Skip to main content

You’re Going to Love This Angostura-Based Cocktail Recipe

Quick, go to your home bar. What bitters do you have on the shelf? We’d bet money that you have at least one bottle of Angostura bitters handy. You know the bottle — yellow cap, label that doesn’t seem to fit. Yeah, that one. Angostura, the best-selling bitters in the world, is known for its utility in just about every cocktail. Like, ever. The thing is, did you know that it could also be used as the main ingredient? While the bitters themselves are only 44.7 percent alcohol by volume, they’re not normally something you’d think of to base a cocktail around. Until now.

Trinidad Sour Cocktail
Trinidad Sour. Image used with permission by copyright holder

When we first heard about it, we were surprised, but let us tell you something: It is good and we are hooked. The drink is called the Trinidad Sour and it was invented by bartender Giuseppe Gonzalez, who was working at the Clover Club in Brooklyn at the time. After its creation, it grew in popularity thanks to the blend of über bitter with sweet and sour. It can now be seen on cocktail menus across the country and the world.

We’re going to share the recipe with you — it would be wrong to keep such a delight from interested and educated parties such as yourself — but first, we thought it prudent to take a step back and dig into what Angostura bitters is and who makes it.

Angostura got its start in 1824 when founder Dr. Johann Siegert was the surgeon general in Simón Bolivar’s army based in Angostura, Venezuela. Siegert designed the aromatic bitters as a medicinal tincture that would help alleviate stomach ailments.

(Sidebar: Can you imagine living in a time when booze was a legitimate “cure” that your doctor gave you? Sure, everything else probably sucked, but you could get a booze prescription!)

angostura bitters rum
House of Angostura/Facebook

A few decades later, in 1870, Siegert’s three sons moved to Trinidad, where Don Carlos Siegert began promoting Angostura as an ingredient for cocktails and other recipes. From there, its popularity grew. After starting with bitters, the brand expanded to rums as well, which Angostura has been producing and blending for 130 years now.

As far as the label: According to the company, the oversized label was created when the Siegert brothers tried to divide and conquer: one sourced bottles and the other was responsible for the label. The initial error has persisted and, to this day, is the signature of the brand. (Whether this is true or not remains to be seen, but it does make a nice story.)

But what about the contents inside the bottle? Well, those are a secret recipe that’s remained unchanged since 1824. It is said that only one person knows the entire recipe at any given time.

We’ll throw one more fun fact at you: The largest purveyor of Angostura bitters in the world is Nelsen’s Hall Bitters Pub on Washington Island off the northeast tip of Door Peninsula in Door County, Wisconsin, which regularly sells over 10,000 shots of the stuff per year.

Now, it’s time to learn to make a cocktail. Here is The House of Angostura’s version of the Trinidad Sour, which it calls the Angostura Sour.

Angostura Sour

angostura sour cocktail
Angostura Sour. Image used with permission by copyright holder
  • 1 oz Angostura aromatic bitters
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz Demerara syrup*
  • 1 egg white

Method: Dry shake, then shake with ice and double strain into a chilled sour glass.

*Demerara syrup: 1 part Demerara sugar, 1 part hot water. Stir to dissolve.

Editors' Recommendations

Sam Slaughter
Sam Slaughter was the Food and Drink Editor for The Manual. Born and raised in New Jersey, he’s called the South home for…
The classic whiskey cocktails you need in your bartending repertoire
If whiskey is your thing, you must know how to whip up these classic cocktails
Sazerac classic whiskey cocktail

Ever wonder why so many of the classic cocktails out there involve whiskey? Because the spirit is versatile, it comes in various forms (rye, bourbon, Scotch, etc.) and takes kindly to several complementary ingredients. And while there are countless recipes you should explore, there are five you really must know.

Yes, like classic gin cocktails or classic tequila cocktails, classic whiskey cocktails are combinations you should know by heart and work to perfect with little tweaks here and there. They get adorned with the classic name because the combinations are tried and true, standing the test of time. But that doesn't mean you can't have fun with them, as we always encourage you to play around with things like whiskey type, liqueur type, bitters type, and more. They're classics, sure, but they can still be tailor made for your own palate.

Read more
Our margarita recipe is the only one you’ll ever need, we promise
You'll want to drink this tequila cocktail all day, every day
Four glasses of freshly made Margarita cocktail decorated with limes on wooden table with shaker and limes.


When it comes to classic, flavorful cocktails, it’s tough to beat the appeal of the Margarita. It’s simple, fresh, and citrus-driven. It’s made with only three ingredients: tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. What’s not to love? The tequila's roasted agave, vanilla, and spices mixed with the tart acidity of the lime juice and sweetness of the triple sec make for a truly well-balanced, flavorful drink. This turbo-charged, agave-centered drink has been gracing menus all over the U.S. (and the world) since its inception in the early 1900s.

Read more
Love albondigas soup? Our albondigas recipe is a fall and winter favorite, and we think you’ll agree
Make a lot - like a LOT - of this one

I grew up in Fresno, California, where there is a plethora of incredible, wonderfully authentic Mexican restaurants. Most of these restaurants share an amazingly delicious menu item, albondigas - an exquisitely savory Mexican meatball soup with vegetables in a spicy, beefy broth.

This delicious soup's hearty, spicy, meatbally goodness is what I grew up ordering every time I went out for Mexican food (which was often). It started every meal, no matter what came next. Sometimes a big bowl was the meal itself. And then I moved away from Fresno, and something dreadful happened. The soup I loved so much suddenly disappeared from Mexican restaurant menus. I couldn’t find it anywhere. I’ll never forget living in Portland, 30 weeks pregnant, and craving albondigas so intensely that I couldn’t think of anything else. I called every Mexican restaurant within a 10-mile radius, and no one had my beloved soup. But then it occurred to me that as a strong-willed woman with a culinary degree, I could make it myself. So I beelined straight to the grocery store, bought the ingredients, and got to work. It was my first time making albondigas, and I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to do it justice. It turns out, though, it's incredibly simple to make, and even that first batch was a wild success. These days, albondigas soup is much easier to find, and I can order my beloved soup almost anywhere. But you know what? This homemade version is the best.

Read more