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Angostura bitters (English pronunciation: //) is a concentrated bitters, or botanically infused alcoholic mixture, made of water, 44.7% ethanol, gentian, herbs and spices, by House of Angostura in Trinidad and Tobago. It is typically used for flavouring beverages or (less often) food. The bitters were first produced in the town of Angostura (Ciudad Bolívar, Venezuela) (hence the name), but do not contain angostura bark. The bottle is easily recognisable by its distinctive oversized label.
The recipe was developed as a tonic by a German, Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert (1796–1870), surgeon general in Simón Bolívar's army in Venezuela. Siegert 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. Angostura won a medal at the Weltausstellung 1873 Wien. The medal is still depicted on the oversized label, along with reverse which shows Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria in profile.
The exact formula is a closely guarded secret, with only five people knowing the whole recipe.
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