Angostura bitters are a completely vegan alcohol concoction most well known for their use (a few drops at a time) in cocktails. At that rate, one bottle will last you a lifetime so here are some other ways you can use this bitter and sour condiment to enhance your cooking and baking.

The origins of this herbal concoction is medicinal, and the Angostura variety was developed by a German physician in 1824. As they are known to work as a digestive aid, some people regularly drink soda water with a few drops for this purpose.

Many of the comfort foods we turn to during cold weather can benefit from the richness of flavour afford by a generous splash of aromatic bitters; try it in a smoky adobo bean stew, or add it to the lentil mixture of your next vegetarian shepherd’s pie. Don’t shy away from using it in sweet things too – the slight bitter hint can undercut the sweetness of apple pie, crumble and other fruit-based desserts.

If you’re up for it; try adding it to your next soup or stew to round out the flavour; start with a few dashes and taste as you go until you’re happy with the result. Or simply use it to garnish the top of a rich tomato or pumpkin soup, along with a drizzle of coconut cream and chopped coriander. The result is attractive, and delicious.

This originally appeared in Vegetarian Living NZ, which is NZ Vegetarian Society’s seasonal magazine.