Angostura Aromatic

With its iconic oversize wrapper, Angostura is hard to miss. Chalked up to a snafu with the printers, it makes the bottle look both ugly and unmistakable — and in the fray behind a bar, that ends up being a very good thing. After being crowned "world's worst displayed product" in 1995, they were urged never to change its appearance.

To everyone's relief, Angostura has hardly changed a thing about their product for nearly its entire existence. Though its flavor is hard to describe, Angostura tastes like a spice-medley paté, and it is good. Very good. Build-an-empire good.

A heavily guarded secret recipe of spices and barks, Angostura's only public ingredient is gentian root. Another ingredient is almost assuredly some part of the angostura tree, which put Ciudad Bolívar on the map when it was still named after its famous flora. Though the company fought and eventually won a decades-long court battle for a copyright, they refused to divulge the recipe and insisted angostura bark is not an ingredient. A sly move, as Angostura extract is not a bark, at least not in legalese.

Originally made as a medicine for Simon Bolivar's rebel army in their war for Venezuelan independence, it is now manufactured in Trinidad, Angostura. The company makes or owns a host of brands including of course rums as well as an orange version of their eternally famous bitters, both of which are near-mandatory bottles on the counter of any quality bar.

Angostura is located in Laventille, Trinidad & Tobago in the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean. Established in 1830 by Johann Gottlieb Benjamin Siegert, it has become the head of a conglomerate.