Every South African should have a bottle of brandy in the cupboard – whether it’s leftovers from Festive Season trifle making or a weekend drink of choice. And who doesn’t have a slab of chocolate or two stashed away for lockdown, right?

What should also feature in everyone’s pantry is a bottle of Angostura aromatic bitters – the can’t-miss bottle featuring an over-sized label and distinct yellow cap that is THE essential ingredient for that extra depth of flavour both behind the bar and in the kitchen. From cocktails to savoury dishes and desserts, just a few dashes will highlight existing flavours and introduce new ones.

Well, this Easter you can treat yourself to a tasty bittered brandy cocktail paired with deliciously bittered chocolate desserts using what’s in your food store.

When it comes to brandy, its sweet notes and nutty flavours are ideal for bringing out the best in a good quality chocolate and the spirits strength and lack of acidity means it pairs well with rich chocolatey desserts like Belgian chocolate, ice cream and chocolate sauce, chocolate mousse, chocolate brownies and chocolate chip cookies.

Christelle Reade-Jahn, Director of the SA Brandy Foundation had some interesting insights to share: ‘South African brandy is made from the highest quality base wine, usually Colombard or Chenin Blanc. Most aromas in our brandies are the result of maturation in oak barrels; so, the consumer may pick up fruity notes of peach and apricot, the sweet tastes of chocolate and caramel, nutty flavours or spices like clove and nutmeg’.

Brandy and chocolate go well together because of the natural fruity aromas within the base wine used to distill brandy. The different fruity or spicy aromas pair incredibly well with various chocolate. As a general rule, a younger lighter brandy pairs well with white chocolate, medium aged 10–12 year old brandies pair well with citrus or fruit infused milk chocolate, and older brandies of 15–20 years old pair well with dark chocolate.

Vanessa Nel, Marketing Manager for Angostura aromatic bitters in South Africa says, ‘Adding a drop or two of bitters to brandy based cocktails emphasises the underlying notes of the brandy and when it comes to chocolate, adds another layer of richness to the dessert. These are our top three brandy cocktails to pair with something-chocolate’.


Brandy & Tonic


  • 30ml brandy
  • Fever-Tree Indian or Refreshingly Light tonic water
  • 2–3 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Twist of orange peel 
  • Ice


Pour the brandy over ice. Add a dash of bitters and top off with a splash of the tonic water to taste. Serve with a twist of orange peel.

Brandy Old Fashioned 


  • 60ml brandy
  • Lemon-lime soda
  • 1 sugar cube or 7.5ml shot demerara syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Twist of orange peel 
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Ice      


Place the sugar cube or demerara syrup at the bottom of a glass and add bitters, orange peel and cherries. Add brandy and muddle all together. Add a single large piece of ice and top with lemon-lime soda to taste. 

Champagne Brandy Cocktail


  • 30ml brandy
  • 1 sugar cube
  • 2 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
  • Champagne or MCC


Place sugar cube in flute glass and dash bitters onto cube. Let bitters soak into cube, then add brandy and top off with bubbly.


Angostura Deep Chocolate Sauce


  •  ¼ cup milk
  • 1 cup sweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons Angostura aromatic bitters


Combine milk, bitters and brandy in a measuring jug or microwaveable bowl. Microwave until very warm. Gradually add sweetened cocoa powder, whisking after each addition until smooth. Drizzle in additional milk if needed. Pour over your favourite ice-cream flavour when chilled.

Angostura Bitters Mousse


  • 2 egg yolks
  • ½ tablespoon Angostura aromatic bitters
  • 250ml cream
  • 150g chocolate


Whisk 2 egg yolks and bitters together and set aside. Whisk cream until thick peaks form and place in the fridge. Melt 150g white or milk chocolate. Fold the egg yolk mixture into the melted chocolate and then fold in the cream. Do this one the day before as it will need to be refrigerated overnight.

Bittered Chocolate Brownies


  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 100g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 250g castor sugar
  • 100g flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 30g cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 400g glazed cherries
  • 1 tablespoon Angostura aromatic bitters


Soak the cherries in bitters for two hours and set aside. Melt the chocolate and butter together and let cool. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy. Fold the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Then sift in flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Fold this into mixture. Spoon in soaked cherries and a little of the juice from the cherries. Bake for 25–30 minutes at 180ºC. Let brownie cool completely before turning out.

For more bittered food and drink recipes visit www.angosturabitters.com.