ANGOSTURAⓇ aromatic bitters, beloved by bartenders everywhere, has once again proven its alliance with the bar industry with its Dashes at Dinner initiative.
Here, the bitters brand – known affectionately as “bartenders salt” – partners with cocktail bars to create fun, Covid-compliant dinner parties. By hosting individuals who have a means to reach the public, the series is designed to showcase South Africa’s superlative bars, bartenders and chefs while celebrating ANGOSTURAⓇ as a food and beverage ingredient.
Dashes at Dinner will be presented at bars around the country, with tickets being given away to a lucky few via ANGOSTURA’SⓇ social media channels.
The inaugural Dashes at Dinner event was held at the celebrated Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen in Cape Town (number 75 in The World’s 50 Best Bars) and hosted by industry icon Kurt Schlechter.
I was one of several fortunate guests invited to attend, including laugh-a-minute blogger Leigh van den Berg, celebrity chef Claire Allen and meme lord David Scott (aka TheKiffness). Our task? Through our combined platforms, to show the frayed nation that it has nothing to fear from going out, provided everyone behaves responsibly.
But why is this even necessary, and what does it have to do with ANGOSTURAⓇ?
Well, bars around the world, have been brought to their knees by the pandemic, but arguably none more so than right here in Mzansi. Not only were these establishments forcibly shuttered when the cruel waves of Covid were at their zenith, but our over-zealous alcohol bans meant that there were long periods when their trade was outlawed in its entirety.
Yet even now that we have the reprieve of low-key level one restrictions, many of these venues – long serving as gathering spots to fulfil the very human needs for companionship and camaraderie – are woefully abandoned.
Following a treacherous year, many of the bars are so battle worn that they’re struggling to find the energy to entice guests back into their embrace, which is why ANGOSTURAⓇ has come to their aid. The dinners, sponsored by the brand, simultaneously inject some much needed cash money back into the businesses.
Of course, while each dinner will be different, they’ll follow the common thread of challenging the bar team to invent a sensational cocktail-pairing menu, showcasing the many uses of ANGOSTURAⓇ bitters.
To give you an idea, at the maiden Dashes at Dinner, we were welcomed with one of King Kurt’s famous spritzes containing Prosecco, Cape Brandy and ANGOSTURAⓇ aromatic bitters, topped with passion fruit sorbet and sprinkled with sesame seeds.
As a starter, we enjoyed the most astonishing murukai hokkaiyaki Ferrari Mussels that came with a tomatoey ANGOSTURAⓇ aromatic bitters sauce and perfectly crusted bread. This we washed down with Cause Effect Rooibos Brandy Sours.
For the main, we were spoilt to rock lobster seared in ANGOSTURAⓇ aromatic bitters and served with poached pear, green herb oil, apricot, melon, carrot and cumin. For this course, we could choose from any of Cause Effect’s experiential drinks, and I went with an old favourite: Richie the Rainbow Sparkle Unicorn.
To finish, King Kurt wowed us with a cocktail-dessert combo: flambéed rum-and-raisin piña colada served with both ANGOSTURAⓇ aromatic bitters and ANGOSTURAⓇ orange bitters.