Product of: United Kingdom
Khoosh Bitters, is a British proprietary tonic bitter produced from 1881 until 1900 when the insolvent Khoosh Tonic Bitters Company went into liquidation. Khoosh Bitter was revitalised in 2022 with a modern interpretation of the original bitters launched in London, England.
The name Khoosh is Indian with no English translation and was apparently popularly used in the Indian empire. The modern label is a replica of the original depicting a young Indian lady riding side-saddle in command of a tiger while waving banner saying "Health." Sadly, perhaps for legal reasons, the health banner has been omitted from the modern label which grasses a brown bottle with a glass circle debossed with 'KHOOSH' besting the art-deco ringed shoulder.
Apparently, the original bitter ingredient was Quassia Amara and this is "at the core of today's proprietary formula.
William James "Billy" Tarling's 1937 Café Royal Bar Book calls for a "Dash of Khoosh Bitters" in both the Marion No.1 and Monkey Island cocktails. The book's glossary says, "KHOOSH BITTERS.-Very bitter; pale yellow in colour.
Review and Tasting
Sampled on 06/09/2022
Clear, bright yellow.
Orange marmalade, lime zest, anise and Indian herbs.
Bittersweet with a syrupy mouthfeel. Zesty herbal orange with lime cordial-like acidity.
Long bittersweet finish.
I don't know the alcohol strength of the original Khoosh Bitters but in keeping with other tonic bitters from the 1800s, I imagine they were approaching twice that of these modern-day reproduction bitters. This is reinforced by the 1937 Café Royal Bar Book only using one dash of Khoosh Bitters in cocktails and describing the bitters as being "Very bitter; pale yellow in colour." Modern Khoosh bitters are indeed yellow but are less bitter than Campari (and 5% lower in alc./vol.).
Difford's Guide Certification
Bottle Size: 700 ml
Closure: Agglomerated cork stopper