A very popular, highly concentrated food and beverage additive that is derived from a secret formula of blended herbs and spices. Angostura aromatic bitters adds its own subtle and unique flavouring, turning every beverage or meal into an unexpected experience to be savoured without masking the personality and taste of other ingredients. It is used in Alcoholic and Non alcoholic mixed drinks, cocktails, punches, fruit juices, ice cream, savoury recipes, cakes and desserts. Angostura aromatic bitters is the key ingredient in the wonderfully refreshing and iconic Lemon Lime and Bitters and the Gin Sling cocktail drinks.
The recipe was developed as a tonic by German Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert (died 1870), a Surgeon General in Simon Bolivar's army in Venezuela, who began to sell it in 1824 and established a distillery for the purpose in 1830. Siegert was based in the town of Angostura, now Ciudad Bolívar, and used locally available ingredients, perhaps aided by botanical knowledge of the local Amerindians. The product was sold abroad from 1853 and in 1875 the plant was moved from Ciudad Bolivar to Port of Spain, Trinidad, where it remains. The exact formula is a closely guarded secret, with only five people knowing the whole recipe. Angostura bitters are a key ingredient in many cocktails. Originally used to help with upset stomachs of the soldiers in the Simon Bolivar army, it later became popular in soda water and was usually served 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 bitters, and lemonade. Bitters can also be used in soft drinks; a common non-alcoholic drink served in Australian and New Zealand pubs is lemon, lime and bitters.