Angostura: A festive Feast with Bitters!

Since the 1800s, Angostura® aromatic bitters has been a barmen’s best friend when mixing cocktails, and no mixologist, whether professional or just at home, worth their salt will be caught behind the bar without it.

But lesser known is the fact that Angostura® aromatic bitters has become a secret ingredient for professional and home chefs too.

Cooking is all about the balancing of flavours, and Angostura® aromatic bitters adds complexity and a unique dimension to any meal with just a few dashes.

So, we asked some of our favourite chefs to conjure up an alfresco-style menu using Angostura aromatic bitters and paired them with drinks for a crowd that will be sure to have your guests clamouring for more this holiday season.

The Starter

Start your festive season toasts with a Raspberry & Rosemary Gin Punch:


  • 2 cups of your favourite premium gin
  • 1 dash Angostura® aromatic bitters
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3-4 fresh raspberries
  • 4 lemons, juiced
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1-litre soda water
  • Ice
  • Fresh raspberries, for garnish

Place gin, bitters, rosemary, raspberries, lemon juice and sugar in a cocktail shaker and muddle until sugar is dissolved. Shake and strain into a punch bowl. Add ice to the bowl and top with soda water stirring gently. When serving in a single glass ladle in punch and ice, garnishing with fresh raspberries.

Judi Fourie, owner and chef at Pilcrow & Cleaver, starts the meal with something light to wow guests – Angostura® Poached Cherries, Orange, Baby Spinach and Chickpea Salad:


  • 2 tbsp treacle sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Angostura® aromatic bitters
  • 4 tbsp fynbos vinegar (or red wine vinegar)
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 20 fresh cherries
  • 2 cups cooked drained chickpeas
  • Segments of 2 small oranges
  • 200g baby spinach
  • 2 tbsp lemon olive oil
  • Salt and black pepper (to season)

In a small saucepan, dissolve the treacle sugar, Angostura® aromatic bitters, fynbos vinegar, star anise, cinnamon sticks and two cups of water. Add the cherries in whole and poach (not boil) for 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Using a paper straw, remove the pips from the cooked cherries, while keeping the stalk intact. Then dress chickpeas, oranges and baby spinach with your lemon olive oil and the liquor from the cherries. Season with salt and black pepper. Place dressed chickpea salad on a plate and top with your poached cherries.

The Main

How about a jovial Pineapple Honey Bee before you carve into mains?


  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 60ml warm water
  • 1 cup pineapple honey-flavoured vodka
  • 60ml freshly squeezed lemon juice, strained
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 dashes Angostura® aromatic bitters
  • Sparkling water
  • Lemon slices, for garnish

Dissolve the honey in the warm water in the microwave for 30 seconds. In a jug, combine the vodka, honey water, and lemon juice. Add a couple a few leaves of basil and two dashes of Angostura® aromatic bitters to your individual glasses and muddle with a wooden spoon. Add ice. Top each with sparkling water and garnish with the lemon slices.

Is there anything more festive than a roasted, golden duck? Paul Thinus Prinsloo, winner of the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2020 Africa and Middle East and latest edition to the Quoin Rock team provides us with a decadent Angostura® Honey Glazed Duck.


  • 1 whole duck
  • 100ml Angostura® aromatic bitters
  • 60ml honey
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 stem celery
  • 1 stem Leek
  • 1 whole onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 10 sprigs of wild rosemary (or 5 if using normal rosemary), for stuffing and garnish

Preheat your oven to 200°C. In a hot pan, put your duck (breast side down) and start rendering the fat. This should take about 10 to 15 minutes to get the whole duck golden. Mix your Angostura® aromatic bitters and honey in a bowl and put aside for basting later. In a hot casserole dish, add your diced veggies, onion and garlic, and roast them in the oven until they are caramelised. Add your duck to the vegetable mix and baste. Roast the duck for 20 minutes while basting midway. Decrease the oven to 180°C and cook for a further 35 minutes, basting every 10 minutes. Let your duck rest for five minutes, and stuff with wild rosemary before carving and serving.

The Dessert

Though we’re serving dessert, it doesn’t mean the party is over. Really it’s just getting started, so it’s time to bring out the Angostura® Sangria:


  • Ice
  • 90ml cognac
  • 90ml Cointreau
  • 360ml pinot noir red wine
  • 60ml lime juice
  • 120ml orange juice
  • 8 dashes Angostura® aromatic bitters
  • Simple syrup (optional, to taste)
  • Assorted fruit of your choice

Simply add all your ingredients and ice (except your fruit) to your jug and then throw in a few your favourite fresh-cut fruit. Be sure to refrigerate for at least two hours before serving to your guests to allow flavours to develop. Serve chilled, over ice.

Serve with Steenberg executive chef of Bistro Sixteen82 and Tryn restaurants Kerry Kilpin’s Orange and Cinnamon Crème Brûlée with Angostura® aromatic bitters.


  • 130g sugar
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 12 dashes Angostura® aromatic bitters
  • 520ml cream
  • 170ml milk

Cream sugar and egg yolks with a whisk. In a pot over a gentle heat, place your cinnamon, orange zest, Angostura® aromatic bitters, cream and milk. Once it starts to boil, remove from the heat. Gradually add the hot cream mix to the creamed eggs and sugar, stirring constantly. Strain and pour into individual ramekins. Place the ramekins in a water bath (baking tray with 2cm of hot water) and bake at 140°C for 30 to 35 minutes. Cool and refrigerate to set. Preheat oven to broil. Once set, sprinkle lightly with castor sugar and brûlée under the broiler to caramelise the sugar.

No matter the menu, with its cinnamon and spice notes, Angostura® aromatic bitters is the perfect ingredient for the holiday season – whether in your drink or on your plate.

For more bittered food and drink recipes, visit


Written by Marvin

Founder of many things but FoodBlogJHB FoodBlogCT, FoodBlogDBN being my biggest project to date. UCT marketing graduate, Star Wars geek and Arsenal & Dortmund supporter. That's me!

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