Do Angostura Bitters Go Bad?

Regarding Angostura bitters’ shelf life, there are differing views. While some suggest they should be thrown away after three years, others assert they can last for many years. Bitters lose their strength with time even though the bottle has no official expiration date.

It could be time to buy a new bottle of bitters if the hue has changed to dark brown or black. Also, throw it out immediately if any mold is visible on the top or within the container. It’s preferable to follow the rule of caution and buy another bottle of bitters if anything tastes or smells strange or if you’re worried that your bitters have gone bad.

Angostura Bitters: What Are They?

Many drinks contain Angostura bitters as a secret component. They can be used in place of other bittering ingredients like orange peel or angostura bark to give a variety of mixed cocktails an earthy, herbal flavor.

Angostura Bitters are made by macerating herbs and hand-ground spices with alcohol. These ingredients may include cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander seeds, cloves, cardamom pods, and bay leaves (rum).

Getting To Know Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Do Angostura Bitters Go Bad?

A concentrated bitter created by the House of Angostura in Trinidad and Tobago using alcohol-dissolved extracts of grasses, roots, leaves, and fruits is perfect for balancing alcoholic beverages, clearing the palate, and easing digestion.

Although it is believed that Angostura aromatic bitters contain more than 40 components, including exotic fruits and spices, the exact recipe is a well-guarded secret. The orange-colored tonic, which has a 44.7% alcohol by volume (ABV), is undoubtedly a blend of citrus fruit and vegetable extracts, cardamom, and the bitter root “gentian.”

It was once used only for medicinal research, and it wasn’t until the middle of the 19th century that it started to be used in cocktails.

Are Angostura Bitters Alcoholic?

Many cocktails require Angostura bitters as a critical component. Gentian root, cinchona bark, licorice root, and other herbs and spices are the secret to their delectable flavor, but can they also contain alcohol?

The typical alcohol content of cocktail bitters like Angostura is 35–45%; however, because most drink ingredients only call for a “dash” of bitters, relatively little of it is actually utilized.

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The first item on the list is alcohol. Ironically, although Angostura Bitters contain alcohol, they are sometimes promoted as non-alcoholic. Look at the label if you need proof.

Do You Need to Refrigerate Angostura Bitters?

Angostura Bitters are probably something you have on hand if you enjoy drinking cocktails. But do they require refrigeration?

The bitters from Angostura don’t require refrigeration. Simply keep them out of sunlight in a fabulous, dry location. They should ideally be kept away from your burner or oven in a pantry or cupboard with minimal humidity.

My friends have never voiced any concerns about the quality of the contents in my mixed drinks, and the label does not indicate that the bottle should be refrigerated.

Angostura in the Kitchen: How to Use It

Do Angostura Bitters Go Bad?

Angostura is not only the go-to ingredient for cocktails; it can also be utilized effectively in the kitchen. It combines nicely when the herbal liquid is utilized as a marinade to provide bitter and citrus tones to the seafood, especially shrimp and shellfish. To add a sense of acidity to meat, and roasts, mainly Angostura is a fantastic ingredient.

Angostura can be substituted for traditional rum or other potent spirits in sauces accompanying both main dishes and desserts. It also tastes well in cakes, when combined with fruit, when served plain over a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream, or even in this odd recipe for angostura-glazed popcorn, which is best served as an upscale bar snack.

How Should I Keep Bitters Saved?

We discovered that Angostura Bitters don’t need to be refrigerated in the previous section, but how should you keep them?

Bitters should be kept upright and with the top securely put on to prevent leaks and the evaporation of essential oils. To avoid the components going bad or the flavors fading over time, bitters should be stored in a cool, dry area out of the sun.

Your friends will adore your cocktails for many years if you abide by our simple storage advice for bitters.

What Is the Bitters’ Shelf Life?

How long can you store Angostura bitters after opening the bottle? Is drinking okay a year or two later? Bitters have a high alcohol content, which serves as a preservative. Angostura aromatic bitters have 45% alcohol content, making a bottle last long. The shelf life of a spirit is almost endless.

In general, bitters won’t spoil, but their flavor and scent will deteriorate over time. Bitters sitting around for a while are still safe to use; however, the flavors may not be as potent.

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How Do Bitters Feel?

Bitters are alcohol-infused taste extracts. These extracts are created from botanicals that have been steeped, including flowers, berries, fragrant herbs, roots, bark, and other plant parts. Most drink recipes employ them in drops and dashes as a kind of extra flavor boost because they are pure and robust in form. They arrive in little bottles as a result.

Many different types of bitters are available today, with Angostura possibly being the most well-known. Citrus bitters produced with orange, lemon, yuzu, or grapefruit peels are available, as well as aromatic bitters that assist in stimulating the senses with their potent aromas and flavors.

In contrast, herbal bitters, such as those made with tarragon, thyme, or mint, have a more pungent taste and flavor. In contrast, the spice type, such as those produced with cinnamon, tends to add warmth.

There are other nut bitters, including coffee and chocolate flavors. Fruit bitters err on the fruity sweetness. On the other side, Angostura was developed as a gastric bitter to aid in improved food digestion. As legend has it, it was created in the 19th century to treat digestive issues and aid in the fight against Venezuelan parasites. Today, a York or an Old Fashioned will most likely contain it.

Motives for Using Bitters

Do Angostura Bitters Go Bad?

There are more reasons to include bitter foods in your diet than just tradition or flavor. Foods with a bitter flavor have a long history of use in traditional medicine. Elixirs made from carefully chosen bitter herbs have been prized as all-purpose treatments throughout history, dating back to the Ancient Egyptians’ usage of wine-infused herbal concoctions to the 16th-century instructions of renowned physician Paracelsus and beyond.

Studies have shown that consuming sufficient bitter flavors is crucial for maintaining a healthy digestive system and is associated with several related health advantages. Regular consumption of bitters has been linked to:

  1. Reduce reliance on sugar
  2. Reduce bloating and gas
  3. Treat sporadic heartburn
  4. Promote the production of bile, HCL, and digestive enzymes
  5. Control nausea and an upset stomach
  6. Improve the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K absorption
  7. Assist in maintaining normal blood sugar levels
  8. Control appetite
  9. Facilitate regular bowel movements and ease constipation
  10. Encourage healthy skin and liver function

Locations to Find Bitters

It has become challenging to locate high-quality bitter meals on the market because manufactured foods fill addicted lips with fake, tongue-tingling flavors and spices. Also, the fruit and vegetable kinds found in produce sections have undergone deliberate breeding and cross-pollination to reduce bitterness while enhancing sweetness, vivid color, and complete form.

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While these characteristics undoubtedly increase customer interest in vegetable purchasing, they also signify a terrible nutritional value limitation and a general lack of phytonutrient, anti-oxidant, and flavonoid variety in our diets. Today, only a select few often consumed foods, including greens (especially dandelion and arugula), coffee, hops, olives, and dark chocolate, are known to have a genuinely bitter flavor.

Many practitioners advise using a different herbal tonic or tincture to compensate for the general lack of bitter flavors in most modern diets. Among other common plants, gentian, cascarilla, cassia, orange peel, and cinchona bark are examples of botanicals with a naturally bitter taste.

Bitter tonics are widely available in health food stores worldwide, but my favorite brand is our Urban Moonshine Bitters, a Vermont herbalist carefully prepared with regional, organic ingredients.

Do Bitters Ever Go Bad?

In a technical sense, no, because the alcohol content keeps them fresh for an extended period. In actuality, the shelf life is regarded as “almost indefinite.” Even if oxidation or chemical reactions occur, they won’t ruin the product or endanger you if you ingest it.

Glycerin, commonly known as a sugar alcohol, is sometimes criticized for not producing “genuine” bitters. However, some bitters have a propensity to deteriorate over time. Fruit bitters mixed in glycerin instead of ethanol fall under this category. Only one to two years are allowed for glycerin to be stored. Then they can deteriorate. Consider the fruit bitters produced by Fee Brothers.

The flavor and fragrance are a couple of indications that these varieties have gone rotten. If they smell faintly sour or tangy instead of the familiarly sweet liqueur, this may be a sign that you should discard them. The taste will also be changed.

Fruit bitters that have gone bad won’t actually kill you or hurt you, but drinking it or using it in drinks may leave a terrible taste in your mouth.


There is no use-by date for Angostura bitters. They will last forever. Here’s a helpful suggestion if you’re unsure how to preserve your Angostura bitters. Keep them near your cooking oils and spices in the kitchen. Relax. Because life is too short not to enjoy fabulous cocktails, prepare a drink, add a dash of bitters, and sip.

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