Angostura begins with Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert.
Originally from Germany, Johann Siegert, a doctor of medicine, left his homeland in 1820, the call of adventure ringing in his ears. He was bound for Venezuela, to join with Simon Bolivar in his fight against the Spanish throne. Bolivar then appointed him Surgeon-General of the Military Hospital in the town of Angostura.
Dr. Siegert was above all a scientist. A scientist with a keen enquiring mind. He had seen soldiers battered by the enemy from without and within, by severe fevers and internal stomach disorders.
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 which he called 'Amargo Aromatico' or aromatic bitters. The year was 1824. 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.
It was a period of great maritime activity in the Caribbean. The town of Angostura on the banks of the Orinoco River was an important trading post. Ships came into this port from all over the world, their sailors often complaining of sea-sickness. From the residents, they soon learned of the restorative qualities of Dr. Siegert's remedies and of Angostura aromatic bitters began its continuing trip around the world. Dr. Siegert was encouraged to think of producing his bitters on a commercial scale.
In 1830, Dr. 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.
By the time Dr. Siegert died in 1870, his reputation and that of his Angostura aromatic bitters were internationally established. Dr. J.G.B. Siegert& Hijo, a partnership with his son, Carlos, was established in 1867 by Dr. Siegert. Two years after the death of Dr. Siegert, the name was changed to Dr. J.G.B. Siegert& Hijos, to include younger brother, Alfredo Siegert.
Don Carlos, as Carlos became known, recognised that he was in possession of the secret to a unique product. Bon vivant, impeccable in his dress and manners, he was among the first advertisers.
He exhibited in London in 1862 and sampled his product. It was applauded with gin, the monotony of which was forever altered. It became the magic ingredient, to be used in exotic concoctions. He exhibited in Paris in 1867 and in Vienna in 1873. He visited Philadelphia in the united States in 1876 and Australia in 1879. The hallmark of Angostura aromatic bitters was firmly established.