Bitters shortage causes panic in New York bars

10:06, January 14, 2010      

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New York bartenders said on Wednesday that a worldwide shortage of Angostura bitters is forcing them to ration the key ingredient in a Manhattan, the area's famous cocktail.

The bartenders said many businesses and distributors are carefully rationing their supplies of Angostura bitters, making it quite difficult to find a Manhattan in Manhattan, the New York Post reported on Wednesday.

Earlier this month, William Tigertt, owner of the Lower East Side restaurant, Freemans, tweeted his distress.

"Panic! Angostura bitter plant shutdown," Tigerett wrote "NYC distributors rationing 3 bottles per account. Hording begins as cocktail doomsday clock hits 11."

The shortage began over a dispute between the House of Angostura and its bottling company in Trinidad.

"We couldn't get the bottles form our usual distributors, so we had to switch to a Chinese distributor, and that took a bit more time to get our shipments, which backed up orders," company spokeswoman Giselle Laronde-West told the New York Post.

Full production isn't expected until early February. Meanwhile, Manhattan and Old Fashioneds enthusiasts are forking over 18 U.S. dollars a cocktail.

"Bars are hoarding bitters now. We have a few cases stashed away, maybe enough for two months," Tigertt said. "A lot of people are buying them up on eBay."

Source: Xinhua
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