When it comes to bitters, there is no doubt that Angostura is the biggest name out there. They’re like Microsoft in the 90’s, Google in the 00’s, or the East India Trading company in… Pirates of the Caribbean? Either way, even in the worst of bars there’s usually a well crusted bottle maintaining its place on a shelf somewhere. So when Ontario based Really Horrible Enterprises sent me along a sample pack that included their “Cangostura” bitters, I just had to see how they stood up next to the ubiquitous bitters titans.
Whether tribute, replacement, or competition, Really Horrible’s Cangostura bitters really hold their own. While not as bitter as their namesake these are full of flavour. Tasted straight I’m most reminded of ginger cookies and molasses, but there’s also notes of cinnamon and nutmeg, which just bring me memories of all the best holiday treats. When it comes to bitterness, they’re not quite as harsh as Angostura bitters, which I rate a 3.5 – 4 on a scale of 1 – 5. Cangostura ring in more around a 3, or even a 2.5 so even a healthy dose in a drink won’t be too harsh for the average palate.
Angostura bitters have more herbal and earthy notes where as Cangostura really shine in their savory spices, this at the end of the day will determine which you should choose. Both deserve a spot on your home bar, at the end of the day, Angostura for their enduring name, and Cangostura for their willingness to take on a giant and hold their own in a delicious and unique way.
Pick yourself up a bottle Cangostura HERE.