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15 Angostura Bitters Substitute: FAQ + Tips

15 Angostura Bitters Substitute: FAQ + Tips

Thanks for coming by to find out about an angostura bitters substitute you can try for your next cocktail.

We have a list of a few replacements for angostura bitters in case you don’t have any on hand or can’t find them in a store near you.

We will expand on how to use them, what angostura bitters tastes like, tips for how to find the perfect substitute, and more.

Here’s a list of a few substitutes for angostura bitters:

Peychaud’s Bitters: Originating in New Orleans, Peychaud’s Bitters have a sweeter and slightly more floral flavor than Angostura, but they can work well as a substitute in many cocktails.

Fernet-Branca: Fernet-Branca is a popular Italian digestif with a distinctive and robust flavor profile. It is an amaro, a category of bitter liqueurs, and is crafted from a secret recipe of 27 herbs, roots, and spices. Its bold, bitter taste is complemented by subtle notes of eucalyptus, saffron, and myrrh.

Orange Bitters: Although these bitters have a strong citrus profile, they can be used as a substitute if you don’t mind adding a fruity twist to your drink.

Aromatic Bitters: Other brands of aromatic bitters, such as Fee Brothers Old Fashion Aromatic Bitters or Scrappy’s Aromatic Bitters, can be a good alternative to Angostura.

Campari: This Italian aperitif has a bitter taste with a hint of sweetness and can be used to substitute for Angostura bitters in a pinch, especially in cocktails like the Negroni.

Gentian Liqueur: Liqueurs made from gentian root, such as Suze or Salers, can provide a similar bitter element as Angostura bitters, though they will also add sweetness to your drink.

Cardamom Bitters: These bitters have a distinct cardamom flavor, which can be a good substitute for Angostura in some cocktails, particularly those with a spicy or exotic twist.

Homemade Bitters: If you have the time and ingredients, you can make your own bitters at home using a combination of bittering agents (like gentian root), spices, and herbs to create a flavor profile that resembles Angostura.

Regan’s Orange Bitters: Created by mixologist Gary Regan, this bitters formula features a blend of sweet and bitter orange peels, exotic spices, and herbs. The citrus-forward taste complements both classic and modern concoctions, adding depth and complexity to the overall flavor profile. 

Non-alcoholic Bitters: If you’re looking for a non-alcoholic substitute, consider using a bitter herbal tea, Fiori di Sicilia, or a mix of spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and allspice. 

Wormwood: This bitter herb can be used as a substitute for gentian root, the primary bittering agent in Angostura bitters. However, it should be used sparingly, as wormwood can be quite bitter.

Underberg Bitters: This German digestive bitter has a similar flavor profile to Angostura and can work as a substitute in some cocktails and recipes.

And since Renee is a big fan of Proof Bitters, as they say on their site, “There is no substitute for bitters.”

You can read more about a few of these options below. 

Here’s a list of a few substitutes for angostura bitters:

SubstituteFlavor ProfileIdeal Uses
Angostura Orange BittersCitrusy, bright, balancedMartinis, refreshing cocktails
Peychaud’s BittersAnise, licorice, smoke, cherrySazerac, strong-flavored cocktails
Fee Brothers BittersBitter orange peels, citrusyMartinis, Manhattans
Regan’s Orange BittersOrange, spice, hint of bitternessClassic martinis, craft cocktails
Alternative BittersVariety (spicy, herbal, aromatic)Experiments in cocktails and dishes
A small, square glass bottle with a cork stopper, filled with angostura bitters, sits on a light wooden table.

Angostura Substitutes: Diverse Options for Your Creations

Angostura bitters are a key ingredient in cocktails and culinary recipes, known for their unique flavor profile. Fortunately, several substitutes can provide a special touch to your creations, ranging from other bitters and spices to liqueurs and vinegars. Each alternative offers its own distinct flavor, adding depth and complexity to your drinks and dishes.

Substitute: Angostura Orange Bitters

  • Flavor Profile: A blend of botanicals with a citrusy, bright taste. Unlike other bitters, orange bitters have a balanced, subtle flavor that doesn’t overpower other ingredients.
  • Ideal Uses: Classic martinis, refreshing cocktails, non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Alternatives: Aperol, Grand Marnier, high-proof limoncello base, or gin.

Substitute: Peychaud’s Bitters

  • Flavor Profile: A vibrant mix of gentian root, anise, and other natural ingredients, offering notes of anise, licorice, smoke, and cherry.
  • Ideal Uses: Classic cocktails like the Sazerac and other modern mixes.
  • Substitution: Excellent for balancing strong flavors in cocktails.

Substitute: Fee Brothers Bitters

  • Flavor Profile: A mix of natural ingredients, including bitter orange peels, for a citrusy taste.
  • Ideal Uses: Adds a touch of bitter orange flavor to cocktails like martinis and Manhattans.
  • Substitution: A versatile, balanced flavor popular in both classic and contemporary drinks.

Substitute: Regan’s Orange Bitters

  • Flavor Profile: Notes of orange and spice with a hint of bitterness.
  • Ideal Uses: Enhances classic martinis and creative cocktails.
  • Substitution: Known for exceptional quality, it’s a go-to for elevating cocktail flavors.

Other Bitters with Similar Flavors

  • Variety: A wide range of bitters like Bitter Truth Aromatic Bitters, cardamom, allspice, lavender, or rosemary bitters.
  • Flavor Profile: From spicy to herbal, these alternatives offer unique twists for cocktails and dishes.
  • Usage: Experiment with these for new and exciting flavor combinations in cocktails and culinary creations.

What are Angostura Bitters?

Angostura bitters is a highly concentrated and aromatic mixture of herbs and spices, widely used as a flavor enhancer in cocktails and cooking. 

Originating in the town of Angostura, Venezuela in the 19th century, it quickly became a staple ingredient in bars around the world. 

With its unique and complex flavor profile, a few dashes of Angostura bitters can bring a depth of flavor to a variety of drinks and dishes. 

From the classic Manhattan to marinades, this versatile ingredient has stood the test of time and continues to be an indispensable component of modern mixology and cuisine. 

So, whether you’re a seasoned bartender or a home cook, don’t hesitate to experiment with types of bitters and discover its true potential.

And if you’re wondering if bitters are alcoholic, yes. From The Bitter Housewife:

Alcohol Content of Bitters

Most cocktail bitters, ours included, have an alcohol base. They are generally bottled at 35–45% alcohol. Since most bitters are used by dashes or in drops, the amount of alcohol is minuscular, making the ABV difficult to trace. That’s why they’re often marketed as non-alcoholic, although they are made from alcohol.

What Do Angostura Bitters Taste Like?

Angostura bitters, an essential ingredient in many classic cocktails, boast a distinctive and complex flavor profile that is both captivating and enigmatic. 

At its core, angostura bitters can be described as a blend of bitter, sweet, and spicy notes, which come together to create a unique taste sensation that adds depth and character to beverages and culinary dishes alike.

The bitter aspect of angostura bitters is attributed to its primary ingredient, gentian root, a potent natural bittering agent. 

This bitterness is often described as intense and sharp, cutting through the sweetness of cocktail mixers and balancing the flavors of various spirits. 

The effect is similar to that of dark chocolate, where the bitterness offers a counterpoint to the sweetness and richness of the other ingredients.

The sweetness in angostura bitters is subtle and plays a supporting role, softening the bitter edge while adding a touch of complexity. 

Notes of molasses, burnt sugar, and dried fruit, such as raisins and dates, can be detected, providing a sense of richness and warmth that is both comforting and intriguing.

Spiciness is another key element of angostura bitters, giving it a lively and invigorating character. 

The blend of aromatic herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom, imparts a fragrant warmth that lingers on the palate. 

This spiciness adds an extra dimension to the overall flavor profile, making angostura bitters an indispensable ingredient in creating well-rounded and harmonious cocktails.

In addition to the bitter, sweet, and spicy components, angostura bitters also possess an underlying earthiness, with hints of bark, root, and wood, reflecting its origins as a botanical extract. 

This earthy tone grounds the other flavors and lends a sense of depth and sophistication.

Importance of Angostura Bitters

Angostura bitters is much more than just a flavor enhancer in cocktails and cooking, it has a long and rich history dating back to the 19th century. 

This unique blend of herbs and spices is considered a cornerstone of the mixology world, having played a pivotal role in the development of many classic cocktails

Beyond the bar, Angostura bitters have a wide range of uses in the kitchen, from adding depth and complexity to marinades and sauces, to being used as a digestive aid after meals. 

With its distinct and versatile flavor profile, Angostura bitters has become a staple ingredient in both the professional and home kitchens alike. 

Its versatility and importance in both mixology and cuisine make Angostura bitters a must-have for any aspiring bartender or home cook looking to elevate their skills and creations to the next level.

A bottle of liquor, Angostura bitters, on a black metal serving tray with ice cubes.

How to Choose an Angostura Bitters Substitute

Choosing the right Angostura bitters substitute can be a challenge, as each brand offers a unique flavor profile that can impact the unique taste of your cocktails. 

Here are some things to consider:

Consider the Flavor Profile

Choosing the right Angostura bitters substitute is all about finding the right flavor profile that works best for your cocktails. 

When selecting a substitute, it’s important to consider the dominant flavors in your drink and what type of bitterness you’re looking to add. 

For example, if you’re making a classic cocktail that relies on the strong, aromatic flavor of Angostura bitters, consider using an aromatic bitters substitute that offers similar notes of spice and bitterness. 

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a lighter, citrusy bitterness, consider using an orange bitters substitute. 

When experimenting with different bitters, it’s helpful to keep in mind the intensity of each brand, as some substitutes may have a stronger or more subtle flavor than others. 

The key to finding the perfect Angostura bitters substitute is to take the time to taste and experiment with different options.

But if you don’t have any on hand, try Aperol, Grand Marnier, high-proof limoncello base, or gin as a substitute for orange bitters.

Take Note of the Recipe Requirements

The appropriate components may make or break a meal or a beverage. Angostura bitters are often a bartender’s staple, but what might be used in its place?

Making the proper substitution calls for paying close attention to the recipe’s specifications.

To choose the right bitters, think about what you’ll be serving them with.

For a traditional Manhattan or Old Fashioned, for instance, you might choose a replacement for bitters that has comparable spicy and herbal undertones.

However, a replacement with lemony overtones may be preferable if you’re using bitters as a finishing touch for a fruity cocktail.

If you want to try to make a substitution, keep in mind what the recipe calls for and see what else you can come up with.

Experiment with Different Substitutes

When it comes to creating the perfect cocktail or dish, ingredients can make all the difference. 

And sometimes, finding the right substitute can lead to even better results. 

If you’re in need of a substitute for Angostura bitters, the good news is that there are many options to choose from. 

The key is to experiment with different substitutes to find the one that works best for you. 

Try a few different bitters with different flavor profiles, such as orange, cherry, or aromatic bitters, and see how they change the taste of your drink or dish. 

Don’t be afraid to try new things and have fun with it! You never know, you may end up discovering a new favorite ingredient. 

So next time you’re in a bind, remember to embrace the experimentation and have fun finding your perfect Angostura bitters substitute.

How to Use Angostura Bitters Substitutes

When it comes to creating the perfect cocktail, ingredients play a crucial role in determining the taste and overall experience. 

Here are some ways to use them:

In Cocktails

Cocktails that call for Angostura bitters should use a flavorful alternative that works well with the other components. 

If you’re making a cocktail with gin, you may try subbing in some citrus peel bitters, while a whiskey drink might benefit more from a bitters replacement with some heat. 

Find the right balance by experimenting with various ratios and alternatives to bitters. 

If you’re looking for a new taste to add to your alcoholic beverages, try switching out the Angostura bitters for Aperol liqueur.

In Cooking

Cooking is an art, and finding great options can make all the difference in creating a healthy, delicious and memorable dish. 

While Angostura bitters are a staple in many recipes, finding the right substitute for bitters can add a unique and unexpected flavor to your cooking. 

When using a substitute for Angostura bitters in cooking, it’s important to consider the intended use and the flavor profile of the substitute. 

For example, a spicy bitters substitute may work well in a savory dish, while a sweeter substitute may be a better fit for a dessert. 

Experiment with different bitters best substitutes and ratios to find the perfect balance. 

You may discover that a substitute for Angostura bitters can elevate your cooking to a whole new level of deliciousness. 

So next time you’re in the kitchen, remember to have fun and embrace the experimentation with Angostura bitters substitutes.

In Baking

Baking is a science, and the right ingredients can mean the difference between a good and a great dish. 

A good substitute for orange bitters in baking would be orange extract or fiori di sicilia, an orange-vanilla flavoring.

While Angostura bitters are a common ingredient in many baked goods, finding the right substitute can add a unique and delightful flavor to your baked creations. 

When using a substitute for Angostura bitters in baking, it’s important to consider the intended use and the flavor profile of the substitute. 

For example, a citrus-based bitters substitute may work well in a sweet bread or cake, while a spicier substitute may be a better fit for a savory pastry. 

Experiment with whole spices of different bitters substitutes and ratios to find the perfect balance. 

You may find that a substitute for Angostura bitters can take your baking to new heights of deliciousness. 

So next time you’re in the kitchen, remember to have fun and embrace the experimentation with Angostura bitters substitutes in your baking.

A photo of a classic Angostura bitters cocktail on a wooden table.

Tips for Choosing and Using an Angostura Bitters Substitute

Here are five tips for choosing and using an Angostura bitters substitute:

  1. Consider the recipe requirements: Different bitters have different flavor profiles, so consider the intended use and the other ingredients in your recipe when choosing a substitute.
  2. Experiment with different substitutes: Try a few different bitters substitutes with different flavor profiles, such as orange, cherry, or aromatic bitters, and see how they change the taste of your drink or dish.
  3. Pay attention to the flavor profile: Consider the flavor profile of the substitute and how it will complement the other ingredients in the recipe.
  4. Adjust the ratio as needed: Different bitters have different strengths, so you may need to adjust the ratio of the substitute compared to the original recipe.
  5. Have fun with it: Embrace the experimentation and have fun finding your perfect Angostura bitters substitute. You may discover a new favorite ingredient along the way.

The bottom line

In summary, angostura bitters are a complex and versatile ingredient that adds a unique blend of bitter, sweet, spicy, and earthy notes to cocktails and culinary creations. 

Their distinctive taste elevates and harmonizes the flavors of a wide range of beverages and dishes, making them an indispensable staple in bars and kitchens around the world.

Finding a suitable replacement for Angostura bitters is an enjoyable challenge that may result in some very memorable new tastes in your favorite drinks, meals, and treats. 

While you’re in a liquor store, think about what the recipe calls for, try out a few alternative options, pay close attention to the taste profile, tweak the ratio as necessary, and above all, have fun with it! 

If you’re a home chef or a professional bartender, don’t be afraid to try new things by experimenting with different Angostura bitters alternatives. 

The next time you’re out of Angostura bitters, keep these pointers in mind and take pleasure in the search for a suitable replacement.