Angostura aromatic bitters: what is it, what are the ingredients, the price and the cocktail to make
What is Angostura? In which cocktails is it used? What ingredients does it contain? What does it taste like? Why should you use it?
We have all asked ourselves and we will answer these questions: we know Angostura is a bitter based on gentian, spices, sugar, and alcohol. The label announces 12 carefully chosen aromatic herbs. However, the recipe is jealously guarded.
Let’s say right away that it’s a great product, but it’s not like it’s the end of the world or the discovery of America. There have been many since the monks perfected the art of distillation in the Middle Ages and then came the vermouth. These liqueurs can also be easily made in your alchemical laboratory with the ingredients of your choice.
Of course, this is bitter that has been particularly successful, it is very fragrant, aromatic, balsamic, but it should be sipped, using a few drops, to give a touch of liveliness. For example, in the original Cuban Mojito recipe, the combination of mint and sweet rum is amplified by the prism Angostura, adding notes of incredible herbs.
The history of Angostura
This bitter was born in 1824 by the distinguished doctor of the Prussian army J.G.B. Siegert. Our J.G.B. Siegert, taken by the enthusiasm of liberation, went to Bolivar in Venezuela to fight alongside him and cure the mutilated and dismembered and at the same time invented this delicious amaro by mixing gentian, herbs, alcohol, and sugar. The recipe is secret, but sweet spices and herbs, alpine flowers and roots such as licorice and rhubarb, and gentian are felt.
And so our good doctor started producing it and had worldwide success, so much so that even today, Angostura is one of the most famous and popular bitters in the world.
There is a misunderstanding about the name. Angostura was the old name of the Venezuelan city of the doctor’s room, but inside the Angostura aromatic bitters, there is no trace of Angostura bark. Indeed, as already mentioned, the main ingredient is gentian.
Let’s see for a moment the flavors and aromas of the Angostura.
The scents of Angostura
As soon as you smell it, it feels like entering a herbalist’s shop. It looks like the elixir of a crazy old pharmacist. Roots, flowers macerated in alcohol, then more intense aromas of camphor, mint, others more balsamic reminiscent of eucalyptus, walnut and then the bitter tones of gentian and rhubarb.
What does Angostura taste like?
Taste two drops on your tongue and then let it roll over your entire palate. The bitter, tannic and mentholated flavor immediately emerges. It is almost peppery on the tip of the tongues. It is bitter with walnut husk on the sides—barely perceptible sweetness.
Don’t forget it is bitter to the nth degree. You don’t have to drink a glass of Angostura, but try to understand how to use it drop after drop.
What cocktails to make with Angostura
It is usually used to give a bitter, bright and aromatic touch, but don’t overdo it: it must be a graceful suggestion.
We have already mentioned the Cuban Mojito, where Angostura barely streaked, but you will never go back once you have tried the original one.
The Americano is another excellent cocktail Angostura can enhance. It seems contradictory, but the Americano is both bitter and very sweet. If you have excellent quality vermouth, you don’t need it. If the vermouth is industrial like the Martini, 2 drops of Angostura work wonders.
The Champagne and Old Fashioned cocktails are in all likelihood the brightest of the cocktail events with Angostura. The base is sugar and Angostura mixed and then it builds on top of the cocktail with Champagne or whiskey. Angostura acts as an aromatic beating heart.
But there are many others: Pink Gin is an English evergreen, gin, ice and two drops of Angostura to drink as a digestive. But even the Gin Tonic is often scented with a drop of bitters. Then we have the Manhattan and the Rob Roy and the Pisco Sour, the Singapore Sling and we end up with a classic rum-based cocktail like Planter’s Punch.