In Wisconsin, drinkers love Angostura bitters not as an ingredient but as a shot.
According to a report by Punch, visitors to Washington Island in Wisconsin have been drinking Angostura bitters shots since the Prohibition days.
"Nelsen’s Hall and Bitters Club on Washington Island, located on Wisconsin’s side of Lake Michigan, has been pouring Angostura shots by the ounce since 1920. As with so many odd drinking traditions, the practice began as a means of circumventing Prohibition. The bar’s owner, Tom Nelsen, an immigrant from Denmark, brought Angostura to the island and got away with serving the shots as tonics for stomach issues. The concept wasn’t so farfetched, in that the bitters were originally concocted as a health aid by Johann Siegert in Venezuela in 1830. (Since 1845, they’ve been made in Trinidad.)"
Writer Megan Krigbaum said the bar often uses as many as five or six 16-ounce bottles of Angostura in a day, selling shots at US$4.50 apiece.
Anyone who does a shot gets their name in a 50-year-old ledger and receives a membership card to the Bitters Club.
The shot is said to settle stomachs and cure hiccups.
"While plenty of other bitters companies have tried to get in the game at Nelsen’s (Ditello says she’s amassed 20-odd samples of other brands in her office over the years), the restaurant, as tribute to its founder, has only ever served Angostura. And its predilection for shots from those paper-wrapped bottles has spread around the state," Krigbaum said.
The bar also serves cocktails such as a 'Trinidad Sour' and 'Angostura Sour', and some bars even offer Angostura shots on tap.
The 'Best Intentions' bar in Chicago serves Angostura bitters on tap. The 90-proof alcohol is ordered in 20-gallon drops and five-gallon drums.