Over Thanksgiving, while visiting family out of town, I went looking for Angostura bitters. There were none at the local liquor store, so I settled for Peychaud’s, thinking nothing of it. Then, over Christmas, I went looking for Angostura bitters here. There were none in the shop, and upon inquiring I was informed that there are none to be found anywhere locally, because none had been manufactured for months. It seems the financial crisis took down the company behind the little bottles.
The proudly Trinidadian firm was supposed to have been rescued in October, and supplies were supposed to hit the Northeast back in the fall. But there are still none hereabouts and as of even date they are reportedly out in the UK.
Even if the works are up and running, it will take a while for bitters to return to shelves everywhere: “You can’t just turn on and off supply of bitters. It’s not like producing bottled water – it’s a very delicate, intricate process.”
No word as to whether the Angostura Christmas bash featured supplies of bitters.
Tragic as it all is, it’s hard not to feel there’s something quaint about a cocktail crisis owing to a crimp in the Caribbean cash flow. Cole Porter would have seen this.