Angostura Bitters & the Banshee!

Angostura Bitters!
Angostura Bitters!

The thing you have to understand with cocktails (and all food) is that astringency is important. Celery is astringent. Grapefruit is astringent. Romaine is astringent. The absence of astringency begats a palate for fat people.

Angostura Bitters is widely available and perhaps the most useful cocktail ingredient ever invented. It is gentian extract. Apparently it is an appetite stimulant, no small consideration in the heat and diarhetic era that preceeds us.

Regardless it adds a smoky flavorful tinge that works particularly well with whiskies of all origins. And gin. A pink gin is nothing to be lightly discounted.

Regardless, add a couple of drops to your next drink. You’ll be amazed. Gormley was.

The Banshee:

– one ounce Irish Mist
– two ounces Irish Whiskey
– two drops angostura bitters.

serve over ice or not, according to taste.


If you want to hear John Gormley’s live response to the addition of angostura to his drink the podcast is here.

My section starts at 16 minutes – you can use the slider to bypass the first section on Haiti – and the Banshee section starts around the 20 minute mark, with the bitters added around the 25 mark.


  1. Hi Doc, I am still enjoying the occasional banshee. Now I am wondering if you could recomend a good brand of scotch. I would like something to drink on the rocks for x-mas.
    ps – I don’t mind spending a little extra for something good, but I don’t want to have to take out a loan either.

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