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Which bitters?

j
judybird May 5, 2013 05:03 PM

Can Angostura and Peychaud's bitters be used interchangeably? I've seen recipes that specifically call for one or the other, would just as soon not have to keep both around, since we don't use them a lot.

  1. a
    antimony May 7, 2013 11:34 AM

    Peychaud's is vastly different -- it's very anise-y. Angostura is a good "one bitter" to have.

    I'd call a basic set to be Angostura or another "regular" bitters (Fee's barrel-aged, various more boutique brands also good), one orange bitters, and if you like anise/licorice flavors, Peychaud's.

    3 Replies
    1. re: antimony
      t
      The Big Crunch May 8, 2013 06:03 AM

      Fee's Barrel-Aged actually didn't impress me all that much. I know bottlings can vary, but mine tasted an anise-y version of Angostura, but less dynamic.

      Honestly, if you're into cocktails, just buy a bottle of Angostura, Peychaud's and Orange Bitters. Those are the bitters used in probably 95% of all cocktails calling for bitters. Collectively, such a purchase might set you back $22. For a good all-around orange bitters that is somewhat widely available, try Angostura Orange.

      1. re: The Big Crunch
        a
        antimony May 16, 2013 12:36 PM

        I am not an anise fan, and I like the Fee's Barrel-Aged, but I agree it's not a must-have. I still think a "plain bitters", Peychaud's, and some orange bitters of whatever sort makes a good basic set for someone who doesn't use enough/care enough to have more.

        I, um, have 18 different bitters on the shelf. Although I also use them a lot in soda water -- just a few drops, no sweetener. Which is why I actually go through more Fee's orange than Angostura -- the Angostura is better in cocktails, but the Fee's is such a simple clean orange that it's great in making sodas.

        * well, the bitters contain alcohol, but in a few drops it's only an issue for people who need to completely avoid alcohol -- it's not going to have any intoxicating effect.

        1. re: antimony
          splatgirl May 16, 2013 02:11 PM

          +1 to the bitters in soda water. For some dumb reason no place around here has Angostura orange. It's driving me nuts not being able to compare the Fee Bros. orange to anything.

    2. t
      The Big Crunch May 6, 2013 01:06 PM

      They're pretty different IMO. A Manhattan or Old Fashioned with Peychaud's does NOT taste the same, nor as good IMO. If you only want one bottle of bitters, Angostura is the most versatile.

      2 Replies
      1. re: The Big Crunch
        z
        zin1953 May 7, 2013 10:10 PM

        Agreed, but I'd never you Angostura in a Sazerac, either . . .

        1. re: zin1953
          k
          kimfair1 May 8, 2013 07:38 AM

          The Sazerac is my favorite cocktail. I recently had one in Boston, made by a guy named the Birdman, at a place called Russel House Tavern. Birdman was the bar manager at Commander's Palace in NOLA. His preferred bitters for a Sazaerac was 6 dashes Peychaud's and 2 dashes Angostura. Nice addition to the drink.

      2. a
        A_Gonzalez May 6, 2013 11:45 AM

        Peychaud's is lighter, and has what seems to me like a more pronounced gentian flavor. I think it depends on what you're making. I'd never use Peychaud's in place of Angostura, or vice versa, but I've had decent results leaving out the Peychaud's in drinks that call for both.

        I think the question is what's worth it for you. If you don't make cocktails with bitters too often, then one bottle of each will probably last you a very long time, so it's not a bad investment. Or, if you don't want to keep both bottles, you could not get the Peychaud's, and not make cocktails that require Peychaud's which still leave you a lot to work with.

        1. rlh May 5, 2013 05:56 PM

          No - they are completely and totally different - and you should consider at least adding orange Ango if you're delving into bitters (or Regan's Orange - good, but in a totally different way)

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