Amaro di Angostura!

Amaro di Angostura shot

From the House of Angostura, the makers of the world famous Angostura bitters and rums came a different product from what we are used to see….yep, it was not a bitter or a rum – it was an amaro!…..and just like everything else from the House of Angostura it´s as solid as their rums and their legendary bitters (with that oh so cool oversized label)

The amaro is very versatile and it`s bottled at 35% with aromas of cinnamon, dark chocolate and angostura aromatic bitters. Great on it’s own and in cocktails or even cooking. The product was inspired by Don Carlos Siegert, the son of Angostura’s Founder J.G.B. Siegert.

The base of this amaro is a neutral spirit made from the same molasses as their rums and their own cultivated yeast strain (since the 1930s) that is infused with aromatic and bitter herbs and spices for 3 months – and of course the recipe is a secret…

Amaro di Angostura

When you take a sip of it you feel good…the spicy comforting flavors are warming and there´s quite a bit of cinnamon it it paired with a slightly noticed amount of very dark chocolate and then cardamom, brown sugar, bitter orange peel and raisin plus that well known taste of their bitters, it`s “earhty”, “rooty” and “smoky”with slight medical notes in an array of spiciness rounded out by some sweetness.

If you have ever tried the “Trinidad Sour” cocktail, then you know how the Angostura bitters tastes in a large amount, the cocktail calls for one ounce, it´s spicy and to me not that very bitter at all, more spicy than bitter actually and very aromatic and this is like a sweeter and more drinkable version of the Angostura bitters and can be had in a shot too.

That spicy flavor would go so well in a Tiki drink….you see where i`m heading?

You know, cinnamon (pairs perfectly with pineapple) the flavor of the Angostura bitters whatever exactly they are made of, is a staple in all types of cocktails including the tiki drinks.

Looking through Jeff Berry`s Total Tiki app ( my always so handy to-go app) I decided to try a riff on the Barbancourt Rum Cup and switch the rum for Angostura 5, some pineapple juice and a splash of Amaro di Angostura.

Amaro di Angostura Rum Cup

Amaro di Angostura Rum Cup 2

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.25 oz dark sugarcane syrup ( 1:1 dark sugar to water or 2:1 for a thicker richer syrup )

1 oz pineapple juice

0.5 oz Amaro di Angostura

2 oz Angostura 5 year old rum

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail cup, add some ice if you want. Garnish with speared pineapple chunk, maraschino cherry and a tropical flower.

It turned out very tasty! spicy and refreshing, and so did the next drink, which by the looks, looks quite sweet…but it is not….it just turned out very nice and quite spicy due to the Amaro di Angostura.

Banana Daiquiri

Banana Daiquiri Collage pic

0.75 oz fresh lime juice

0.5 oz dark sugarcane syrup

1 oz Amaro di Angostura

2 oz Angostura 5 year old rum

1/2 ripe banana, thinly sliced (save two slices for garnish)

4 oz (1/2 cup) crushed ice

Pinch of cinnamon for the garnish

Put everything in a blender and blend at high speed for at least 30 sek, until smooth. Pour unstrained into a fancy glass with sugared rim and add more crushed ice to fill. I used a “golden” sugar, it`s a raw sugar that is not white nor dark, but very light brown altough it looks white in the pictures, but it`s not a refined white sugar, it´s a raw sugar.

Garnish with two thin banana slices, a tropical flower and some sprinkled cinnamon on top.

This drink tastes NICE!! it gets so much better when using fresh bananas and not making it too sweet, and the Amaro di Angostura went very well in it, adding that spice.

Now let´s try this the way you traditionally drink an amaro, it´s supposed to be a digestive after all. And as such it´s also very nice! If you like Angostura bitters (who doesn`t?) you may get a bottle of this too, it´s a nice complement to the Angostura bitters!

Amaro di Angostura collage

TOTC 2014 – The Tastings! Limited Edition & Vintage Rums and The House of Angostura!

 Vintage Rums Velier rums 3

Limited Edition and Vintage Rums

If I can….where there is rum and good company…I will be….

And so I camped overnight outside the Acadia-Madewood suite in the Sonesta to be sure to be there in time to catch the rums….well…no I didn’t…haha but I was there for sure!! This was an exclusive interactive tasting seminar featuring a selection of rare editions, vintage rums, limited bottlings and collector’s private stock.

The tasting was held by Robert Burr (Miami Rum Renaissance and Rob’s Rum Guide ) Leonardo Pinto (host of ShowRum, the Italian Rum Festival in Rome and the author of ISLA DE RUM web site) and the self proclaimed “high functioning rum-o-holic” from London Paul Mc Fadyen (co-owner of the iconic Trailer Happiness bar in the Notting Hill neighborhood of London and Brand Manager for Plantation Rum)

It was an entertaining and interesting tasting with rums found principally in the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy, among them two fine demerara expressions from Velier and a new rum from Banks not even launched yet.

seminar tasting

Robert, Leonardo and Paul took us through the history of rum and about the rums selected for this tasting, and then we also got a bonus rum to taste before the official tasting of it, the pineapple rum from Plantation rums. Also we got a quick presentation of the Lost Spirits Distillery by Bryan.

It’s not so easy to take notes during an interactive tasting like this one but I tried to get a few anyway, we tried eight different rums (plus the pineapple rum from Plantation which will be in another post) and so here are some very quick tasting notes:

Bristol Cuban 2003

This rum was bought unaged and was then aged in bourbon barrels in Bristol for seven years. Light yellowish in color, with hints of citrus peel and raisin and the flavor is balanced with notes of light tropical flowers.

Banks

Banks is coming out with a new rum soon and we got a taste of it….my notes says ” lively, fruity, a happy rum with a little wood, a bit of spice with a round nose with hints of honey, tropical fruit and wood. It’s a Connoisseur’s Cut Limited Release, made with Nicaraguan, Jamaican and Guyanese rums.

Mezan – 98 Guyana

I had never tried Mezan rum before. I found it sweet, a bit delicate, light and complex, some wood, tropical fruits and orange peel. It’s been aged in Europe.

Cuban Banks Mezan

Velier Port Morant 93

Now time for the big boys…two demerara expressions from Velier (Luca Gargano) both fabulous rums! note the little green label around the neck of the Diamond bottle…showing the rum was purchased at my favorite French rum shop in Paris, Christian de Montaguere.

Amazing nose….tropical fruits, wood, apricot, almond, cherry…and in the mouth an explosion of flavors….mashed tropical fruits, wood, spice, intense and warm.

Velier Diamond – 81

It gets even better……a 31 year old demerara that has been aged in the tropics (like all Velier rums) it’s a strong and a quite tannic rum and here we get wood, warm spices, a bit of apricot, the rum is amazing,  a stunning expression.

Velier rums

Plantation Guyana 2005

Demerara rum = Guyana Rhapsody…This expression from Plantation rum is a bit woody, on the dry side, “cool”, with hints of vanilla and fruit, a touch of smoke..

Plantation Guadeloupe – 98

Has a lovely nose, fruity, sugarcane, the flavor is balanced, slightly grassy and floral, a bit dry but has some sweetness, a big rum, very nice sipper.

Bristol Caroni – 96

A nice rum, woody and fruity. Long finish.

Plantation and Bristol rums

RUM! The Past, Present and Future of Cocktails by The House of Angostura

Angostura needs no presentation….and they had a tasting session that really was both entertaining, interactive and fun! we sampled different expressions of rum while John P. Georges (Master Distiller for the House of Angostura) and Philip Duff spoke about the history and making of rum. At the end of the session we got to blend our own rum…

We tasted a range of Angostura rums, the 5 year old, soft and round with notes of tropical fruits, the 7 year old with more robust flavors of chocolate, baking spices, chocolate, coffee, toffee, caramel, the 1919, a premium sipping rum, spicy, peppery, dark roasted nuts, and hints of smoke, and the 1824, aged for 12 years, a rich rum with notes of honey, fruits, chocolate and spices. All these rums are excellent.

But we also tasted a range of other rums to compare and try different styles and types of rum.

Angostura cocktail small

Here is the description:

Join John P. Georges (Master Distiller for the House of Angostura), Philip Duff (Creator of the Rum Institute education program and renowned spirits educator) and Daniyel Jones (Winner of the Angostura® Global Cocktail Challenge 2013, Angostura® Global Brand Ambassador and native Trinidadian) for a unique, free Tasting Room seminar, covering the following topics:

Rum’s place in the history of cocktails, from the very birth of cocktails right through to the present day, with a never-before seen history – and tasting – of the legendary Queen’s Park Swizzle!

A comparative multi-brand rum tasting, to help you map the many different styles of rum. 

Making rum! From distilling to blending to aging to bottling, all the subtleties of production that accumulate into the personality of a fine rum, straight from the mouth of the man responsible for one of the Caribbean’s largest rum distilleries. Includes tastings of deconstruction samples never before made available to the public.

A snapshot of rum in the cocktail world today: The Tiki renaissance, rum in classic and neo-classic cocktails, and boundary-pushing rum cocktails from around the world.

Yes it was interesting and fun indeed…and the tasty Angostura bitters glazed nuts and chicken with BBQ sauce was incredibly tasty too! also I think Angostura is a very classy brand from the products they make (love them all) to the way they operate and their team is awesome people.

Here’s a picture parade….(photos for the Angostura post by Laura Godel)

Angostura presenters

Philip Duff and John P. Georges, and lurking in the background Joey from Rated R Cocktails.

Angostura Rum Institute small

This was a great session!

Angostura John P Master Distiller

Angostura Master Distiller John P. Georges

Angostura tasting rums small

Rum tasting and blending.

Angostura bitters glazed nuts

Try this….it’s delicious…

Angostura cajun chicken strips small

Cajun Chicken Strips….

Angostura BBQ dip

With Angostura Bitters BBQ Dip Sauce…scrumptious!

Amaro di Angostura

But Angostura had more up their sleve….apart from a orange bitters pool party they also had a spirited brunch and a launch of a new product which turned out to be – amaro – bottled at 35% with aromas of cinnamon, dark chocolate and angostura aromatic bitters. Great on it’s own and in cocktails. Presented by the Angostura brand ambassador Daniyel Jones, people got to sample cocktails and shots with the new amaro made by Ivy Mix (Clover Club NYC) Mike Tomasic (House of Angostura Global Brand Ambassador) Daniyel Jones (House of Angostura Brand Ambassador) and JJ Goodman (The London Cocktail Club, UK).

It’s a very nice product indeed! look out for a few cocktails and a review later.

Angostura amaro cocktail small

Doesn’t this look tasty?

Angostura Daniyel making amaro cocktail

Daniyel Jones mixing up delicious cocktails.

Angostura Amaro shot 2

A shot of Amaro di Angostura..

Next up….more tastings! and more rum!