Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Difford's Guide
Discerning Drinkers (29 ratings)

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alc./vol: 44.7%

Proof: 89.4°

Vintage: Non-vintage

Aged: No age statement

Product of: Product of Trinidad and Tobago Trinidad and Tobago

The most famous and most used brand of herbal bitters in the world. First created in 1824 by Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, a German doctor, to treat stomach disorders and indigestion a military hospital in the town of Angostura, Venezuela.

Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert (1796-1870) was a German doctor who sought adventure and, it would seem, liked a battle. He tended troops in the Napoleonic Wars, including the Battle of Waterloo, and during the independence wars in Venezuela. It was here he choose to settle after being appointed Surgeon-General of a military hospital in the town of Angostura.

Siegert's fellow settlers suffered chronic stomach complaints, partly due to the forced change in diet. So in 1820 the good doctor began experimenting with gentian root and other aromatic herbs. In 1824 he created the now famous bitters, which he originally called Amargo Aromatico and used to treat stomach disorders and indigestion.

Siegert soon changed the name of his creation to Angostura, after the town where he was working (not, as is often presumed, after Angostura bark, which is not an ingredient). The town (now called Ciudad Bolivar) was in turn named after the native word for narrow, a reference to the nearby Orinoco River, which was reduced to a trickle in summer months. When the doctor died in 1870, production of the bitters was taken over by his sons who, in 1875, due to unrest in Venezuela, moved to Trinidad.

The truth behind Angostura's quirky packaging stems from the laid-back Caribbean attitude. One day a new batch of labels were ordered and a simple mistake led to them being too big for the bottles. The error was spotted in time but everyone thought somebody else would deal with the problem. No one did, so when the crunch came they simply stuck the labels on the bottles intending to fix the next batch. No one ever quite got round to correcting the mistake and the oversized label became a trademark of the brand.

Review and Tasting

Sampled on 17/03/2024


Clear, reddy-brown with brick red tones. (Turns brick-red with water.)


Pungent, spiced and herbal aromas with paprika, orange zest, cardamom, clove and cinnamon most obvious.


Full-bodied flavour explosion with cardamom flavoured Lebanese coffee, dried fruit particularly orange zest, clove, cinnamon, jasmine and mint. Even diluted there is a cracked black pepper spice but Angostura is not at all 'hot'.


Long cardamom, clove, cinnamon and bitter orange zest finish.


Other brands of aromatic bitters are available, but this is the original, and it remains a staple for bars around the world.

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Buy direct from

Difford's Guide
In stock
$2.69 USD
Shipping costs calculated at checkout.

Update information/image

More about Angostura Aromatic Bitters

Produced by: Angostura Ltd
Owned by: Angostura Holdings Limited

Angostura Ltd

Status: Operational
Established: 1947
Owner: Gruppo Campari
Capacity: Not supplied
Visitor Policy: Not generally accessible
Tel: +1 868 623 1841
Website: Angostura Ltd
Address: Corner Eastern Main Road & Trinity Avenue, Laventille, Port of Spain, Trinidad
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