Angostura bitters may be the most well known cocktail bitters in the world. They’re almost certainly the most versatile and easily found cocktail bitter on the market. Classic cocktails like an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan traditionally call for Angostura bitters in their recipes. But what if you want to mix up your bitter selection?
We did a taste test of 10 bitter alternatives to see which ones we thought were the best Angostura alternatives. The only requirements we put in place was that the bitter had to be classified as an aromatic, which is how classic Angostura bitters is described.
We also weren’t trying to find an Angostura replacement with this exercise. Every bitter is unique in it’s own way. That said, Angostura has a unique blend of herbs, roots, and spices that gives it a fruity bouquet and a rich flavor. For our tasting, we looked for other bitters that could stand up to this flavor profile in some way.
With that said, here are our top 5 Angostura bitter alternatives:
1. Best Overall Alternative – Bitter Housewife Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters – Tasting notes included a fruity nose with undertones of spice, similar yet more mild than Angostura. We recommend this as an ideal go-to in an home bar, but especially if you are looking for a flavorful change from Angostura.
2. Raft Aromatic Bitters – We felt like this bitter was a brighter and lighter version of Angostura with citrusy notes layered with cherry and ginger. This would make a great summer time Old Fashioned with a light whiskey.
3. Bitters Lab Aromatic Bitter – Bitters Lab is clearly one of our favorite bitter makers here in Salt Lake (they were our October 2020 feature). Their aromatic bitter is sweet and floral compared to Angostura, but it’s tones of cinnamon, anise, citrus & clove make it feel like a close relative all the same.
4. Dashfire Old Fashioned Bitters – We’re calling this one our Holiday cocktail bitter. While the use of fall spices like cinnamon make it feel a bit like Angostura, there is a heavy clove flavor that can’t be missed and makes you feel like you’re sitting next to a warm fire.
5. Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters – The flavor of Scrappy’s is much woodsier and herbal than Angostura, but because it is usually easier to get than the others on this list, we wanted to include it. There is a distinct anise smell that does still keep it in the Angostura family, but we recommend a sweet bourbon to help balance the flavors.
Our taste test was performed by placing 10 drops of bitters into 1.5oz of sparkling water to help aerate the bitter and open up the flavors. We first sip all of the bitters and then did a side by side comparison with Angostura specifically.
That said, the best way to enjoy these bitters would be in an Old Fashioned.
Are you a bitter maker? Do you have an aromatic bitter in your collection? Reach out and let us taste test, you could make our top 5 Angostura alternatives.
Other Angostura bitters alternatives that have been considered: