Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
Dec 1, 2013 03:08 PM

Searching for a non-alcoholic bitters recipe

I know! I know! Sacrilege!

I'm wondering if it is possible to make homemade bitters that are non-alcoholic. I want to get started on making Christmas gifts, and some are for non-drinkers who are into making fancy drinks, sans booze.

Fee Brothers make glycerine-based bitters, so I'm wondering if anyone has a recipe similar to theirs. I've been searching online and I'm coming up with nothing. If the recipe is more like a bitter simple syrup, that's okay. (And, before anyone says it, I know that traditional bitters include a tiny amount of alcohol, but for some would-be recipients, even that little bit counts.)


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Your friends should not bank on Fee bitters from being alcohol free. When I (mistakenly) said that on Kindred Cocktails, Joe Fee replied (in part):

    "You suggested that our Bitters contain no alcohol and are a "water extraction." This isn't entirely true. Fee Brothers does not consider its Bitters to have a "potable" alcohol content. We do not publish an alcohol content on our bottles in the US or Canada."

    That said, I'm skeptical of the harm that would result from 1 ml of alcohol from a couple of dashes of bitters.
    -- | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

    4 Replies
    1. re: EvergreenDan

      Good to know! Thanks for the clarification about Fee.

      1. re: EvergreenDan

        Maybe OP's friends avoid alcohol for religious reasons.

        1. re: EvergreenDan

          In AZ, the threshold for potable alcohol is: "beverages containing more than oneā€‘half of one per cent of alcohol by volume.". So unless Fee's registers as non-potable (which I don't think they do) their product has to be under 0.5% abv, at least in AZ (and it's on the shelves all over the place here). Most alcohol-based bitters are 25-40% abv. I agree with you that so little alcohol, in either instance, will do much harm.

          1. re: BillB656

            Thanks for all the information! Definitely cleared up my confusion. Much appreciated.

        2. You really can't make bitters/tinctures without alcohol unless you are using commercial extracts. Most of which contain alcohol anyway. Most of the flavors aren't fully water soluble.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JMF

            Yeah--for some reason I thought there was some way to be able to do it, but it seems like I may have to take another path. Thanks!