Every now and then, this 5pm Dining blog writer goes to a cocktail demonstration, a tasting or a drinks master class.
More often than not, I’ll come away convinced that I too can recreate the mixed drinks which I have just watched the bar tenders effortlessly whiz up.
Experience has taught me that it’s not as easy as it looks. Despite having the right ingredients and loads of ice, my attempts usually bear as much resemblance to the bar tenders’ drinks as do the potato prints of a five-year-old to the Mona Lisa.
The one exception to this is the Old Fashioned. A deceptively simple mix of bourbon, sugar, citrus and bitters, it is a classic cocktail which I can just about do justice to.
I suspect that the bitters are key. I use Angostura bitters and their rich, clove-like taste perhaps smoothes over the cracks in my cocktail-making technique.
According to telly chef Simon Rimmer, I could also be putting my Angostura® aromatic bitters to good use in the kitchen.
The chef and co-presenter of Sunday Brunch, has teamed up Angostura to turn the cocktail mixer into a kitchen-must-have.
In Trinidad and Tobago, where the House of Angostura is based, bitters has become a staple part of the national diet. Since it started production in 1820, islanders have added bitters by the spoonful to stews, soups and marinades.
Sodium and gluten free, it is often used to replace salt when cooking.
Despite its name the liquid is not bitter, in fact it calms acidity. In fact, Angostura® aromatic bitters was originally developed as a stomach settler.
Chef Rimmer has developed a range of recipes using Angostura® aromatic bitters. He says, ‘When I first tried bitters, I used just a dash, as you would with a cocktail, but with food you can be far more liberal. Don’t be shy with the amount; really go to town with it.
‘You can use it like a condiment or slap it on as a marinade. Above all enjoy it, you’ll be amazed the difference it will make.’