Another World Cup group, another chance to talk history. There will be many things fizzy, bitter, sweet, and smoky, but first we have history! Woo-hoo!
This cocktail discussion starts in South America, in the region that would come to be known as Gran Colombia (modern-day Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and parts of neighboring countries). In the early 19th century, the people of Gran Colombia revolted against the Spanish crown. One man who emerged from this war of independence was Simón Bolívar, a military and political leader whose legacy in South America would grow to the level of George Washington’s in the USA.
Within Bolívar’s army was a German born-doctor, who created a medicinal tonic from local Gran Colombia ingredients. As the army pushed into modern-day Venezuela, this doctor created his first batch of tonic in the city of Angostura. Even though the city’s name changed, and the operation moved to Trinidad, this medicinal alcohol retains the name — Angostura bitters.