Ah, Angostura, the most beloved bitters of the cocktail community. Famous for their presence in cocktails, an iconic and oversize label, and even for its niche popularity as a 1.5-ounce shot, it’s safe to say that Angostura bitters are practically ubiquitous behind the bar. But when it comes to at-home mixology, beyond whipping up an Old Fashioned, you may be questioning what to do with that bottle of Angostura that will never expire.
From delightful libations named after historic French avenues to refreshing Tiki sippers, here are 13 of the best cocktails to make using Angostura bitters for when you’re just plain sick of your go-to Old Fashioned.
The Vieux Carré
Invented in 1930s New Orleans, the Vieux Carré is a boozy mixture of rye, Cognac, and sweet vermouth named after the city’s historic French Quarter. Featuring both Angostura Bitters and Peychaud’s Bitters — which also originate in NoLa — this delightful concoction blends deep spiced herb notes with delicate sweetness provided by the Cognac and a bar spoon of Benedictine. Be sure to express with a lemon twist before serving to brighten the cocktail with a lovely citrus edge.
Though not invented in the city of Toronto, this cocktail was allegedly so loved by the residents of the Canadian city that its name was changed from the Fernet Cocktail to the Toronto. The original’s straightforward name referenced the bartender-beloved digestif, which provides the cocktail with a bitter tang, playing nicely with the cocktail’s rye base. Two dashes of Angostura add even more bitterness to the libation while rich Demerara sugar balances the drink.
The Old Cuban
With a base of aged dark rum brightened up by zippy ingredients like fresh lime juice and mint leaves, the Old Cuban is a sipper you’ll want to savor. Created by bartender Audrey Saunders in 2001, the refreshing cocktail is elevated by Angostura bitters, which add a layer of dimension and bring out the spiced notes of the aged rum. Simple syrup balances the concoction and Champagne offers a dry and bubbly finish.
The Queen’s Park Swizzle
Somewhere between a Mojito and a Daiquiri sits the Queen’s Park Swizzle: a delectable combination of rum, simple syrup, lime juice, and mint. The tiki cocktail pays homage to a watering hole in Trinidad of the same name, which was beloved by Americans during the Prohibition era. After muddling your mint in simple syrup and building your cocktail over crushed ice, top it with four dashes of Angostura to provide a bitter edge and extra color to the layered liquid.
The Singapore Sling
The Singapore Sling is a classic cocktail shrouded in mystery. Though it’s believed to have been invented at the Raffles Hotel in Singapore, its exact recipe build is rather elusive. For our version, combine gin, cherry heering, Benedictine, lime, and Angostura to a shaker with ice and shake until frosted. Pour into a highball, serve with a club soda top, and garnish with a few extra dashes of bitters.
A list of cocktails featuring Angostura bitters just wouldn’t be complete without the classic Manhattan. Invented in the 1870s, the Manhattan is a fairly simple cocktail to whip up with just rye, sweet vermouth, and Angostura bitters comprising the build. Once combined, the cocktail tastes velvety smooth with layers of bitter spice that will keep you coming back for more. To get the most out of your Manhattan, be sure to use rye whiskey, as other expressions lack the distinct body and spice that marry perfectly with the sweet vermouth and Angostura.
If the Manhattan and the Gin Martini had a baby, it would be the Martinez. In fact, the cocktail’s build is so simple to remember that O.H. Byron, the first known writer to cover the Martinez, described the drink as simply the “same as Manhattan, only you substitute gin for whisky.” Today, the build is slightly different, and includes equal parts gin and sweet vermouth fusing with bittersweet Maraschino liqueur. The addition of two dashes of Angostura brings herbaceousness to the gin’s floral notes.
The Champagne Cocktail
One of this list’s most low-lift drinks, the Champagne Cocktail is the perfect libation for summer afternoons under the sun. Dating all the way back to 1862, the Champagne Cocktail requires only three ingredients — a sugar cube, Angostura bitters, and Champagne. Simply soak your sugar cube in bitters the same way you would if making an Old Fashioned, but this time, simply pour Champagne on top of the combination for a sessionable sipper.
The Planter’s Punch
Punch-style drinks are of undoubtable importance to Caribbean nations, with the Planter’s Punch serving as the unofficial cocktail of Jamaica. Made with a base of aged dark Jamaican rum and velvet falernum, the Planter’s Punch has the distinct, slightly sweet beginnings of a tiki cocktail with fresh lime juice adding a zippy and refreshing layer. A singular dash of Angostura bitters as a garnish works to balance the citrus while elevating the spiced rum notes of the Jamaican rum. Be sure to top with club soda for a bubbly and vivacious tipple.
The Three Dots and a Dash
Joining the Planter’s Punch in the tiki category, the Three Dots and a Dash gets its name from the morse code spelling for “V,” which was used during World War II to signal a victory. Similar to the Zombie, the Three Dots and a Dash uses a whopping four spirits as its base — rhum agricole, Guyana rum, Jamaican rum, and velvet falernum — which fuse saccharine sweet flavors with those of toasted baking spices. Fresh orange and lime juices add vibrancy to the concoction, with the former giving the cocktail its signature orange hue. With the additions of allspice dram, honey syrup, and a couple dashes of Ango, the Three Dots and a Dash is a sweet and tangy libation that tastes like a drop of sunshine in your cocktail glass.
Though the origins of the Champs-Élysées date back to the 1920s, its modern appreciation can be traced back to New York’s iconic cocktail bar Milk and Honey, where it was shaken up during the cocktail renaissance of the early aughts. The cocktail’s Cognac base immediately provides a subtle sweetness with delectable floral notes that are only further emphasized by green Chartreuse. With fresh lemon juice and Angostura bitters in the mix, the Champs-Élysées is a beautiful cocktail that certainly lives up to its namesake avenue.
Though its name may indicate otherwise, the Harvard’s simple, four-ingredient build means you need not attend the prestigious university to learn how to make one for yourself. Made with a split base of Cognac and Italian sweet vermouth, this spirit-forward libation is rounded out by rich simple syrup and a few dashes of Angostura that tango with the Cognac’s earthy spice notes. After stirring all the ingredients together, be sure to express with an orange twist before serving for maximum freshness.
Whereas many cocktails featuring Angostura bitters lean on the boozy, spirit-forward side of things, the Bamboo takes a lower-ABV approach by employing equal parts Sherry and dry vermouth as the cocktail’s base. With no additional liquid added, the cocktail derives all of its flavor from the wine and spirit, along with two dashes of both Angostura and orange bitters that bring layers of nuance to the simple drink.