When I was in college, I had a very bad episode of food poisoning (sidenote: do not eat a Jumbo Jack burger after leaving it in room temperature for 5 hours).  Ever since then, my iron stomach had been a squishy one.  Even a minute amount of irritant will cause me to have stomach pain for hours.  Luckily my wife introduced me to Angostura bitters.  Yes, this is the same stuff they put in cocktails such as:

  • Whiskey
  • Old Fashioned
  • Sazerac
  • Martini
  • Manhattan
  • Champagne
  • The Sawyer

But… usually a splash or two, somewhat like a garnish in cocktail.

So you take this in shots???!!!!  What…???

Yes!  I know it’s weird for some folks, but Angostura taken in a shot (1 shot does it for me, but I’m a small guy) absolutely cures my upset stomach.  Friends often ask how does it taste like, I can definitively say it’s actually pretty good.  If you like the taste of whiskey, I recommend you give Angostura bitter a try.  In my opinion, it doesn’t taste like whiskey, but a flavorful aromatic herbal alcohol.   The name does throw you a bit since it’s called bitters, but I wouldn’t say it is any bitter than alcohol (if you believe alcohol is bitter).

What is Angostura Bitters?

Per official ingredients, Angostura Bitters contains:

  • Water
  • 44.7% Ethanol (89.4 proof)
  • Gentian
  • Herbs and Spices

The common ingredients for bitters are:

  • Cascarilla
  • Cassia
  • Gentian
  • Orange peel
  • Cinchona bark
  • Plus some other secret ingredients from various manufacturers

For Pleasure and Personal Reasons

So yes, I take Angostura bitters sometime as an alcoholic shot when I’m with friends and those 2am stomach pain emergencies.  It’s definitely not fun being woken up in the middle of the night with stomach pain.  This stuff works wonder for me!  Traditionally, bitters were taken 15 minutes before meal to jump start the digestive tract, but no worries if you forget, you can also take it after meal to ease gases and bloating.

How much is Angostura Bitters?

The ones I buy for my home is 16 fluid ounce, that’s the larger bottle version, and usually it costs me between $20-$30 per bottle (at the time of this writing).  I haven’t seen any bottles bigger than that from Angostura, but if you do, let me know!  I literally buy these in bulk because they work so well for me.

Pro Tip:  Since bitters are usually used as garnish for cocktails (a splash or two).  Most bartenders do not know how to charge for a shot of bitters.  I have seen as low as $3 per shot in my experience.  Not bad for a 89.4 proof drink!  In some places, that’s Happy Hour beer prices!

Who else makes bitters?

I’m glad you ask!  Angostura is probably the most popular ones out there.  To date, all the bars I’ve been to have this in stock.  It’s somewhat like Heinz ketchup, but in the bar world.  However, there are other companies that produce bitters such as:

Note:  Some of the bitters are more expensive than Angostura.  I recommend Angostura for the best bang for your buck.  I still would recommend that you try the other bitters out there for comparison.  It’s the age old question of do you prefer Coca-Cola or Pepsi?

Final Verdict

I recommend this product more from a medicinal and stomach relief perspective than as an alcohol drink.  A+ on the added buzz effect of alcohol.  For its price, compare to other premium bitters, the price point is rather good when purchased in bulk (larger bottle).  Lastly, don’t let the name, “Bitters”, fool you as something that is bitter and not tasty.  It’s actually quite flavorful in my opinion.

P.S.  Have you tried putting 3 or 4 splashes in your cola?