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Homemade Cocktail Bitters

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Ingredients

cherry vanilla bitters

  • 8 ounces dried cherries
  • 1 1/2 cups 101 proof bourbon
  • 6 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 tonka beans, cracked*
  • 2 vanilla beans, scraped
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 1/2 cups 101 proof bourbon
  • 1/2 tablespoon gentian root
  • 1/2 tablespoon cassia chips
  • 1/2 tablespoon wild cherry bark
  • 1 cup 100 proof rye whiskey

chocolate bitters

  • 1/2 cup cacao nibs
  • 1 1/4 cups 101 proof bourbon
  • 6 cardamom pods, chopped
  • 2 tonka beans, cracked*
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 1/4 cups 101-proof bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon gentian root
  • 1 tablespoon sarsaparilla
  • 1 teaspoon wild cherry bark
  • 1 teaspoon cassia chips
  • 1 teaspoon black walnut leaf
  • 1 cup 100 proof rye whiskey
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup

grapefruit bitters

  • 3 grapefruits, rind removed
  • 2 1/4 cups 100-proof vodka
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger
  • 1 tonka bean, cracked*
  • 1/2 tablespoon culinary lavender
  • 1/2 tablespoon juniper berries
  • 1/2 tablespoon gentian root
  • 1 teaspoon black walnut leaf
  • 2 cups 100-proof vodka
  • 1/4 cup simple syrup

strawberry ginger one-jar bitters

  • 2/3 cups dried strawberries
  • 1/2 tablespoon culinary lavender
  • 1/2 tablespoon gentian root
  • 1/2 tablespoon saspararilla
  • 1/2 tablespoons wild cherry bark
  • 1 teaspoon black walnut leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cassia chips
  • 1 teaspoon juniper berries
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 thumb-sized pieces of fresh ginger
  • 2 tonka beans, cracked*
  • 3 cups 101-proof bourbon
  • *please note that tonka beans are not illegal to purchase but i believe it is illegal for restaurants to use them in food in the US. apparently when ingested in large quantities, they can be toxic. before using them, i suggest doing your own research. i felt comfortable enough to purchase a few and only used them to infuse the alcohol.

Instructions 

cherry vanilla bitters

  • Jar #1: In one jar, add the dried cherries and bourbon. Shake well.
  • Jar #2: In the second jar, add the tonka beans, cardamom pods, scraped vanilla beans and pods, star anise and bourbon. Shake well.
  • Jar #3: In the third jar, add the gentian root, cassia chips, wild cherry bark and rye whiskey. Shake well.
  • Store all jars in a cool dark place. Shake the jars once per day.
  • After 5 days, strain jar #3, removing all the herbs and anything that has settled on the bottom. Place the bitters back in the jar (cleaned or at least free of any bitter “sediment”) until ready to use. After 10 days, strain jars #1 and #2, and combine them together into one jar. Allow the mixture to sit for 3 days.
  • Now it’s time to combine your bitters! I found that I needed to strain mine again, so do that if needed. You want them as clear as possible. There is no set “recipe” here – simply combine a few ounces of the cherry vanilla liquid and a few ounces of the bittering liquid until it reaches a bitterness you are content with. One you find it, use a mini funnel (I actually use parchment paper rolled into a funnel) and add the bitters to a jar with a dropper. Let them sit for another week before use, straining once again if needed before use. I found that the final strain got them super clear.

chocolate bitters

  • Jar #1: Add the cocoa nibs and 101-proof bourbon. Shake well
  • Jar #2: Add the tonka beans, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, vanilla beans and 101-proof bourbon.
  • Jar #3: Add the gentian root, saspararilla, wild cherry bark, cassia chips, black walnut leaf and 100-proof rye whiskey.
  • Store all jars in a cool dark place. Shake the jars once per day.
  • After 5 days, strain jar #3, removing all the herbs and anything that has settled on the bottom. Place the bitters back in the jar (cleaned or at least free of any bitter “sediment”) until ready to use. After 10 days, strain jars #1 and #2, and combine them together into one jar. Allow the mixture to sit for 3 days.
  • After 3 days, strain your jars again add 1/4 cup simple syrup to the chocolate-flavored jar. Combine a few ounces of the chocolate liquid and a few ounces of the bittering liquid until it reaches a bitterness you are content with. Once you find it, use a mini funnel and add the bitters to a jar with a dropper. Let them sit for another week before use, straining once again if needed before use. I found that the final strain got them super clear.

grapefruit bitters

  • Jar #1: Add the grapefruit rind 100-proof vodka. Shake well.
  • Jar #2: Add the lavender, juniper berries, black walnut leaf, gentian root, tonka bean, ginger and 100-proof vodka. Shake well.
  • Store all jars in a cool dark place. Shake the jars once per day.
  • After 5 days, strain jar #2, removing all the herbs and anything that has settled on the bottom. Place the bitters back in the jar (cleaned or at least free of any bitter “sediment”) until ready to use. After 10 days, strain jar #1. Allow the mixture to sit for 3 days.
  • After 3 days, strain your jars again add 1/4 cup simple syrup to the grapefruit-flavored jar. Combine a few ounces of the grapefruit liquid and a few ounces of the bittering liquid until it reaches a bitterness you are content with. Once you find it, use a mini funnel and add the bitters to a jar with a dropper. Let them sit for another week before use, straining once again if needed before use. I found that the final strain got them super clear.

strawberry ginger one-jar bitters

  • Combine all ingredients together in one jar and let them sit for 10 days. Store the jar in cool, dark place and shake it once per day.
  • After 10 days, strain the jar to remove the ingredients and sediment from the bottom. Let the mixture sit for another 3 days and strain again. Add the mixture to dropper jars, straining one more time in another day or two to remove any bits from the bottom.

Notes

things you need in general for bitters
-a bunch of mason jars or containers, an assortment of bittering herbs and aromatics, high-proof alcohol, such as 101 proof bourbon, 151 proof rum or vodka, flavor agents, like fruits, citrus peels and vanilla beans, bottles with droppers or small jars to store the liquid in, fine mesh sieves, coffee filters and/or cheesecloth for straining-
 
[I pulled tons of information, hours of research, adaptions and help from these places: spirits+cocktailsserious eatsnot without saltfood & wine and from scratch club]
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