How to Make Bitters

Posted by on Dec 24, 2009 in Handcrafted Mixers, How to ... | No Comments

Filling bottles with homemade bitters recipeWhat Do Bitters Taste Like? It’s strong stuff and I haven’t been courageous enough to taste it directly from the bottle, but the scent is simply amazing. From super citrusy to cherry to floral, bitters helps balance a drink recipe that might be too clean tasting or too sweet. Just a couple dashes of bitters adds sophistication and color to cocktails or plain soda water. It’s rumored to even help with digestion. Bitters requires a little bit of a scavenger hunt through grocery stores and a couple weeks to make. Homemade Cherry Vanilla Bitters is a little easier to find all the ingredients for than Aromatic Bitters. But it’s totally worth it.

Homemade Cherry Vanilla Bitters (works in many whiskey drinks) 1 bottle 100 proof rye whiskey (750 ml) 1/2 cup dried cherries (we used Bing, from Henry’s) 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 1 inch pieces (found this in the produce section) 3 vanilla beans, split in half lengthwise (we found less expensive ones at Trader Joe’s) 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 2 star anise pods (in the bulk spices at Henry’s) 2 teaspoons anise seed 1 whole juniper berry 1 whole clove

Combine all ingredients in a glass jar with a lid (don’t use plastic!) and shake to mix. Store in a dark place at room temperature for 14 days, shaking the jar every other day. On the 14th day, strain the mixture using a paper coffee filter. Strain again with a fresh filter to get it really clear. Using a funnel, pour into glass bottles (we used 4 ounce amber bottles with eyedropper stoppers) and store in a dark place at room temperature. Should keep indefinitely. Our bitters filled five 4 oz. bottles, which would last us forever, but we made labels and gave some away. Here’s what our finished bitters bottles looked like. Homemade Aromatic Bitters (can replace Angostura bitters in cocktail recipes) We made bitters at home as gifts for our friends who really appreciate a sophisticated cocktail. Here’s the recipe for our Homemade Aromatic Bitters. Recipes adapted from