The South African launch of ANGOSTURA® orange bitters and ANGOSTURA® cocoa bitters was a sparkling occasion with liberal dashes of dramatic flair, from the classy cocktails to the cutting-edge laser light show.
When a cocktail legend such as the House of Angostura brings not one but two new bitters to the South African cocktail scene, it’s time to celebrate. And the launch parties in Cape Town and Johannesburg welcomed these dynamic new orange and cocoa bitters flavours in suitably flamboyant style. A sophisticated Cape Town soirée took over Harringtons Cocktail Lounge in the East City on 27th March, while Jozi bartenders, dignitaries and media enjoyed a chic garden party at the Ten Bompas Hotel in Dunkeld West on 29th March.
A Journey of Flavour
The party started with an immersive laser light show which took guests on a journey of flavour, telling the story of ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters from its humble start in Venezuela as a medicinal elixir in 1824, to the golden age of the cocktail in the 1900s and beyond. Guests were whisked on a faster-than-the-speed-of-light world tour of iconic images interpreted as dancing laser line drawings: London Bridge and the Espresso Martini, Florence’s Duomo and the Negroni, the Eiffel Tower and the Boulevardier, Broadway and the Manhattan, flitting onwards to the Caribbean and the era of the rum cocktail and salsa. The common thread in all these inspiring cocktail moments in time – ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters.
This led us on subtle wafts of orange and cocoa scents-action to the story of the new kids on the House of Angostura block: ANGOSTURA® orange bitters launched globally in 2007 and ANGOSTURA® cocoa bitters, the baby of the family born in 2020, both (finally) available in South Africa, and ushering in infinite new possibilities of cocktail creativity.
As the mesmerising laser show drew to a close a steel band started to play, drawing guests through to a newly revealed part of the venue where the stage was set to taste for themselves.
The Stars of the Show
Trays of impeccably mixed cocktails demonstrated the two new bitters flavours and the extra dashes of nuanced flavour they bring to the classics.
ANGOSTURA® orange bitters starred in a sublime Classic Martini and a sumptuous Negroni, and ANGOSTURA® cocoa bitters brought its warm and rich depth to a simply gorgeous Espresso Martini and a Boulevardier, with both bitters featuring in the sumptuous signature cocktail nightcap, the Café Trinidad.
Meanwhile, the OG of the cocktail scene, ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters, held its own in a Queen’s Park Swizzle, an Old Fashioned, an Orange Daiquiri and of course, the Rock Shandy.
A Sensory Supporting Act
Not for nothing is ANGOSTURA® aromatic bitters known as the salt and pepper of the bartender’s world. In Trinidad & Tobago, it’s an essential seasoning in every kitchen too. The chefs serving up the food for the launch parties took a leaf from the Trinidadian cookbook and got creative with some bitters-inspired canapés: depth from the cocoa bitters in a balsamic glaze on bocconcini and tomato skewers; citrus brightness from the orange complementing smoked salmon roses; or the gorgeous vegetable spring rolls with orange and honey dipping sauce.
And the dessert carts played on the theme of mouth-watering effect – orange bitters-infused brownies, light-as-a-cloud éclairs with an orange cream filling, and decadent subtly orange-scented hand-made chocolates. A side-step to the cocoa bitters dessert station, where cocoa bitters-infused ice cream was deftly frozen and rolled to order on a cold plate, and an espresso fix flavoured with cocoa bitters sealed the deal. Every kitchen officially needs to add these two bitters to their flavour profiles.
And now we are formally introduced, South Africa’s bartenders and chefs look all set to mix up a storm with these two very welcome additions to our cocktail repertoire!