Bitters are big these days. Dozens of new varieties have supplanted that obligatory bottle of Angostura, and bartenders are increasingly specific about which is used in what.
By ANNE BROCKHOFF
There’s Peychaud’s Bitters, a New Orleans brand preferred in Sazeracs, and Regans’ Orange Bitters No. 6, one of the first orange bitters to return to the market after a long absence. Other companies like Fee Brothers, Bittermens and the Bitter Truth make everything from rhubarb, celery and chocolate to Jerry Thomas, tiki, Creole and whiskey barrel-aged bitters.
It all reflects our increasingly sophisticated cocktail palate, says Ryan Maybee, co-owner of the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange and Manifesto.
“There’s a shifting profile, and people are appreciating balance and flavor more,” says Maybee, who this year competed against 15 bartenders from 13 countries in the final round of Angostura’s Global Cocktail Challenge.
Still, Angostura remains a staple. Johann Siegert, a German physician living in Venezuela, created the secret recipe in 1824. In 1875, he moved the company to Trinidad, where Angostura still produces its aromatic and orange bitters and aged rums.
The Rieger will showcase Angostura’s bitters in a four-course dinner with paired cocktails on Aug. 23 ($90 per person, contact the restaurant at 816-471-2177 for reservations).