Angostura bitters. You’ve definitely seen it: that tiny little bottle with the big white label and the bright yellow cap. It’s an indispensable bar fixture almost as common as ice cubes.
The inventor of this tiny tincture is a man named Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert. J.G.B. was a medic in the Prussian army, and fought against Napoleon (no big deal). He then went on to become Surgeon General for Simón Bolívar, and was stationed in a little town in Venezuela called Angostura.
Siegert became fascinated with the herbs and plants in the area. He experimented with different blends and mixtures to create a bitter medicine to boost the health of the troops. When Bolívar finally moved on to fight across Latin America, Siegert stuck around Angostura and kept working on his recipe.
It was years later, when his sons started helping him on the business side of things, that everything changed. They moved operations to Trinidad, sold cases of their bitters to international royalty, and hired a sugar technologist – yes, you read that correctly.
To this day, The House of Angostura bottles up bitters for the world to enjoy, using the same recipe Siegert came up with back in 1824. A recipe shrouded in mystique.
Angostura Bitters is known as the salt and pepper for bartenders. It is a prime ingredient when creating cocktails.