Organic Cocktails and You

June 10, 2016

 

Making bitters is no more difficult than many of the concoctions bartenders have been known to whip up from scratch, like marmalade, orgeat and tonic. Much of the process consists of waiting while the ingredients steep in high-proof liquor.

WHAT YOU'LL NEED
Two 1-quart Jars
Cheesecloth
High-proof spirit (typically vodka or whiskey)
Roots, herbs, spices and other flavorings

Some examples of those used traditionally in bitters:

Angelica

Andrographis

Black Walnut Leaf

Cardamum

Cassia (cinnamon like bark)

Chamomile

Chicory

Cinnamon

Citrus Peel

Clove

Cocoa Nibs

Coriander

Dandelion

Fennel

Gentian

Goldenseal

Horehound

Juniper Berry

Milk Thistle

Mint

Rue

Sarsparilla

Sorrel

Sour Cherries

Vanilla Bean

Wild Cherry

Wormwood

Yarrow

 

THE PROCESS
STEP 1: STEEPING
Combine all the spices, roots, barks and other flavorings to a jar and add in the high-proof spirit.

Let this for about two weeks and will need to be shaken daily to ensure the flavors infuse properly and evenly.

STEP 2: STRAIN & COOK

Strain the spirit into a clean jar using cheesecloth, then seal.

Heat solids on the stove with water and then put that entire mixture (water and vodka-soaked ingredients) into a separate jar.

Let that sit for one week.

 

STEP 3: COMBINE & SWEETEN

Strain out the solids, discard and combine the infused vodka with the water. If the liquid is still murky, strain it again through cheesecloth. (sediment may remain.) The last step is to add a bit of sweetener, if needed, to make the mixture more palatable, as it will be incredibly bitter. Depending on the flavor of the bitters, use a rich simple syrup (two parts turbinado sugar to one part water), honey, molasses or maple syrup. Once added, shake it until the sweetener is fully dissolved and let it sit for another three days.

THE BOTTLING

One-, two- and four-ounce dropper bottles can also be easily found on Amazon or at medical supply stores. And, if you want to get really fancy, Cocktail Kingdom has various pro-style bottles that give the perfect dash of aroma to drinks.

As for labeling the bitters, some prefer the super-homemade approach, but for those who would rather have a more polished final product, makeityourown.com offers a nice free down loadable template and Vistaprint sells customizable labels in all colors and sizes.

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