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Angostura Bitters


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I have a dinner staked on whether or not Angostura Bitters contains beetles. I know there are a number of herbs in there, but is the squashed cochineal beetle one of the ingredients? It is - or perhaps was (I don't know if it's now banned) - in Campari.

Jeez, thanks for putting me off the Negroni I was about to have for/with lunch! I don't know about the Angostura. Thirsty Traveler did a show about it a while ago in which no mention was made of insects--but then again, perhaps it is a secret recipe for a very good reason.

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There's a fairly involved thread on eGullet's Spirits & Cocktails forum about Campari's transition from carmine/cochineal to artificial color - according to the vast majority of people who've tried both, the manufacturer appears to have sacrificed taste in favor of cost savings or caving to the vegetarian lobby. Carmine color was not and is not banned.

As far as Angostura, the label says "Colorant Caramel E150a" - that's standard burnt sugar/corn syrup caramel color, no bugs.

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There's a fairly involved thread on eGullet's Spirits & Cocktails forum about Campari's transition from carmine/cochineal to artificial color - according to the vast majority of people who've tried both, the manufacturer appears to have sacrificed taste in favor of cost savings or caving to the vegetarian lobby. Carmine color was not and is not banned.

As far as Angostura, the label says "Colorant Caramel E150a" - that's standard burnt sugar/corn syrup caramel color, no bugs.

Yes, I read the Campari tale. Thanks for the Angostura Bitters explanation. I'm a little sad it's not made of beetles. Also because it means I pay for dinner...Perhaps I should insist we go to Oyamel for the cricket tacos...

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Yes, I read the Campari tale. Thanks for the Angostura Bitters explanation. I'm a little sad it's not made of beetles.

Don't worry, you can always smear it on your face, in the form of powdered blush. Seriously - cochineal is (or maybe was) used in cosmetics.

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