Mixology Minute: Bitter End

Angostura BittersLike many people, I have a Saturday morning ritual. I get up before anyone else in the house, workout, run errands, and finally get home around 11:30 to make sure everyone’s up and about and make brunch. At 12 I sit down with my plate and listen to our local NPR station. The show? American Public Media’s The Splendid Table with Lynne Rossetto Kasper. I’ve mentioned her show before on our Facebook fan page (Have you become a fan? You can HERE.) She has some great guests and good food insight. She usually also has a beverage story. Wines, spirits and beers have been discussed as either an interview of her own, an answer to a guest caller, or a story by a reporter.

This week, the beverage story was by reporter Lily Jamali. Her subject: the Angostura Bitters shortage. If you haven’t heard it, feel free to listen here.

I must admit, I was a little disappointed by the report. It seemed really quite one-sided. Ms. Jamali only reported on the fact there is a shortage, why there is a shortage and how it is affecting bartenders. She mentions once that there are alternatives to the Angostura brand but neither she nor the bartenders she interviewed seemed to be interested in discussing or trying any other brands. These bartenders appear to prefer to make drinks which would normally use bitters (Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, etc), completely without them. And the one customer who tried the Manhattan sans bitters sounded completely unimpressed.

In our current issue of in the Mix, Brittany Chardin addresses the apparent revival bitters have been enjoying of late. With new flavor profiles (orange, chocolate and celery to name a few) in addition to the more traditional bitters, I would think Ms. Jamali would have enjoyed a slightly different outcome to her report had she asked more pointedly about these as a replacement or supplement to the Angostura brand. Possibly with a discovery of an updated version of an old classic to share with her listeners rather than a disappointed customer lamenting the fate of his Manhattan.

Read Brittany’s article, Bitters Suite,  HERE for more information on additional brands of bitters as well as a few recipes to try them in. And let us know in the comments:

  • How are you dealing with the Angostura shortage?
  • Are you hoarding bottles of Angostura?
  • Have you already run out of bitters?
  • Is there another brand you are currently using?
  • Do you try other/flavored bitters in your drinks?

Finally, if you have a recipe you’d like to share, we’d love to hear about it!