Anguish Over Angostura Dearth

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Angostura BittersLast week, those with a predilection for the Manhattan, Old Fashioned or Pink Gin had a sharp increase in blood pressure, when it was learned that the world’s supply of Angostura Bitters had run dry.

The highly aromatic elixir, made from a secret recipe of rare herbs, has been the mainstay in many a cocktail for over 150 years, giving drinks that extra impeccably spicy touch. The drought has only just come to light, when the company who manufacture the bitters in Trinidad revealed stocks had completely run out. “You can’t just turn on and off supply of bitters. It’s not like producing bottled water – it’s a very delicate, intricate process,” said Angostura’s Chief Executive Patrick Sepe.

Invented in 1824, Angostura was named after a town in Venezuela where a German doctor, Johann Siegert, came up with the recipe as a stomach tonic to ease tropical ailments among soldiers. The market for using bitters as a cocktail ingredient stemmed from the late 19th century, when hundreds of recipes were readily available, purported as cure-all tonics and miracle remedies. The Pure Food And Drug Act of 1906 put paid to companies making such outlandish claims, and the aromatic properties of bitters were adopted by inventive bartenders, noticeably Jerry Thomas, author of the first book on cocktails.

Fortunately, help is a mere shake of the wrist away. Cocktail aficionados can breathe a sigh of relief, as German company the Bitter Truth are making a superb range of bitters with a recipe dating back to Jerry Thomas’ original own decanter concoction. For more information, visit


The Chap was founded in 1999 and is the longest-serving British magazine dedicated to the gentlemanly way of life, with its own quirky, satirical take on a style that has recently entered the mainstream.

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