Manhattan Cocktail Classic: Angostura Bitters

19 May

I had the pleasure of attending The Manhattan Cocktail Classic, presented by Saveur yesterday.  I came across Angostura Bitters.  Angostura is the original and most well recognized bitters brand in the world, and is essential in every home bar.  Part of what makes Angostura so recognizable is the label which has a great story.  Angostura BittersAngostura Bitters were first made in 1824 by Doctor Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, the Surgeon General in Simon Bolivar’s army in Venezuela.  Originally used to treat soldiers’ upset stomachs, and hiccups (still works for this) bitters are made through a process of distillation of secret ingredients primarily  gentian, a bitter herb.  Angostura Bitters have 44% alcohol.Bitters CocktailAs my bartender was shaking me a cocktail, I learned the story of the label.  At some point in history Dr. Siegert who ran the distillery in Angostura, Venezuela, (now Ciudad Bolívar) with his brother, ordered the proper sized bottle, while his brother ordered an oversized label.  They had ordered so many at the time, they stuck with it.  Now, the iconic label and it’s factory are based in Trinidad and Tobago and account for the largest export in Trinidad other than oil.

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