In the same way that fashion has its LBD (Little Black Dress), drinking as it’s LLB (Lemon Lime & Bitters). A classic, a constant and most definitely an Australian Bar favourite.
And especially, in this age of non-alcoholic and low- alcoholic beverages, the LLB has come into its own. It’s a unique combination of brewed aromatic spices and select herbs blended with Lemon and Lime juices to create a tasty drink that’s both refreshing and invigorating.
But let’s face it, this perennial favourite has been around for a while. And while we won’t go as far as to say that the LLB is your grandmother’s non-alcoholic option, it is a drink that would be interesting to re-envisioned.
But how do redesign a classic? That’s the question that Angostura asked and as usual, some of Australia’s most talented bartenders answered the call.
Three of the best (Ellery Lowe, Bobby Carey & Dean Buchanan) joined Angostura’s own rep, Daniel Gregory in a celebration of all that the LLB is and what, with a little imagination, the drink really could be.
As Gregory told Australian Bartender, the trend for non-alcoholic is not going away and that what is needed is more drinks of this style that truly push the boundaries. People “… want something with a bit more complexity so they can be part of the group; they don’t mind paying a bit extra to get something a little more interesting. People aren’t pressured as much into drinking as they used to be.”
Join us to explore what the boys created and try a few in your home bar. After all, a good host has all the alcohol their friends could want, a great host also provides non-alcoholic versions.
Ellery Low (from Maker, Brisbane)
- 5 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
- 10ml orgeat
- top with (blood) orange soda
- Garnish with (Blood) Orange wedge and fresh lime
Build in a highball glass.
“It’s simple,” says Low of his drink. “The way I thought about it was I chose my two favourite tiki drinks — a Trinidad Sour, with heaps of Angostura aromatic bitters in that — and the Jungle Bird. It’s refreshing, similar to a Lemon Lime & Bitters, just a bit fruitier — made for drinking on a hot summer’s day.”
Bobby Carey (from Bentley Restaurant, Sydney)
- 7 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
- 25ml 4-citrus cordial*
- Top with soda water
In a chilled highball glass, add 4 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters, 25ml 4-citrus cordial, then add ice to glass. Add 3 dashes of bitters over the ice, top with soda water. Garnish with finger lime shells, no straw.
*For the 4-citrus cordial recipe:
All juiced lemon, lime and orange husks are collected daily from the bar, along with finger lime shells from the kitchen. Fruit is weighed and an amount of sugar equal to 2/3 of the fruit’s weight is combined all together in a glass jar. This is left to mix together for 72 hours, agitated daily. After 72 hours the liquid is drained from the jar, strained through a coffee filter and bottled. This will keep for up to 10 days in a fridge.
“I wanted to stay as true as possible to the original Lemon Lime & Bitters, the iconic drink that’s been across Australia for many generations,” says Carey. “It’s replicable, all about sustainability and taking a lead from Trash Tiki I suppose; it’s something I’ve been doing myself at work. You can make it at home as well, it’s quite replicable.”
Dean Buchanan (from Long Chim, Perth
- 1 barspoon Angostura aromatic bitters (clarified)
- 90ml petrichor rain
- 10ml stone and liquid
- 20ml natural citrus soda
Add ingredients to a glass either on good block ice or up, garnish with a Geraldton wax sprig sprayed with Angostura aromatic bitters paste.
“Have you ever wondered what that smell is when it starts to rain? Have you ever realised how good it smells?” says Buchanan. “This peculiar and characteristic odour is called petrichor and this reinvention on the famous angostura LLB takes inspiration from that distinct aroma which is an oil created by plants and stones and released into the air when it rains.
“Inside the earthy elements of Geraldton wax, patchouli and kaolin clay I have combined these with geosmin a metabolic by-product of bacteria omitted by wet soil.
“Angostura aromatic bitters have been clarified in a centrifuge at 14,000 rpm span twice for 4 mins; with the leftover ‘paste’ I made a spray and sprayed some Geraldton wax buds with Angostura aromatic bitters spray paint which is all edible.
“The natural lemon soda is a first fermentation soda made with all the leftover citrus husks from juicing. This is ready in roughly two to three days but I never run out.”
Daniel Gregory (from House of Angostura)
- 5 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters
- 1/2 lime, cut into quarters
- 2-3 bar spoons panela sugar
- 60ml ruby grapefruit juice
- 20ml beetroot juice
- 75ml soda
Add lime and panela sugar to a Hi-Ball glass and muddle till sugar is dissolved. Add all the other ingredients, fill with ice and give a lite swizzle to mix all the ingredients together. Garnish with a paper or metal straw, grapefruit wedge and a sprig of chervil.
“I just wanted to use something a little vegetal to bring out the heavier ingredients in Angostura aromatic bitters,” says Gregory, “so a little beetroot for that, grapefruit for that slight bitterness from the oils, but it’s something that’s refreshing and light with some complexity on the palate.
“It’s something you could easily reproduce at home, using beetroot juice from the can, or you could make a stock;” he continued, “or you could go all out and make a beetroot and grapefruit soda if you wanted to with a yeast fermentation. If you want to do fancy, you can, if you want to do easy, you can as well.”