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My First Bitters

Just started my first batch in a nice 375ml corked bottle. Used to hold a half bottle of tequila.

- Fill with grain alcohol
- Funky white raisins from the chinese supermarket
- 8 saffron threads
- 3 allspice berries
- 8 Sichuan peppercorns
- Piece dried tangerine peel
- 1 whole walnut meat toasted
- 4 regular peppercorns
- 1 smallish stick true cinnamon (not cassia)
- 4 cardomon pods crushes
- 1 small star anise crushed
- One nice 5 second grind of nutmeg
- 3 clove buds
- 1/2 TSP Gentian
- 1/2 TSP grains of paradise
- 1/4 TSP chichona
- 1/4 TSP wormwood
- 1/2 TSP valerian
- 2 small bay leaves
- zest of one meyer lemon
- zest of one lime

Gonna wait at least 2 weeks.

Thinking of adding a dash to some Cava. Not a manly drink, but bet it'll rock.

Also maybe just a dash in some cold gin.

Then certainly with gin and a spritz of citrus, served very cold.

It's gonna be a long 2 weeks.

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  1. Wow, what a recipe! Never in a million years would I have come up with this for bitters.

    The valerian will surely help you get through the next two weeks, if you don't have to work that is.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Chefpaulo

      I just googled it is a mild sedative, but what else more then that?

      1. re: StriperGuy

        That's it. I'm sure you noticed it smelled a bit like bad feet, right? That said, I've had it homemade in a tincture with nothing more than some vokda and it tasted pretty awesome.

    2. This recipe sounds great. Don't forget to add some caramel after straining and before bottling to round out the flavors (melt 3 - 6 oz. of sugar, add the same volume of water and stir, let cool, then add to your strained bitters).

      FYI, I always strain my bitters through a cheesecloth and then a coffee filter to get out as much sediment as possible. I use mason jars for steeping, and pour off the whole jar into a measuring cup, stick a cheesecloth-lined funnel into said jar and pour them back in. I repeat the same process, this time with a coffee filter in the funnel. Then I add the COOLED sugar syrup (hot sugar + 190 proof alcohol = bad news), stir/shake the jar, and let it incorporate for a day or so before decanting into 50 ml shaker bottles I got online somewhere.

      If you'd like to trade, I've made grapefruit, sassparilla (one bottle of which is behind the bar at Drink - ask Sam or Ben about them!), anise/absinthe, and lime/lemongrass.

      1. wondering where you came up with this recipe? i've made a few different batches of my own invention and read dozens of recipes in books and online and never saw anything quite like this. i can't really imagine what the finished taste of this is supposed to be?

        1 Reply
        1. re: wormwood

          Tastes kind of good. Complex, a hint of anis comes through, spicey.

        2. I would like to start my own bitters.

          The fruit, baking spices, and Chinese spices are easy to find.

          May I ask where you found the more exotic, bittering spices?
          The gentian, grains of paradise, chichona, wormwood, valerian, etc.

          4 Replies
          1. re: jerryc123

            Most of em I got at a funky witch/herbalist shop in Salem, MA. You

            1. re: jerryc123

              www.pennherb.com is great for sourcing all kinds of common and hard to find botanicals.

              1. re: JMF

                Thank you, JMF, that was EXACTLY what I have been looking for!

              2. re: jerryc123

                I had better luck ordering online at www.tenzingmomo.com - a retail shop site for a store in Pike Place Market in Seattle