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Gillman

Angostura Bitters

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Gillman

With all the interest in new brands of bitters (often inspired by historic recipes), Angostura bitters is always in my bar. It has a unique taste which I find essential for whiskey and gin compounds. Often I will have just whiskey or gin and bitters alone. Recently, I found a bottle of Angostura bitters from about 30 years ago, which I must have bought myself and left at my mom's house all those years ago. I compared it to the same brand as available today. The old one was slightly darker and seemed deeper in flavour and also more bitter, with a quinine-like sharpness the current one doesn't quite have (good as it is). I suppose after all that time in the bottle, the old one might have "aged" or concentrated further. Or perhaps small production differences will manifest after a generation or so, as we have seen with some (all?) whiskeys. Both were excellent. A bitters "vertical" tasting.

Gary

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T Comp
With all the interest in new brands of bitters (often inspired by historic recipes), Angostura bitters is always in my bar. It has a unique taste which I find essential for whiskey and gin compounds. Often I will have just whiskey or gin and bitters alone.

Gary

I enjoy some of the other new brands (on a Stirrings Blood Orange kick lately) but always come home to Angostura. Not much of a cola drinker, so on alcohol free nights, bitters are an essential addition to my diet ginger-ale or soda water....and to any whiskey that I have bruised with ice.

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Gillman

Stirrings Orange is good, I use it to add orange flavor to Martinis and other cocktails. Angostura has a more intense flavor and a different one. Peychaud's is good too, but Angostura seems more complex than these others. I haven't tried as yet Gary Regan's line of bitters, said to be excellent. There is also Fee Bros bitters, whose barrel-aged version (aged in ex-JD barrels) is very good with a cinnamon top-note.

If I had to describe Angostura in a word, I'd say spiced wine.

Gary

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Joshua

How much bitters are you guys using? Generally if I toss some in whiskey or whatever, it's only 2-3 drops. I know other's can get a little wild with it and dump far more than that in

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Gillman

About the same amount.

Gary

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SBOmarc

You've got it Josh. If I use more than that it is in error.

The blood orange bottle was left at the old domicile and I have not replaced it. That needs to be remedied also.

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ratcheer

I put two drops of Angostura into a glass of raspberry flavored lemonade and ice, this afternoon. It was delicious.

Tim

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T Comp

In spite of the craft cocktail renaissance it is my experience that the ignorance of bitters in a Manhattan has gotten worse with too many run of the mill bartenders. Of course if they don't know to include it they usually don't know how to use it. Too many times I have seen a request for a "dash or two" turn into a bang on the bottom of the ketchup bottle type move and enough Angostura for a hundred drinks being added. An almost comical experience, at a well known Japanese Steak House chain (it was my kids b-day choice not mine), resulted in their loss of about a 1/2 bottle of Knob Creek while trying to get it close to right for my wife and I.

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cowdery

Gary Regan likes a lot of bitters in his Manhattans. I once counted as he made one and came up with 14 "dashes." Since then I've been more generous with my bitters use, though not quite that much.

I'm a big fan of the Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters, but unable to find it on my last foray to the liquor store, bought some Fee Brothers Cherry Bitters, also quite good.

As a couple people have noted, if you want to make a non-alcoholic beverage taste like a cocktail, a couple hits of bitters will do the trick.

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Gillman

Chuck, 14 dashes is fine - with 7 ounces of whiskey.

Gary

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SBOmarc
Chuck, 14 dashes is fine - with 7 ounces of whiskey.

Gary

When batching Manhattan's, the standard dash rule is hereby waived.

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cowdery
Chuck, 14 dashes is fine - with 7 ounces of whiskey.

Gary

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Gillman

In fact, I've found something interesting: Manhattans are good either with a lot of bitters (such as you mention) or relatively little. If you use a lot, the drink becomes something like those compounds of gin, vermouth and Campari, except with whiskey. As always the final balance is the key.

Some of these traditional American drinks are very flavorful and sometimes austere in the extreme. Nothing could be further from the bland vodka drinks so often favored today (or of course from insipid colas and other usual soft drinks).

America had the full range of flavors in the spectrum of its traditional drinks, but they are only being re-discovered recently in many cases.

Gary

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SBOmarc

Solved the lack of Blood Orange Bitters with an on sale purchace of a Stirrings bottle for only $2.99.

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StraightBoston

I have both the Stirrings and Fee Brothers orange bitters (I'm a stickler for my martini recipe!)

In my experience/experimentation, I've found the Stirrings bitters to be much less potent -- 3 or 4 dashes where 1 would suffice from the Fee Bros (or Peychaud's in a Sazerac, or Angostura in an old-fashioned -- to bring the thread drift back in line...)

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cowdery

The fact that the Stirrings doesn't have any kind of 'dispenser' on the bottle was a tip-off that they probably intended for you to use more. A splash of Stirrings is about equal to a dash of Angostura or Fee Brothers.

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barturtle

As a couple people have noted, if you want to make a non-alcoholic beverage taste like a cocktail, a couple hits of bitters will do the trick.

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cowdery
But then it's no longer an NA beverage....:grin:

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tmckenzie

Anybody tried fee brothers celery bitters? It is good with gin or in whiskey. Also very good for splashing on chicken when it is on the grill.

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