Take Your Medicine


Angostura Bitters—a combination of tropical herbs, plant extracts, and spices named after the port town of Angostura, Venezuela—were developed by a doctor in 1824 to be a tonic and a natural healing elixir (that was quickly adopted by sea-sick sailors).

Bitters will enhance the flavor of other ingredients without masking them and will temper the acidity of citrus ingredients in cock- tails. It’s no surprise, then, that bitters, which are part of many classic cocktails such as the Old Fashioned and the Rob Roy, have medicinal uses.

Indigestion, overindulgence (you arrived with a hangover), or a sour stomach are all candidates for bitters and soda. Pour club soda into a rocks glass, add five dashes of bitters and fill it with more soda. It’s like bartender Alka-Seltzer. For hiccups, take a lime wedge in a shot glass and add four or five dashes of bitters. Put the lime wedge in your mouth and bite. I’ve done this for many years and it always works.

Here’s a helpful tip: If you are outside at a patio bar, put a little bitters in your hands and rub it on your legs—no mosquitos! Be careful, because it will stain your clothes and there’s no getting it out.