Bitters are essential in the bar and the popular brands are great to have in stock. However, you can also make your own bitters and personalize them to your own taste using a variety of herbs and spices.
This recipe is for an aromatic-style with strong orange and is great for overall use in a variety of cocktails. This is a time-intensive process that will take about 25 days to complete but the joy of having your very own bitters is worth it and the finished bottle will last for up to a year. Use an old bitters bottle or a small bottle with a drip spout and a lid. Grain alcohol? Look for Everclear or the like.
- 2 cups grain alcohol
- 8 oz dried orange peel, minced
- 1 tsp cardamom
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1/2 tsp caraway or anise
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- Place the spices in a mason jar and cover with grain alcohol.
- Seal the jar and let the mixture stand in a cool, dark place for 15 days. Give the jar a good, vigorous shake once a day.
- Strain the alcohol into a clean mason jar through a cheesecloth to separate the liquid from the dry ingredients. Once the majority is strained, gather the cloth into a ball and squeeze it to release as much liquid as possible.
- Muddle the strained dry ingredients to break all of the seeds and create a fine mixture.
- Place this dry mix into a saucepan and add 4 cups of water.
- Bring to a boil then cover and lower the heat and allow it to simmer for about 5-7 minutes.
- Pour this mixture into the original jar, cover and allow to sit for 5 days. Again, shake vigorously once a day.
- Strain the water through a cheesecloth, discard the dry ingredients and add the water to the jar containing your original alcohol infusion.
- Place the sugar in a small pan over medium to high heat.
- Stir constantly and let the sugar become liquid and dark brown.
- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Add the sugar to the alcohol and water mixture (the sugar may solidify for a minute, but will dissolve).
- Seal the jar and allow the mix to sit for 5 days.
- Strain again and pour into a bitters bottle or small decanter with a lid.
- Cut the bitters with water by measuring how much bitters you have, then add half that amount of water.
- These bitters should be able to be stored for up to 12 months.