Flavour Pairing with Bitters

All bitters differ slightly in their sweet, citrus and spice characteristics but for centuries Angostura aromatic bitters have been found to be the perfect balance of all three with no one aroma descriptor dominating its flavour.

Bitters are made by steeping botanicals such as gentian root, cinchona bark, cassia, clove, cardamom, allspice, ginger, herbs, fruit peels and dried flowers in high-proof alcohol. The alcohol works to extract flavours but because it’s used by the dash, the alcohol percentage ends up being negligible when added to food and drinks; it also serves as a preservative, meaning a bottle of Angostura aromatic bitters could last for up to five years, if not longer, if kept out of direct sunlight.

Not at all bitter when added to food or drinks, Angostura aromatic bitters adds that extra depth of flavour that intensifies the characteristics of other ingredients and enhances taste through smell – kind of like using salt and pepper in the kitchen. Angostura aromatic bitters should be an indispensable component of any home.

With bitters, non-alcoholic cocktails become crisper, the top notes of light cocktails are enhanced, the aged notes in heavy rums and whiskies are softened, the acidity in citrus-based cocktails is pacified, it marries well with gin and vermouth, and adds depth to creamy creations.

Aromatic bitters typically pair well with the botanicals used to produce it. Essentially though, there are four approaches to pairing it with different flavour profiles, says drinks consultant Denzel Heath. He explains, “1. Matching botanicals is a no-brainer – for example, where you have orange zest in the bitters it pairs well with citrus. Our go-to botanical pairings are all types of citrus, spices like allspice and pimento, and different variations of cardamom and cassia with Tonka”.

Heath continues, “2. Complimentary flavours also make for good pairings – Angostura aromatic bitters is heavy in cardamom, clove and orange zest thus one could compliment this with mint, naturally these flavours work well together. 3. Think ‘balance’ – where you’d need to steady the acidity of citrus or hibiscus-based drinks. And lastly, be creative and try something new… Angostura aromatic bitters is quite a strong flavour and very capable of over powering other ingredients, but in the right amounts it can elevate the flavours in just about anything. You’ll be surprised, you can even add it to chocolate and coffee”.

Matching inspiration – Lemon Lime Bitters:

Add three lime wedges and 15ml lime cordial together in a high-ball glass, muddle, add ice and top up with lemonade. Add 6 – 8 dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters and stir. Garnish with a lemon or lime wedge.

Complimentary inspiration – Mojito:

Muddle twelve mint leaves, two lime wedges and 37ml simple syrup in a highball glass. Add 60ml white rum and crushed ice, stirring consistently until glass frosts. Top with club soda and add three dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters. Garnish with mint sprigs and a lime wedge. Then serve.

Balance inspiration – Old Fashioned:

Saturate one sugar cube with two dashes of Angostura aromatic bitters in an old-fashioned glass and muddle. Add 60ml whiskey and ice and stir together. Garnish with an orange wedge and serve.

Creamy inspiration – Angostura Sour:

Shake 30ml Angostura aromatic bitters, 30ml lemon juice, 30ml demara simple syrup and one egg white in a shaker. Then shake with ice and strain into a chilled coupe glass.

Creative inspiration – Angostura deep chocolate sauce:

Combine ¼ cup milk, two teaspoons of Angostura aromatic bitters and two teaspoons of brandy in a measuring jug or microwaveable bowl. Microwave until very warm. Gradually add one cup of sweetened cocoa powder, whisking after each addition until smooth. Drizzle in additional milk if needed. Pour over your favourite ice-cream flavour.

For more information on Angostura bitters and cocktail recipes visit www.angosturabitters.com.

To download the official House of Angostura Cocktail app visit http://angosturabitters.com/app/ – available for iPhone from the Apple App Store and for Android devices from the Google Play Store.

Follow Angostura South Africa on Facebook /Angostura South Africa and Instagram @AngosturaZA for fun facts, recipes and brand updates.

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