Cocktail Ingredient Glossary »
Angostura bitters is perhaps the most well-known brand of bitters. It is a concentrated bitters made of water, alcohol, gentian root, and vegetable flavoring extracts.
Angostura bitters became famous when they began being marketed to the Royal Navy as a cure for seasickness in 1824 by Dr. Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert. Upon discovering this cure, he formed the "House of Angostura" company in Trinidad and Tobago, which retains the recipe for the bitters as a closely guarded secret to this day.
From this cure quickly evolved the cocktail Pink Gin, as the bitters were commonly added to gin to make them more palatable, and they lent the gin a pink shade. Following from this, Angostura bitters are often called simply "pink", as in "a gin and pink".
Angostura is 44.7% alcohol by volume but can readily be found at most grocery stores, as it is not generally restricted by alcohol laws.
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