The Trinidad Sour and Angostura Bitters

Your cocktail calendar entry for: August
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The Trinidad Sour is today’s Drink of the Day.  On August 30, 1921 J.G.B. Siegert & Sons Limited was incorporated in Trinidad and later became Angostura Limited.  You’ve seen Angostura Bitters everywhere, from your supermarket shelves to behind every bar.  We’ll use them heavily as we cover the history and the Trinidad Sour recipe.

The Angostura Bitters Story

Dr. Johann Siegert moved from Germany to Angostura, Venezuela in 1820.  He became Surgeon General for Simón Bolivar’s armies and set out to develop an elixir to improve appetite, relieve indigestion and so forth for the troops.  He perfected the formula in 1824 and soon began to export bitters to England, the Caribbean, and the United States.

Dr. Siegert did the right thing at the right time.  As we discussed on World Cocktail Day, the first published definition of a cocktail meant spirits of any kind, sugar, water and bitters.  His product became popular and by 1875 the family business moved to Trinidad.  His sons ran it under the name J.G.B. Siegert & Hijos.

Dr. Siegert’s sons carried on the business after their father passed away in 1870.  They also entered their bitters in competitions and decided to spruce things up.  One brother designed the new bottle.  Another designed the new label.  But they never worked together and the label was far too large for the bottle.  It was too late to change, so they left it alone to create a unique look.  The company continues today as Angostura Limited.

The Trinidad Sour

We covered producer history, so let’s get to the drink and what looks like an insane amount of bitters.  You normally think of bitters as a seasoning agent.  Like salt or pepper when cooking, augmenting other ingredients rather than trying to stand out.

The bartender Giuseppe Gonzalez had different thoughts when he worked at the Clover Club in Brooklyn.  He created the Trinidad Sour recipe in 2009 and made Angostura bitters the primary ingredient.  Bartenders came to like it.  They suggested it to clients, and everyone was happy.

The Trinidad Sour made it into the official IBA Cocktail List of the International Bartenders Association (IBA).  That list “recognizes the most requested recipes, used over the years by bartenders servicing the most important bars all over the world.”

Trinidad Sour

Trinidad Sour

If you like a bittersweet cocktail you will be pleasantly surprised by this one.  The seemingly ridiculous amount of Angostura bitters are tempered by the Orgeat syrup, brightened by the lemon juice and given another layer of flavor by the rye whiskey. 
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  • Nick and Nora or coupe glass


  • oz Angostura bitters
  • 1 oz Orgeat syrup This is a widely available ingredient, though you may find it labeled as Almond Syrup. It's not only good in this drink, but is an essential ingredient in many Tiki cocktails.
  • ¾ oz Fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz Rye whiskey


  • Add all ingredients to your trusty cocktail shaker.
  • Add ice and shake until frosty cold.
  • Strain into pre-chilled cocktail glass.
  • Drink.
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