In a clear sign that the Angostura shortage which rocked the cocktail world is over, Jamie Boudreau used the popular brand of bitters to stain the bar and tables at his soon-to-open Canon.
The recent shortage, termed a "crisis of immense proportions" by the Washington Post's spirits columnist, was rooted in a 2009 fight between the venerable Trinidad producer and its bottle supplier. The lack of bottles coincided with a surge of interest in classic cocktails, forcing bartenders to hoard Angostura. While the company restarted production in early 2010 with bottles manufactured in China, it took months for distribution patterns to return to normal.
Now Angostura is so easy to obtain that Boudreau used three cases of oversized bitters bottles to decorate his mahogany-and-birch bar in Capitol Hill.
Angostura's staining properties are well-known--the company's website advertises the "fun fact" that Angostura left to dry on cloth or wood is impossible to remove--but Boudreau is the first barkeep to paint a public bar with the stuff. "This will be the first bar in the world (according to the Angostura rep) that will be stained with Ango," Boudreau e-mails.
Boudreau mixed the bitters with another stain for a "darker color with the red hues that angostura offers."
"I reduced the Angostura first as wood isn't a big fan of volumes of water and alcohol hitting its bare body (unlike myself) so I cooked off lots of the water and alcohol," he writes.
The 48-seat Canon will be staffed by Boudreau and Rob Roy's Nathan Weber, formerly of Tavern Law. According to a press release issued yesterday, the cocktail menu will be "one of the world's largest," with more than 100 listed beverages. Food duties will fall to Melinda Bradley, a French Culinary Institute grad who's worked at Aquavit and Bar Boulud.