Angostura bitters, often simply referred to as angostura, is a concentrated bitters for food and beverages made of herbs and spices by House of Angostura in the country of Trinidad and Tobago. The distinctive bottle is easily recognisable due to its oversized label.
The recipe was developed as a tonic by German Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, a Surgeon General in Simon Bolivar‘s army in Venezuela, who began to sell it in 1824. Siegert was based in Ciudad Bolívar which was then known as Angostura, and used locally available ingredients. Perhaps he drew on the botanical knowledge of the local Amerindians, although the single ingredient named on the label is gentian. The exact formula is a closely guarded secret, with only five people knowing the whole recipe.
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 dashes are used.
Angostura bitters are a key ingredient in many cocktails. Originally used to mask the flavour ofquinine 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 bitters, and lemonade; and the Manhattan, made with whiskey and sweet (Italian) vermouth. In a Pisco Sour a few drops are sprinkled on top of the foam, both for aroma and decoration. Bitters can also be used in soft drinks – a common non-alcoholic drink served in Australian pubs is lemon, lime and bitters. An approximation ofginger ale (as a drink mixer) can be made by filling a glass, almost to the top, with lemon-lime soda, adding a splash or two of cola, and then adding a couple dashes of Angostura bitters.
Angostura bitters are alleged to have restorative properties. It was reported to be a remedy for hiccups, and also can be used as a cure for an upset stomach.  Across many Caribbean nations, they are regarded as a necessary addition to any household medicine cabinet.
Folklore claims the bitters have raised people from near-death or even flat-line states. Many Caribbean islanders and Venezuelans extol the bitters’ medicinal use as a cure-all for conditions ranging from headaches and abdominal pain to diarrhea andinfluenza.