Angostura bitters are an important ingredient in many cocktails. They help the beverage get its distinct taste and have earned a place as a near-essential ingredient.
Their unique taste and capability is part of the reason why finding good angostura bitters substitutes can be a tough job.
But while it’s nowhere close to being easy, there are options that could get the job done just fine. Let’s take a look at a few replacements and alternatives for angostura bitters.
Top Substitutes For Angostura Bitters
1. Make A Spice Mix And DIY
The simplest way to get around using angostura bitter substitutes is to take the DIY route. There are several recipes you could follow to accomplish this, so the choice is entirely up to you. That said, the basic idea is fairly simple.
Angostura bitters contain a fair bit of spices like cardamoms and cloves. So, you can mix those spices along with mace and nutmeg, and perhaps even some sugar or molasses for sweetness.
It’s also useful to add a small amount of diced orange or lemon peels to go along the mix and add a couple of spoons of rum or vodka. If you’re in a pinch and working with a savory recipe, a few drops of worcestershire sauce would make for a decent substitute.
2. Peychaud’s Bitters
Going the DIY route isn’t always possible or even desirable in some cases. So, the good path here would be to use another option that’s very similar to the original.
Peychaud’s bitters are the closest substitute to angostura bitters. Peychaud’s bitters too have their place in several recipes and cocktails. Since they too use a flavor derived from cloves, nutmegs, and cherry, there is a distinct familiarity with angostura bitters.
The larger difference is that peychaud’s bitters tend to have a sweeter side. These contain a fair bit of caramel and licorice, so there is a distinct and clear sweetness.
For some cocktails, this might not be a problem at all. On the other hand, there might be some that need adjustments to account for the difference in sugar and alcohol content between these options.
For references, angostura bitters contain about 44.7% alcohol, while peychaud’s bitters have 35% alcohol.
4. Bitters Club Aromatic Bitters
Bitters club aromatic bitters come pretty close in overall taste and feel to angostura bitters. This is because the company claims to use angostura bitters as their benchmark, with the goal of offering something more robust and flavorful.
They use about 26 herbs, spices, and fruits to create a flavorful mix. And it is quite the mix too, as it comes close to achieving their stated goal.
This is an alcohol-rich option. Bitters Club Aromatic Bitters contain about 60% alcohol, which is significantly higher than the 44.7% alcohol content of angostura bitters.
5. Fee Brothers Bitters
Fee Brothers Bitters is a good way to replace angostura bitters if you want something with more fruity flavors. These bitters come with a bunch of flavors like plum, peach, mint, and more.
It does have a fair bit of angostura bark amongst its ingredients, so Fee Brothers Bitters offers a similar flavor as the angostura bitters.
There is a fair bit of spices like cloves and cinnamon, plus a touch of citrus flavors. It’s quite an interesting option and has flavors similar to angostura bitters.
However, it might have a more prominent citrusy flavor, which might make the final product taste noticeably different compared to using angostura bitters.
6. Try Other Bitter Brands
Though we’ve mentioned a few bitters in the list here, other brands can be similarly viable options. These include Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters, Bittercube Aromatic Bitters, and more.
So, while there are a lot of options, each of these also comes with its own specific flavors and alcohol content.
Even so, many of these do present as viable and even useful alternatives to conventional angostura bitters and offer a fair bit of flavors.
When buying bitters, it’s a good idea to check the label for added flavors and expected taste notes. This reduces any chances of surprise change of flavors in your cocktails.
Campari is a famous bitter, but it finds more use as a digestive bitter rather than one for cocktails. Yet, its use in cocktails isn’t entirely off the table.
In fact, campari makes for a rather competent option when you want a suitable replacement to angostura bitters.
The ingredient list of campari is similar to those of angostura bitters and it even has that familiar bitter and sweet flavor. There are hints of cherry and orange peel, which add to the overall taste of this liqueur.
Of course, the flavor is different from angostura bitters, but it’s not so far off to throw the cocktail off-balance. Although, it will add more sweetness to the recipe.
The alcohol content of campari is usually 20.5–28.5% by volume, which is less than the 44-45% alcohol content in angostura bitters.
If you’re in a pinch, absinthe can be a decent replacement for angostura bitters, though not an ideal one. Absinthe contains some spice flavors, like licorice and anise.
Though these are different from the flavors expected in angostura bitters, they are fairly close to warrant a substitution.
Combine this spicy touch with the bitter flavor of absinthe and you have a viable replacement to angostura bitters.
Keep in mind, absinthe has its own unique and rather distinct flavor. Therefore, this substitution isn’t seamless and carries a possibility of a clear change in flavor.
Is There Alcohol In Angostura Bitters?
Angostura bitters do contain alcohol. Usually, this is 44.7% ABV (alcohol by volume). However, any cocktail or recipe will contain only a dash of these bitters.
So while these do contain alcohol, it won’t be sufficient to significantly change the overall alcohol content of a recipe.
Should I Refrigerate Angostura Bitters?
Most bitters, including angostura bitters don’t need refrigeration. However, it is a good idea to store them in a cool, dark, and dry place.
It’s better if this location doesn’t get much light, humidity, and heat. As such, these shouldn’t be stored close to a stove or similar cooking appliances.
If stored properly, liqueur like angostura bitters has an indefinite shelf life, even after the bottle is opened.
What Drinks Go Along With Bitters?
Bitters are a popular choice with several cocktails, though they go as well with soda and tonics too.
For a soda and tonic combination, bitters can help add more flavor to the drink. Plus, they can be helpful if you’re enjoying the drink in the hopes of digestive relief.
Cocktails find a much wider use with bitters. Generally, the bitters in cocktails balance the overly sweet or overwhelming flavors that a cocktail might have. Popular cocktails that make use of bitters include Manhattan, Old Fashioned, and Martini.
Angostura bitters bring a balancing touch of flavors to several popular cocktails. Their unique flavor and taste comes in pretty handy in managing the flavor and taste of these beverages.
This is also a reason why careful consideration is necessary when you need angostura bitter substitutes. A balancing of flavors and colors is useful when working with substitutes.
They might also have varying alcohol content, but that shouldn’t be a huge problem when used with cocktail recipes.