(Family Features) Flavorful foods and cold drinks are the focal points of just about any summer gathering. Create a party atmosphere that can stand out by adding a bit of island infusion to both bites and beverages so your warm-weather soiree can soar to new heights.
To help add that island spark, an ingredient like bitters provides a potent flavor made from botanicals like aromatic herbs, bark, roots and fruit. While known for their ability to balance countless cocktails, it may come as a surprise that bitters are regarded by some chefs as a pantry staple, adding real depth of flavor to a variety of dishes. Bitters can be added to classic and contemporary cocktails and a range of cuisines to create taste-tempting creations.
Much like vanilla extract, when cooked, the alcohol in bitters evaporates, so bitters-infused recipes can be enjoyed by the whole family at your next backyard barbecue or patio party.
Center your spread around a summer favorite like Pulled-Pork Sliders with Bitters, a tangy Caribbean twist on a classic dish featuring a spicy chili rub. Coupled with a vinegar-based sauce dashed with Angostura aromatic bitters, an unmistakable culinary and cocktail essential made with the same secret recipe since 1824, the flavorful sliders make for a crowd-pleasing main course.
Add to the island vibe with a unique take on a tried-and-true sweet treat like cake. Orange Butter Sponge Cake enhances every party's dessert course with the sweet and tangy combination of citrus and bitters.
These tasty foods paired with hot temperatures call for cooling off with inventive bitters-forward drink recipes like the Queen's Park Swizzle, Angostura's signature Trinidadian cocktail, and a summertime go-to, the Traditional Mojito. These drinks balance the art of the swizzle with the tastes of tiki to provide guests with refreshing beverage options.
Whether you're an aspiring home chef, an amateur bartender or anything in between, you can elevate summer entertaining with bitters to complement an array of ingredients for exceptional entertaining all summer long.
Find more summertime food and drink recipes to savor at AngosturaBitters.com.
Pulled-Pork Sliders with Bitters
Servings: approximately 14 small sandwiches
- 3-3 1/2 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
- 1 tablespoon cooking oil
- 1 can (15 ounces) unseasoned tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons Nature's Intent apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Angostura aromatic bitters
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 3 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons cornstarch (optional)
- 14 small slider buns
- To make Chili Rub: Stir together aromatic bitters, chili powder and salt; let stand 10 minutes.
- Cut pork shoulder across grain into 1 1/2-2-inch thick slices; trim excess fat. If needed, cut into chunks to remove some fat.
- Rub meat with chili mixture. In 8-quart pot or 9-10-inch wide, high-sided saute pan with lid, heat oil. Add meat and brown on both sides, about 15 minutes total. Remove meat and place on plate; keep warm.
- To make Bitters Sauce: Combine tomato sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, aromatic bitters, chili powder and garlic cloves; stir well. Pour into hot, empty pan. Simmer 5 minutes, stirring and scraping bottom of pan.
- Return meat to pan; spoon sauce over meat. Cover and cook 1 hour and 15 minutes on low, rearranging meat halfway through cooking. Transfer meat to plate; cover with foil to keep warm.
- To thicken sauce, if desired: Let sauce cool in pan 5 minutes then whisk in cornstarch. Bring to boil; continue to cook and whisk until slightly thickened.
- To serve: Pull meat apart with two forks or fingers. Serve warm on buns, drizzled with sauce.
Queen's Park Swizzle
Makes: 1 cocktail
- 12-14 mint leaves
- 1 ounce fresh lime juice
- 1 ounce Demerara simple syrup
- crushed ice
- 2 ounces Caribbean rum
- 6-8 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
- 1 mint sprig, for garnish
- In highball glass, muddle mint leaves in lime juice and simple syrup, then fill glass with dry, crushed ice.
- Pour rum over crushed ice and swizzle well until glass is ice cold and frosted.
- Pack glass with more crushed ice and top with aromatic bitters. Garnish with mint sprig.
Makes: 1 cocktail
- 1 cube brown sugar
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- 12-15 mint leaves
- 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
- 2 ounces white rum
- 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
- crushed ice
- 1 bottle club soda
- 1 mint sprig, for garnish
- In Collins glass, muddle brown sugar cube and simple syrup, then add mint and lightly press to extract flavor. Add lime juice, rum and aromatic bitters.
- Fill glass with crushed ice and swizzle.
- Repack with crushed ice and top with club soda. Garnish with mint sprig.
Orange Butter Sponge Cake
- 8 ounces butter, plus additional for buttering pan
- 2 cups cake flour, plus additional for flouring pan
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon Angostura orange bitters
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- powdered or extra-fine sugar, for dusting
- Heat oven to 350° F.
- Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Sift flour three times and add baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- With electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and creamy, about 10 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add vanilla and orange bitters.
- Divide flour mixture into four portions. Set electric mixer on medium low and add flour alternately with orange juice, starting and ending with flour. Mix just until incorporated after each addition.
- Divide batter evenly between cake pans and bake 35-40 minutes, or until cake pulls away from sides of pans. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes in cake pans before turning out.
Photo courtesy of Getty Images (Pulled-Pork Sliders with Bitters, Orange Butter Sponge Cake)
(Family Features) When the clock ticks down toward game day and you’re putting together a snacking plan of attack, turn to recipes like these that you and your guests can savor for all four quarters of action.
With different choices to draft from, there’s no need for a superstar main course at the center of the meal. Instead, rely on options like customizable brats and pulled pork sandwiches, baked chicken wings and game-day dips for winners all around.
Find more recipes for hosting game day at Culinary.net.
Top Your Tailgate
Take your tailgate or home viewing party to the next level by setting up a topping station with a variety of both traditional and unexpected condiments and garnishes to let your fellow fans customize their grilled fare. Include options such as:
- Ketchup and mustard (with flavor variations for added zing)
- Sauerkraut or cole slaw
- Chopped fresh and grilled onions
- Chili (homemade or from a can)
- Pickle spears and relish
- Barbecue sauce
- Assorted shredded and crumbled cheeses
- A variety of peppers
A Game-Day Winner
Game time is no time to mess around when it comes to fast, savory snacks. Crispy and light, tangy and bold, these wings have you covered for all your game-day needs. These spicy hot wings pair perfectly with Litehouse Chunky Blue Cheese or Homestyle Ranch Dressing and may result in another game day rivalry: blue cheese vs. ranch. Whether you’re hosting the game-day party or bringing a dish to a friend’s bash, these wings can make mouths water from the opening kickoff to the final whistle. Find more game-day recipes at litehousefoods.com.
Crispy Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings
Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- 4 pounds chicken wings
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- nonstick cooking spray
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup hot sauce
- 1/2 cup Litehouse Chunky Blue Cheese or Homestyle Ranch dressing
- 1/3 cup Litehouse Blue Cheese Crumbles
- Lay wings on rack on rimmed baking tray and let dry in refrigerator overnight, or pat dry with paper towels.
- Heat oven to 250° F. Put one oven shelf in lower quarter of oven and one in top quarter.
- Place wings in large re-sealable bag. Add baking powder and salt. Shake bag to coat wings evenly.
- Line tray with foil. Spray rack on baking tray with nonstick spray. Place wings skin side up on rack. Bake on lower shelf 30 minutes.
- Move tray to higher shelf and turn oven up to 425° F. Bake 40-50 minutes, rotating tray halfway through. Wings are done when they are dark, golden brown and skin is crispy.
- While wings bake, whisk together butter and hot sauce; keep warm.
- Remove wings from oven and toss with hot sauce; sprinkle immediately with blue cheese crumbles. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing, carrots and celery sticks.
Dip into Game Day
Game day is about huddling up with friends and family, and feeling good about the food you share. Kick off the big game with Sabra, the official dip of the NFL, and help the crowd go wild when you put a twist on traditional hummus by topping it with bruschetta. Available in more than a dozen flavors, Sabra Hummus is made with fresh chickpeas, a touch of garlic and smooth tahini, making it a wholesome and delicious accompaniment for your favorite game-day chips, crackers and veggies. Find more big-game recipes at sabra.com.
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 2 cups multi-colored cherry tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional (optional)
- salt, to taste
- container Sabra Classic Hummus (10 ounces)
- To make bruschetta: Cut cherry tomatoes into quarters or eighths, if large. Place in small mixing bowl. Stir in garlic, basil and olive oil, and season with salt, to taste.
- Scoop hummus out of container and swirl onto serving plate. Top with bruschetta and drizzle with touch of olive oil, if desired. Serve with fresh vegetables or pita chips.
A Heaping Handheld
Snack like a champion during the big game with recipes that please palates without overfilling like these Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches. Since guests can pile their sandwiches as high as they like with sweet pork and optional toppings, there’s no need to worry about serving sizes. Find more honey-infused recipes for tasty meal solutions at honey.com.
Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Honey Barbecue Sauce
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bone-in pork shoulder roast (4 pounds)
- 2 cups hickory chips
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
- 1 1/2 cups honey
- 1 cup ketchup
- 8-10 rolls
- chopped jalapeno peppers (optional)
- chopped onion (optional)
- chopped pickles (optional)
- To make Pork Rub: Stir together sugar, chili powder, paprika, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cumin, pepper and cayenne pepper.
- Massage Pork Rub over surface of pork and let stand 30 minutes.
- Soak hickory chips in water; drain well. Wrap chips in foil; punch holes in foil and place on top of gas grill set on high. When chips begin to smoke, place pork on grill and cook until well browned on all sides with lid closed, about 30-45 minutes.
- Heat oven to 300° F.
- Remove pork from grill and place in turkey-size oven bag set in large, shallow baking dish. Add water and seal well; pierce bag several times with small knife. Cook 3-3 1/2 hours, or until meat is tender and pork bone can be removed easily. Remove from oven. Remove bone and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Shred meat into small pieces, removing fat. Add juices from cooking bag, skimming off excess fat.
- In separate saucepan, stir together barbecue sauce, honey and ketchup, cooking until hot and honey has dissolved. Stir most of sauce into shredded pork and mix well.
- Serve on rolls and drizzle with remaining sauce. Top with jalapenos, onions and pickles, if desired.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Brats and Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches)