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Bitters!

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then banned by the government due to one ingredient.....

 

I'm not aware of Abbott's being banned, just that they went out of business. You may be speaking of Tonka bean, but other than one(?) gas chromatography experiment, which identified it in one vintage sample (which I'm not sure was made before, during or after prohibition - there are some definite differences between the three - actually four, periods of Abbott's), and there is no known original recipe or absolute proof that original Abbott's contained Tonka bean.

An analogy, the TTB had detected calamus in three different absinthes, and they did not contain it.

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You mean sometimes they get it wrong, Peter? Say it ain't so! For shame!

 

And since you mentioned it, I prefer a little calamus. Terrible as it is.

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Right , I just reread the article, and the author is only speculating that the ban on tonka had an affect.

 

From Class Magazine

 

The bitters market was left with Abbott's, Angostura, Peychaud's and Fee Brothers - three of those you probably stock on your bar today, with Abbott's having become victim to our old friends, The Food and Drug Administration, in 1954. It imposed a ban on tonka beans in food and drink due to their coumarin content - coumarin is a naturally occurring chemical that can lead to intestinal bleeding and liver damage. It was particularly damaging in rats, though less so in humans, who can metabolize it much better, but hey, Uncle Sam knew best.

 

Unfortunately for Abbott's, tonka beans provided the key flavour to its bitters, tasting something like a blend of vanilla, almonds and cloves. We have heard anecdotal evidence that Abbott's re-formulated the brand, perhaps using vanilla. That's merely speculation: what is certainly true is that it was around this time that Abbott's disappeared for good. Perhaps the new recipe meant they just weren't as good as they used to be, or more likely the whole category was in decline as post-war America's palate sweetened and embraced the tropical flavours of Tiki drinks - not really the natural home of a dash of bitters.

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Right , I just reread the article, and the author is only speculating that the ban on tonka had an affect.

 

From Class Magazine

 

Unfortunately for Abbott's, tonka beans provided the key flavour to its bitters, tasting something like a blend of vanilla, almonds and cloves.

 

We have heard anecdotal evidence that Abbott's re-formulated the brand, perhaps using vanilla.

 

My thought is the other way around as a blend of vanilla, almonds and cloves also taste and smell like themselves blended together, as are there other components of the flavor profile of Abbott's.

 

I quizzed Philip Duff at Tales this year as he did some fantastic research on vanilla for a seminar. He believes no producer would use Tonka bean, if they had access to vanilla, and were willing to pay the price difference, as Tonka is most often used as a cheap alternative to real vanilla.

 

 

We love spekulatatizin' 'round here, just as for historic absinthe, that's all we can really do...

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From Class Magazine
post-war America's palate sweetened and embraced the tropical flavours of Tiki drinks - not really the natural home of a dash of bitters.

 

 

That would be news to Donn Beach.

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