Machine Gun Manhattan — Angostura Aromatic Bitters

2

December 11, 2012 by Bourbon Empire

Would you kill your spouse because she made you a mediocre cocktail? That’s the message from some of these old Angostura bitters advertisements from over 50 years ago.¬†Angostura bitters ran some of the funniest ads in the late 1940s and early 1950s, and also some of the worst. The best were clever and light, the worst were misogynistic and bizarre. One in particular, which ran in The New Yorker, features a man about to shoot his wife because she forgot to put enough bitters in his old-fashioned.

From the December 24, 1949 issue of The New Yorker

From the December 24, 1949 issue of The New Yorker — a perfect message for Christmas Eve.

The product itself was a staple ingredient in cocktails from that era and is still a workhorse in today’s bars. Up until a few years ago when zillions of new varieties of bitters became available for sale (from rhubarb bitters to celery bitters to Mexican chocolate bitters), Angostura was one of the very few brands you could buy. I came across a couple of old Angostura ads that grabbed my interested and I dug the rest of these up. Most of them came from old issues of The New Yorker or Ivy League campus magazines.

Some of the ads are disturbing, but others are pretty clever or just plain goofy. Take this one, where an irate customer pulls a machine gun on his Manhattan because it doesn’t contain enough bitters.

angostura machine gun

Or these.

From the February 18, 1950 issue of The New Yorker

From the February 18, 1950 issue of The New Yorker

angostura desert oasis

From the November 17, 1951 issue of The New  Yorker

From the November 17, 1951 issue of The New Yorker

From the May 3, 1952 issue of The New Yorker
From the May 3, 1952 issue of The New Yorker

From the April 16, 1953 issue of The New Yorker.

From the April 16, 1953 issue of The New Yorker.

But then there are these advertisements. Is that guy actually stuffing his wife down a garbage disposal because she screwed up his evening cocktail? Unfortunately, I think he is.

angostura 1950 garbage disposal

angostura 1950 now will you remember

From the December 20, 1952 issue of The New Yorker

From the December 20, 1952 issue of The New Yorker

From the April 29, 1950 issue of The New Yorker

From the April 29, 1950 issue of The New Yorker

From the December 17, 1949 issue of The New Yorker

From the December 17, 1949 issue of The New Yorker

2 thoughts on “Machine Gun Manhattan — Angostura Aromatic Bitters

  1. oldvogue says:

    These are absolute gold. Love a bit of unPC, it’s so refreshing.

  2. putneyfarm says:

    Very “incorrect” but fun, nonetheless. It does seem to say how much more mainstream cocktails were back then…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 37 other followers

%d bloggers like this: