Word of the Week: Angostura

The word of the week is a compilation of  Trinidadian sayings -phrases and words- used on the island.

  • Angostura (bitters) (n):  A reddish-brown, slightly bitter, aromatic, alcohol-based liquid used to flavour drinks.  Originally developed as an aid to digestion by Dr J.G.B Siegert, in the town of Angostura – now Ciudad Bolivar – in Venezuela. The Siegert family moved to Trinidad in  1875, where the company is still the sole manufacturer.
    • The House of Angostura, Internationally Famous since 1824.  Bolivar appointed Dr Siegert Surgeon-General of the Military Hospital of Guiana, situated in the town of Angostura [Venezuela].  Here Dr Diegert lived and continued to practice medicine until 1850, when he resigned to devote his full time to the commercial development of his Angostura Bitters.  Owing to the unsettled political situation in Venezuela, the sons of Dr Siegert, Carlos and Alfredo, decided to leave the country.  They came to Trinidad in 1875, where they were joined later by their youngest brother, Luis.  Here they started their factory of ANGOSTURA aromatic bitters in rented premises at the corner of Charlotte Street and  Marine Square.  In 1909 Alfredo Cornelio formed a public company in London, under the new name of Angostura Bitters (Dr J.G.B Siegert & Sons) Ltd.  In 1949 a subsidiary company Trinidad Distillers Ltd., was formed for the production of rum, alcohol and dried yeast.  In 1958 the Trinidad Government bought out the controlling interest in the company and resold it to a private company called Siegert Holdings Ltd. on terms which ensured the manufacture of Angostura aromatic bitters would remain permanently in Trinidad. (Mavrogordato 1977:103-5)

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Source: Dictionary of the English/Creole of Trinidad & Tobago by Lise Winer

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