Tag Archives: Angostura Bitters

With Great Risk Comes Great Reward (The Angostura Royale)

Hidden with the pages of Charles H. Baker’s, The Gentleman’s Companion; Being an Exotic Drinking Book, or Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask (1946), you can find a most peculiar cocktail. The Angostura Fizz, and intriguing drink that uses bitters as its base. And not just a few bitters either, but a staggering ounce of bitters! I had been curious about this particular drink for a while and so last night I took the plunge. The decision to make this cocktail is not without financial concern either. At my local grocers, a 4oz bottle of Angostura is around $5.99. This doesn’t really seem like much, however when scaled up to a 750ml bottle it comes to a little over $38. That’s not to say I don’t have plenty of other bottles in that price bracket, because I do, but I never really thought about bitters being costly. Anyways, so I mixed up the drink, and was pleasantly surprised. Citrus notes on the front, followed by some burnt cherry, clove, and allspice on the finish. And although the first sip had a bitter aftertaste of epic proportions, it smoothed out after that and was very pleasant. Pleasant enough to encourage some experimenting at least. The fruits of my labor is a modified fizz, using champagne instead of soda water, and loosing the dairy ingredient, which to my taste, didn’t really add that much to the drink.

The Angostura Fizz
1 oz Angostura Bitters
2 Barspoons Sugar or Grenadine
Juice of 1/2 lemon or 1 lime
1 Egg White
1/2 oz Cream
Soda Water

The Angostura Royale
1 oz Angostura Bitters
3/4 oz Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 Egg White

Vintage Cocktails #28: Pink Gin

The next drink in my series, is the Pink Gin. This cocktail is a serious fireball. It contains only gin and bitters, and you had better be a fan of both if you are going to enjoy this drink. The secret to this drink is to use Plymouth gin. Plymouth is not a London Dry gin, and it’s style is a suitable backdrop for the Angostura Bitters.

For me, while the drink was ok, I felt as the spicy notes of the bitters didn’t come through quite enough. Even though I really like both gin and bitters, it was not a winner for me.

Pink Gin
3 oz Plymouth Gin
6 dashes Angostura Bitters

Pegu Club Cocktail

Vintage Cocktails #17: The Pegu Club Cocktail

The Pegu Club was created in the 1920′s at the Pegu Club in Rangoon.  At the time, the Pegu Club was a gentleman’s club in the British controlled province of Burma.  Back then, most bars featured a house cocktail, and unlike many of them, the Pegu Club gained fame outside of its creator’s walls, and has become increasingly popular even today.

As the drink presented in Vintage Spirits differs from most of the other classic recipes that I have seen, I will present both, although the one I put together for myself stayed true to the printing in the book.  The main difference between the two versions is the type of orange liqueur used.  While the classic recipe seems to call for Orange Curacao, the Vintage Spirits recipe calls for Cointreau, a proprietary triple sec.

The Pegu Club (Original Recipe?)
2 oz London Dry Gin
3/4 oz Orange Curacao
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 dash Angostura Bitters
1 dash Orange Bitters

The Pegu Club (Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails)
1 1/2 oz Gin
1/2 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz Lime Juice
2 dashes Angostura Bitters

I think that these two drinks differ enough in proportions and ingredients to have two different flavor profiles.  Which is better?  I suppose that is a matter of personal preference.  I have only tried the one version as of yet, so let me know if you have an opinion.

Vintage Cocktails #16: The Income Tax Cocktail

Today is tax day.  What better day to present the next cocktail in our series.  The Income Tax Cocktail is a variation on the Bronx cocktail.  In fact, the only difference is the addition of bitters.  I compare the Income Tax cocktail to eggs with pepper and the Bronx to eggs without.  Such a small ingredient can make a world of difference. The Income tax cocktail is also a variation on the Perfect Manhattan.  Both drinks feature a base spirit, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth, and bitters.

The Income Tax Cocktail
1 1/4 oz Gin
1/4 orange, squeezed into shaker
1/4 oz dry vermouth
1/4 oz sweet vermouth
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

Robert Hess from the Cocktail Spirit shows you the way to craft this beverage.

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Alamagoozlum Cocktail

Vintage Cocktails #2: The Alamagoozlum

First appearing in The Gentleman’s Companion, or Around the World with Jigger, Beaker and Flask (1939) by Charles Baker,  The Alamagoozlum Cocktail is the next exploration of the vintage spirits. Reportedly created by the one and only J.P. Morgan, this is an unusual drink in that it calls for an extraordinary amount of ingredients, as well as an unusually large dose of bitters.

This particular cocktail will probably be one that I will leave to the books and not partake of for a long time, if ever. While I am a fan of gin and rum together, as well as using egg whites in cocktails, The large amount of bitters, coupled with the chartreuse created a drink that for me was far too spicy and complex. Perhaps either dialing down the bitters, and/or reducing the Chartreuse may create a drink more to my liking, but as far as J.P.’s cocktail, this one is a bust for me.

The Alamagoozlum
1/2 Egg White
2 oz Genever Gin
2 oz water
1 1/2 oz Jamaican Rum
1 1/2 oz Chartreuse
1 1/2 oz gomme Syrup
1/2 oz Orange Curacao
1/2 oz Angostura Bitters
Shake long and hard in an iced cocktail shaker, and strain into several chilled glasses.

A note on gomme syrup. Gomme syrup is purely simple syrup combined with gum arabic. The gum arabic was added to the simple syrup to add a smoother, silky feel to the cocktail. My feeling is that in this drink, the egg white adds plenty of texture, and plain old simple syrup will suffice.