberg: After a good meal

“Underberg is an herb bitters taken for digestion, it is not a beverage. Not to be supped, but taken all at once and quickly because of its aromatic and strong taste. It is also used as a flavoring.”

.67 fluid oz
20 ml
44% alc

Natural Herb Bitters

Ingredients: Water, alcohol (44% by volume) and natural flavors from the genus gentiana.

To feel bright and alert

Made in Germany


What does it all mean? Well, let me tell you a bit about all that jargon and glory. Hubert Underberg-Albrecht in 1846, began selling this bitter made of what they claim to be herbs and spices from 43 countries. The genus gentiana, or gentian, contains over 400 different alpine flowering plants, so, it can’t be too hard to span 43 countries. And another fun bit about it, the extracts used to create these bitters are aged in Slovenian oak. I’m no arborist, but from what little I’ve read of Slovenia, it seem that it is certainly inhabited by gnomes and fairies. The country in 54% forest.

Why bitters after a heavy meal? No idea, sorry to sound like Dr. Spaceman but science doesn’t really know either. I have read a theory that suggests that bitter or/and high fiber foods have left the modern palate and caused digestive issues with modern people. I question the booze aspect of that because were I able, I’d have a Calvados after every meal, alas I am poor. Perhaps it is simpler, like the function of the pyloric valve that is closed during digestion and allows booze to just hang out in your stomach and that booze actually aids in digestion. I’m sure the answer is simple but hasn’t really been pursued because the fix for a full tummy being a nip of tasty booze isn’t something worth questioning. I will say that I cannot imagine sitting down to a plate of Panang Curry with out an Underberg to follow. As for bitter woods, I know it is not uncommon in the Caribbean to soak water in a bowl made of cinchona wood for medicine, though I prefer my Campari straight. Underberg beats Campari in the hangover department, take a shot of Underberg in the AM after a rager, an you’ll be ready to do it all over again.

I know we are talking about Underberg here, but I often joke of Fernet Branca, a much stronger bitters, hosting a five-course meal followed by a 5k run. In between food and the dash, a shot of Fernet will make you light as air.

I offer you both Hamlet and Underberg’s marketing tag to further explain these mysteries of bitters, digestion and Underberg:

“And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”


“Underberg, it cannot be explained… it must be experienced.”

Want to experience it for yourself? You can buy Underberg on Amazon.

Don’t forget the handy Underberg Belt!

One good way to store your Underberg

This entry was posted in bitters and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to What is Underberg, and why is it so amazing?

  1. Pingback: Dimsumcouver 3.0 « NW Vivant

  2. Pingback: If you’ve got a spare washing machine | Common Folk Collective

  3. Jerod Labarre says:

    I visited Copenhagan Denmark and stayed at the Imperial Hotel near city center, as I sat at the hotel bar pondering a new and exciting drink or unfamiliar libations to try, this little green bottle behind the bar kept looking at me. It was to far away to read the label so I accosted the bar keep for more details about this foreign label that caught my eye. As it was explained to me that it was a potent drink, and needed to be sipped, and to expect a very unmanageable taste. I said; (in my adventurous manner) “Throw me one”!. As he place the new experience right in front of me, I asked.. will I remember this in the morning?. His reply was ” you will always remember this little devil”. Now remember I did not know or understand the correct way of drinking this little monster and niether did my bar keep. So I suffered through the agony of sipping this potent Bitters when I should have slugged it down in one daring gulp, “to aid in my later digestive needs”. But it was a fun and exciting to try a different taste in a exhilarating new country like Copenhagen. .

  4. Pingback: Underberg | bitter with a twist

  5. Jeffrey Silva says:

    you are very correct,that was a little Devil,but for some it is an angel after a heavy meal,
    I had few German Friends who were working in Sri Lanka, and I was the Financial Controller of Airport Garden Hotel Sri Lanka till 2003,They requested me to have Underberg in the bar, and as they requested on the following day,the stocks arrived and within 3 days I got an other requisition for 144 bottles, the stuff was moving very fast and the product became one of the favorites among the locals as well,Bar staff was educating the visitors and it was a herb, and after a heavy meal that was an Angel.Even now It has become a very good companion for me after a Heavy Meal.Now it is difficult to get this product since most of the people do not know about this wonderful Little angel.

  6. Newton says:

    How to serve underberg in a bar

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s