House of Angostura
The House of Angostura (also known as Angostura Limited) is a Trinidad and Tobago company famous for the production of angostura bitters, invented by the company's founder. The company is also a distiller and is the major producer of rum in Trinidad and Tobago. The company also has been used as a vehicle for international expansion by its parent company, CL Financial. As a result of these acquisitions, the company owns distillers in the United States, Canada, The Bahamas and Suriname.
The company was founded around 1830 in the Venezuelan town of Angostura (now Ciudad Bolívar) by a German doctor, Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, Surgeon-General in Simon Bolivar's army in Venezuela. Around 1820 he tried to find a medicine to improve appetite and digestive well-being of the soldiers.
|“||From the beginning Dr. Siegert was determined to wrest a cure from nature itself, and after four years of trial and error, researching and analysing the qualities of tropical herbs and plants, he finally arrived at a unique blend of herbs in 1824, which he called “Amargo Aromatico” or aromatic bitters. [...] Dr. Siegert hoped to use the bitters to bring relief to his patients, his small circle of family and friends, but these events were to prove otherwise. From these humble beginnings an international industry was soon to rise.||”|
In 1830, Siegert exported his unique aromatic bitters to England and Trinidad. By 1850, he had resigned his commission in the Venezuelan army to concentrate on the manufacture of his bitters, since by then demand had leapt ahead of supply. In 1862 the product was exhibited and sampled in London, to great approval. Upon his death in 1870, Siegert left the care of the company to his younger brother and son, who subsequently moved it to Port of Spain, Trinidad six years later in 1876.
Over the course of time, angostura bitters and Dr. Siegert's company alone became purveyor to the King of Prussia, Spain, and King George V. Today, angostura bitters are also produced by various other vendors, some of which add the bark of the angostura tree (Angostura trifoliata). Angostura bitters are a key ingredient in many cocktails, for example in pink gin and the Manhattan. Angostura brand bitters do not contain any angostura bark. There are several other companies that make bitters containing this bark, notably Fee Brothers and Riemerschmid.
The word "Angostura" (lit. "Narrows") is the founding name of Ciudad Bolívar along the narrows of Venezuela's Orinoco River where Dr. Siegert was based. It was an important trading town with river access to the sea.
- National Reporter System, New York (State). Superior Court (New York), New York (State). Supreme Court, New York (State). Court of Appeals (1894). New York Supplement. West Publishing Company. p. 591.
- Albert Y. Leung, Steven Foster (2003). Encyclopedia of common natural ingredients used in food, drugs, and cosmetics. Wiley-Interscience. p. 35.
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