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Angostura Bitters - Where are they?

  • m

I heard there is a shortage of Angostura Bitters and would like to know if anyone knows where I can find them now.

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  1. Shaws, Sav-Mor Liquors, Boston Shaker, not sure if the shortage hit locally. I have seen them pretty much everywhere

    10 Replies
    1. re: ac106

      They're almost impossible to find in Manhattan. Are you in Boston?

      1. re: mbach

        Yeah, those are boston locations

        1. re: mbach

          where did you try looking? they are food products only in grocery stores in ny for whatever crazy misguided law governs that

          1. re: dhs

            I have tried Gristedes, D'Agastinos, and Food Emporium. The plant in Trinidad was shut down for a while and stopped production due to financial problems I read.

            1. re: mbach

              Arrrgh! I am a victim of the NYC scarcity, too. Today I tried the overpriced Amish Market, where they told me something about the company holding them back due to packaging, or only selling in pallets, or ...???

              Just found this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

              1. re: Up With Olives

                I ended up ordering them from Amazon, which really was Kegworks. They came pretty quickly, but still had to wait about 3 to 4 days. That was about two weeks ago, not sure if they still have them.

                1. re: mbach

                  Thanks! I've also noticed they are on Kalustyan's website so they may have them in-store.

                  1. re: Up With Olives

                    Update: There were two large bottles at Kalustyan's on Tuesday. They also had Angostura orange bitters and Gary Regan's and a whole selection of Fee's. I'd planned to try some Bitter Truth but YIKES they are something like $25 for a wee bottle. Possibly overpriced since the Rose's LIme I bought there was almost twice the price of what I later found in my neighborhood. Yeesh.

                    1. re: Up With Olives

                      Hmm, perhaps you should drive to Boston, fill up your trunk with bitters, drive them back, and sell them (on the black market, at a huge premium) to desperate cocktail geeks... Plenty available here at every grocery and liquor store near my house.

                      1. re: Up With Olives

                        The Bitter Truth will soon be coming down in price. They now have a US distributor.

        2. I'm outside of Philly and can't find them in the 'burbs or the city, except in far flung locations. ARGH.

            1. For a great alternative, check out www.urbanmoonshine.com. I am a customer, not affiliated with the company, but I did meet the owner once in a bar.

              1. I heard the shortage was over. maybe supplies are just now coming thorugh the supply chain. In my area, NC I see them in all the usual places. grocery stores, walmart etc

                1. Wow, I thought it was just my small town in VA . . . at least I know I'm not alone. And it's good to hear there should be more on the way.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: guilty

                    Finally found them at Whole Foods this weekend......YEAH

                    1. re: mbach

                      No longer at Whole Foods. Anyone have any idea where to find them in the NYC or online? They are even out of stock on Amazon.com.

                      1. re: PAL

                        I just picked up a bottle in Fairfield County, CT (about 40 minutes from Manhattan) at a Stop & Shop. I had all types of trouble finding them...I visited several liquor stores (Including a Stew Leonard's Wine) and no one could produce. One store owner told me he couldn't get them for months! Stop & Shop had more than enough though...

                        1. re: rifkind81

                          Thanks; I'll be road tripping up to Boston in a few weeks, hope to pick up a bottle somewhere with a less competitive cocktail culture on the way up.

                          1. re: PAL

                            I was just in a liquor store in Williamsburg Brooklyn (BQE Discount Liquors) and they had Angostura and Peychaud's on the shelf. This was very much a surprise. I have been fed a line about how you can't sell food products in a liquor store, and bitters were food, more than a few times in NYC. This was backed up by finding them at food stores, such as ShopRite.

                            FWIW - In NYC you can got to Pegu Club for bitters. Marlow & Sons in Williamsburg also carries some of the less common varieties including whatever house bitters they are featuring in their cocktails.

                      2. If you want bitters of any type, including Angostura, go to: www.CocktailKingdom.com

                        1. The shortage is over and shipping started again a few weeks ago. You will be seeing Angostura on shelves again soon, if not already. My local stores are carrying it now.

                          20 Replies
                          1. re: JMF

                            I still cannot find them in Cambridge/Somerville. The Wine and Cheese Cask has been out for weeks. I checked with Uhniversity Spirits last week and they couldn't get their hands on them. I just dropped into Doma in Harvard Square and they can't get them. Can anyone please let me know who has them?

                            1. re: tomjb27

                              I'm pretty sure I saw it at Whole Food at Fresh Pond. I did see big bottles at the Mall Liquors next door, but I think they were gone the last time I was in there. I don't recall seeing them at The Boston Shaker in Davis Sq, but I could be wrong. (He has so many other fantastic bitters that I didn't even notice.)

                              1. re: tomjb27

                                Did you try the grocery store? Shaws carries Angostura and every location I've been to recently has it in stock.

                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                  I didn't know that. I will check it out. thanks.

                                  1. re: tomjb27

                                    I've seen 'em in Stop and Shop but not Star.

                                    1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                      Well, they aren't at Shaws in Porter Square. Or at least they're not where any Shaws employee might be able to find them (at least not the ones I talked to). Did the rounds at the other local liquor stores (Cambrideg and Somerville) and they are all still out. They tell me their wholesalers can't get them. Perhaps it's just a super-localized shortage.

                                      1. re: tomjb27

                                        None at Sav-Mor liquors, Shaws in Twin City, Charlestown liquors, Boston Shaker. Def a shortage

                                        1. re: ac106

                                          Any recommendations on another brand of aromatic bitters for Manhattans while I wait this out? I have Orange bitters, but i'm really missing the kick that angostura delivers.

                                          1. re: tomjb27

                                            The Bitter Truth ones are pretty good. I find that the Jerry Thomas ones (the only aromatic bitters from them that I have) have a little less bite and more sweetness / gentle spice, but I still use them in my Manhattans sometimes. I like the fact that they don't have added coloring, preservatives, or anything else weird. The price is a little higher than others, though as JMF mentioned, they have a US distributer now, so prices shouldn't be as bad as they were.

                                            They [Bitter Truth] have a standard aromatic bitter, which looks a little darker, and which I imagine is supposed to be more like Agnostura (haven't tried it). Available online from Cocktail Kingdom. Of course, they and Boston Shaker also sell Agnostura bitters -- and since it sounds like you're in the Boston area, you could pick up the Agnostura ones at least in their shop; AFAIK, they don't currently carry the Bitter Truth stuff.

                                            Also recommend Adam Elmegirab's recreation of Boker's bitters (a long-extinct bitter) - I reach for them more often than not these days. They have a little bit more of a bitter bite than the other ones mentioned. They are not cheap, but of course a bottle of bitters lasts a long time. I find they add a nice subtle dark-chocolate note to a Manhattan.

                                            The outage was an East Coast thing, right? I've been seeing them steadily here on the West Coast since this thread started.

                                            1. re: will47

                                              Partly it's an east coast thing because of the different style of cocktails made on each coast. The east coast, especially NY, Boston, Philly tend to be more Golden Age cocktails and use much more bitters. While the west coast tends more to nouveau style cocktails.

                                            2. re: tomjb27

                                              If you have access to a source for Fee's bitters line, try the Aztec chocolate bitters. They're a wee bit spicy like Angostura, but with the chocolatey addition. I love them in a Manhattan!

                                              Of course, Fee's makes an "old fashioned" bitters, too-- quite like the Angostura. I haven't had their barrel-aged, or whatever the premium one is called, but it's reputed to be excellent.

                                              1. re: MariaJ.

                                                Fee's bitters are very sweet compared to Angostura and Peychauds. The Old Fashioned bitters are a bit one dimensional. The Whiskey Barrel aged bitters are a bit more complex. Neither is as complex as Angostura.

                                                Angostura is becoming more available again, but it all depends where you live. They are shipping to their largest markets first, then as the supply of bottles becomes more available they will be back to full distribution.

                                            3. re: ac106

                                              Boston Shaker has them back in stock as of Monday in 4, 10, and 16 oz sizes.

                                        2. re: tomjb27

                                          I have Fee's Bros Whiskey Barrel Aged. It is more bitter and more cinnamon. (Angostura is hardly bitter at all). It would be a good alternative, although I certainly haven't tried too many other aromatics. I see the Fee WBA on a lot of liquor store shelves, presumably as an Angostura fill-in.

                                          1. re: EvergreenDan

                                            What about peychaud's? I don't make Manhattans @ home, so i haven't tried them. Went to the liquor store the other day, there was one 12 oz bottle of Ang. and a full shelf of small (6 oz.?) bottles of Peychaud's.

                                            1. re: TroyTempest

                                              I suppose i've come to identify Pechauds exclusively with Sazeracs, so (perhaps unfairlty) i've discounted them as an alternative bitters for Manhattans.

                                              I've heard other good things about Fee's Bros, so that may be the way to go.

                                              Thank you both for the feedback.

                                              Just found this article, that states Angostura will be back in March.

                                              1. re: tomjb27

                                                I've used Peychauds in Manhattans before. Different, certainly, but in no way bad.

                                              2. re: TroyTempest

                                                Peychaud's is quite intensely licorice/anise flavored. If you wouldn't slip ouzo or pastis into your Manhattan, you'll want to skip the Peychaud'sl Save it for your Sazerac.

                                              3. re: EvergreenDan

                                                Where did you see Fee WBA in the Boston area? I'm quite surprised as the 2009 batch doesn't seem to be available online anymore (completely sold out) and the 2010 is, as far as I can tell, not released yet. I wouldn't mind picking up another bottle of the 2009 sans shipping charges.

                                                1. re: davis_sq_pro

                                                  Sheepishly I have to admit that the 2009 WBA bitters that I got at Cambridge Wine & Spirits by Whole Foods/Alewife is now their regular Old Fashioned Bitters (which I haven't tried). I didn't notice that they switched over sometime in the last month or two when I wrote the above. Sorry for the misinformation.

                                                  It's kind of pathetic when you have a mental inventory of which stores sell what.

                                          1. re: oystersallday

                                            Anyone heard any news on the bitter sorry.......

                                          2. At Washington Island, at the Northern tip of Door County, WI is the Angostura bitters club..They should have some..... We had a tasting there, at the only bar on Washington Island, and got a lecture on the history of Angostura. The only way to get there is by ferry in the summer, from Gills Rock..This is truly a chowish destination. For more info! http://www.washingtonisland.com/local...

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: cheesehead in recovery

                                              Just to clarify a couple points: Nelson's (the 'bitters bar') is not the only bar on the Island; there are three to five more, depending on seasonality and rotating ownership. And while a ferry is the only way to get there unless you have your own boat, it runs year round, just on a limited schedule in the winter. I worked a couple summers up there as the sous chef at the Washington Hotel. It is a lovely place, and I have an inkling I'll get back up to vist sometime this summer.

                                            2. I've been seeing them back on the shelves in NY

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: JMF

                                                Last week, Rachel Maddow had a couple of senior execs from Angostura on to explain the shortage. Ironically, it wasn't a shortage of bitters, it's that their bottle supplier went under and they had to scamper to find a replacement.

                                                1. re: BarmyFotheringayPhipps

                                                  Actually it was two events. First there was a poor growing season for some of the ingredients. Then as soon as they were able to get the ingredients, there was the bottle problem. I'm surprised they didn't talk about the prior problem sourcing botanicals.

                                                2. re: JMF

                                                  I was in Target the other day (one with a food department) and they had at least a dozen bottles of Angostura on the shelf. You may want to check your Target stores if you have some near you.

                                                3. I find them in regular super markets. In my NY capital district, they have been found in Price Chopper, Hannaford, and probably in other smaller vendors. I don't need it often as it is used so sparingly and lasts a long time. The usual problem is trying to find it within the market itself. Everyone views it differently as to where it belongs in their store.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: feelinpeckish

                                                    No kidding, feelinpeckish! It's usually a recipe for a comedy routine just asking.