Bitters is a magical ingredient. It is to bartenders what salt is to chefs. It helps to lengthen the drink and often a bartender will find himself reaching for it to provide that finishing touch that makes a good drink great.
The best known of all the bitters is of course Angostura. Originally made in the town that bears its name, production takes place in Trinidad and Tobago, along with a very tasty line of rums from the same distillery.
Dr Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert was the mastermind behind the concoction, which was originally conceived as a medicine and was thought to cure an upset stomach, minor ailments and even the hiccups, using a secret blend of herbs and spices that were then distilled to make a highly alcoholic substance.
Australia is one of the biggest consumers of Angostura bitters in the world, owing to our love of the Lemon, Lime and Bitters. During a recent global shortage, Australia had stockpiled and never fell short, being the envy of the world as bartenders across the globe scrambled to find back-ups of their favourite bitters.
There are countless drinks that take a dash or two of Angostura bitters and all come highly recommended. However, if you really love your bitters you might want to try this crazy concoction, which will see you dashing for a couple of minutes to get your requisite amount.
30ml Angostura bitters
30ml rye whiskey
25ml Orgeat syrup (a sweet syrup made from almonds, sugar and rose water)
20ml lemon juice
10ml egg white
Shake all ingredients together with ice, making sure to be vigorous enough to emulsify your egg white. Double strain into a martini glass and crown yourself the champion of bitters.