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Catalog Number 2017.012.027
Description Dr. J. Hostetter's Stomach Bitters Bottle, c. 1890-1902. Amber colored glass bottle has rectangular sides, rounded shoulders and a tapered lip at top of neck. In the middle of the bottle, imprinted in medium and bold lettering, the text reads "Dr. J. HOSTETTER'S / STOMACH BITTERS". On the bottom of the bottle, there is a circle with imprinted text in medium lettering and bold that says "63 / IGCoL". Bottle appears to be empty except for a few air bubbles in the middle of the bottle.
Object Name Bottle, Spirits
Collection 3D - Food Service Tools & Equipment
Title Dr. J. Hostetter's Stomach Bitters Bottle, c. 1890-1902
Date c. 1890-1902
Creator Unknown
Role Manufacturer
Inscription Text "Dr. J. HOSTETTER'S / STOMACH BITTERS" (imprinted in medium and bold lettering on the middle of the bottle)

"63 / IGCoL" (imprinted in medium lettering and bold within a circle on the bottom of the bottle)
Provenance Part of donation that included 6 cases of beer and whiskey bottles dating from 1850 through the 1890s. These are the type of bottles that would have been present in San Mateo County during that time period.
Notes Dr. J. Hostetter’s Stomach Bitters "emerged on the market in 1853, sold as a medicinal tonic. Its alcohol component was promoted as a vital ingredient... that the inclusion of whiskey, tipping the scales at a whopping 47 percent alcohol...The concoction was first formulated by Dr. Jacob Hostetter, a prominent Pennsylvania physician who for years had prescribed to his patients his home-brewed tonic for various stomach and digestive ailments." [ - 4/25/2017]

A bitter "is traditionally an alcoholic preparation flavored with botanical matter such that the end result is characterized by a bitter, sour, or bittersweet flavor. Numerous longstanding brands of bitters were originally developed as patent medicines, but are now sold as digestifs and cocktail flavorings….The botanical ingredients used in preparing bitters have historically consisted of aromatic herbs, bark, roots, and/or fruit for their flavour and medicinal properties.
Some of the more common ingredients are cascarilla, cassia, gentian, orange peel, and cinchona bark.

Most bitters contain both water and alcohol, the latter of which functions as a solvent for botanical extracts as well as a preservative. The alcoholic strength of bitters varies widely across different brands and styles.

The earliest origins of bitters can be traced back as far as the ancient Egyptians, who may have infused medicinal herbs in jars of wine. This practice was further developed during the Middle Ages, where the availability of distilled alcohol coincided with a renaissance in pharmacognosy, which made possible far more concentrated herbal bitters and tonic preparations. Many of the various brands and styles of digestive bitters made today reflect herbal stomachic and tonic preparations whose roots are claimed to be traceable back to Renaissance era pharmacopeia and traditions.

By the 19th century, the British practice of adding herbal bitters (used as preventive medicines) to Canary wine had become immensely popular in the former American colonies.

By 1806, American publications referenced the popularity of a new preparation termed cocktail, which was described as a combination of "a stimulating liquor, composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters." [ 5/30/2017]
Dimensions H-8.5 W-2.5 D-0.25 inches
Search Terms Alcohol
Subjects Alcoholic beverages