Unleash Angostura’s Star Power With a Trinidad Sour

Unleash Angostura’s Star Power With a Trinidad Sour
Photo: Devojka

If I had to pick one bottle of bitters to use for the rest of my life, it would undoubtedly be Angostura. Ubiquitous behind bar counters, distinctly dressed in its yellow cap and oversized paper label crowded with dizzyingly tiny script, Angostura “Aromatic” bitters are easy to identify both by look and taste. I often see a bottle relegated to the back of home liquor cabinets, collecting dust, waiting in the wings for its moment to shine. It’s a shame, because Angostura is a true workhorse in the cocktail arsenal. Like a really great drummer, or strong supporting actor, it can elevate something from good to great to downright compelling, even. It’s the Margo Martindale of cocktails.

You know to put it in an Old Fashioned, but throw a few dashes on some vanilla ice cream and get back to me. Or the next time you get hiccups, douse a lime (or lemon) wedge with the stuff, dip-it in some sugar, and suck on the pulp. It’s time to take advantage of that bottle of it you’ve had around for the last five years. Let’s give it the respect it deserves, and treat it like a full-fledged ingredient rather than a taken-for-granted garnish.

Invented by Giussepe Gonzalez circa 2008, the Trinidad Sour does right by cocktails’ greatest supporting character, letting it take centre stage by using it as the primary spirit at a whopping 1 ½ ounces (accompanied by rye, orgeat, and lemon). Though technically classified as not potable, and therefore allowed to be sold in grocery stores, Angostura is not kidding around at 45% alcohol by volume. Call it subversive casting or a sneaky loophole, but it is kinda brilliant. On its face, it’s sort of a preposterous drink, if not utterly bombastic. It inspires confusion and reticence, and yet…makes total sense.

Once shaken, the bitter emulsion blooms into a sort of profusion of copper and rust coloured foam. Once sipped, the complexity of its flavour is more deeply uncovered and better delineated. It’s bitter, yes, but most definitely (and rather deliciously) potable. The flavour will stay with you, literally, as the potency of the Angostura sets up camp on your taste buds for some time. It may or may not stain your teeth (temporarily), and you may or may not love it, but you certainly won’t forget it.

Trinidad Sour

  • 44 ml Angostura bitters
  • 14 ml rye
  • 22 ml lemon
  • 22 ml orgeat

Add all the ingredients into the shaker, fill with ice and shake vigorously for 12-16 seconds then strain into a chilled coupe.

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