Angostura bitters

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Angostura Bitters

Often simply referred to as angostura, is a concentrated bitters for food and beverages made of herbs and spices.

The recipe was developed in 1824 by German Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, a Surgeon General in Simon Bolivar's army in Venezuela. He was based in Ciudad Bolívar which was then known as Angostura.

Today, Angostura bitters are produced by various vendors using the bark of the angostura tree, possibly merely to make it legal to put the word "angostura" on the label, which is a registered trademark of House of Angostura.

Manufacturers claim that the exact formula is still top secret, with five people knowing the exact recipe. Some also claim that they do not use any Angostura in their bitters, but these claims are most likely marketing techniques and far from the truth.

As Angostura bitters are extremely concentrated, they are not normally drunk purely, but used to flavour drinks and food; usually only a few drops or splashes are used.

Angostura bitters are a key ingredient in many cocktails. Originally used to mask the flavour of quinine in tonic water along with gin, the mix stuck in the form of a Pink Gin, and is also used in many other alcoholic cocktails such as "Long Vodka", consisting of vodka, Angostura bitter, and lemonade, and the Manhattan, made with whiskey and sweet (Italian) vermouth. In Pisco sour a few drops are sprinkled on top, mostly for decorative purposes. It is also the key ingredient in a Rum Cannonball.

Angostura bitters are renowned for having restorative properties. Across many Caribbean nations, they are regarded as a necessary addition to any household medicine storage for use as a cure-all, from headaches and stomach aches to diarrhea or the flu.