For those who know how to read a cocktail menu but have never had a Trinidad Sour, the cocktail’s description clearly sticks out as odd, if not straight up frightening. It’s certainly one of the most surprising and memorable cocktails you’re likely to have at any bar. Bartender Giuseppe Gonzalez created this cocktail in 2009 for the Angostura cocktail competition. It follows in a line of Angostura cocktails that starts with the Trinidad Especial (crafted by Valentino Bolognese and the likely predecessor of the Trinidad Sour, winner of the 2008 Angostura competition) and goes back to Angostura Fizz (found and catalogued by Charles Baker, Jr., in his 1939 book).
The shock of the Sour is that its base spirit is Angostura itself—1.5oz of it, actually—which dominates your experience at every step. The spice of the bitter wafts off the top of the cocktail, the texture is a fine malty tannin, the palate aggressively evolves through each of the ingredients in the bitter as well as the orgeat, the lemon, and the rye whiskey that are shaken in the cocktail. The narrow battle between bitter, acid, sweet, and savory is riveting and charming, and bound to surprise any drinker, veteran or ingenue.