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Best flavors to try when creating my own bitters

powerpop Feb 13, 2014 03:45 PM

My neighborhood bar has a set of homemade bitters crafted by one of the bartenders friends. Each of them has a unique taste with some hinting at orange while others reference chocolate or even rosemary. If you make your own bitters please post a photo of your set up and what ingredients you like to use. I'm curious what ingredient set options are out there!

EDIT: I am less concerned with how to get started and more interested in the range of flavors that are possible and some photos from people who are actively creating their own bitters!

 
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7 Replies and 7 Comments . Latest Feb 22, 2014 by LulusMom
  1. 8
    JMF 02/18/14  8:09AM

    To address your other statement, "If you make your own bitters please post a photo of your set up and what ingredients you like to use."

    There are hundreds, no more like thousands of botanicals that can be used to make bitters. I currently have 225+ botanicals, all infused into their own separate 190 proof tinctures. I use these as a Flavor Library so I know what they taste, smell, and look like individually; before I mix several or many together to make bitters. Here's a small peak at my lab when I first started to set it up five years ago; showing around 110 botanical tinctures, and in the center an Erlenmeyer flask, Buchner funnel, alcohol hydrometer, neutral spirits, etc..

     
    1. Wow. That's completely amazing. I'm in awe of your organization, and also how beautiful the colors of the liquid in those jars are!

      Wow. That's completely amazing. I'm in awe of your organization, and also how beautiful the colors of the liquid in those jars are!


      Jacquilynne Feb 18, 2014 11:26 AM
    2. WOW I want to come to your bar and try some of those....

      WOW I want to come to your bar and try some of those....


      tidecreek Feb 21, 2014 09:43 AM
  2. 5
    Wahooty 02/15/14  9:51AM

    I would say grapefruit or orange is the best place to start - very widely useful, so while you're getting your feet wet you're at least making something that is easy to use up. This was one of the first batches I ever made, and I'm still working my way through it a couple of years later, but it goes over very well with everyone I have tried it on:
    http://www.jeffreymorgenthaler.com/20...
    JMF gave me some advice when I first started, which was to make a lot of individual extracts rather than complete recipes, then blend to taste. So while I don't have a picture of my setup, imagine a small dining room table littered with Mason jars, swing-top bottles, and dropper bottles, and you've got the idea. Add a filter flask and Buchner funnel for filtering, and you've got the whole picture.

  3. 5
    JMF 02/18/14  8:01AM

    To specifically address your question of "what ingredient set options are out there". (Anyway I assume a question. No question mark was actually used, only statements made.)

    Bitters can be broken down into several types/styles, and many subsets.
    Aromatic like Angostura.
    Citrus like orange or grapefruit, etc.
    Bitters based, which are bitter as their main component, focusing on strong bittering agents like gentian, wormwood, cinchona, etc.
    Floral with a more aroma based direction using some type of flowers/blossoms like lavender, rose, hibiscus, etc.
    Savory/Herbal like celery, sage, rosemary, tarragon, anise, etc.
    Spicy where the heat of chiles is a major constituent.
    Confectionary where chocolate, cinnamon, and baking spices are dominant.
    Exotic where the main ingredients are rare or very different than in other styles.

    Subests are whether the flavor is more important, bitterness is, aroma, or any other denominator you choose.

  4. 3
    LulusMom 02/14/14 11:15AM

    I recently had cucumber bitters in a drink and loved it. I'd be interested in hearing how one makes one's own bitters. The specialty ones I've seen are outrageously expensive (something like $20 for a small bottle).

    1. Show all 4 Comments
    2. The often are very expensive which is why I want to make my own, but also to have some great flavors for my home bar. Cucumber sounds great! I'm a big fan of Henrick's gin for its cucumber infusion.

      The often are very expensive which is why I want to make my own, but also to have some great flavors for my home bar. Cucumber sounds great ... Read more


      powerpop Feb 14, 2014 03:53 PM
    3. One of the ways I tried it was with Hendricks gin (wish I could remember what else was in the drink) and it was so pleasant. Good luck - would love to hear how things turn out and how you made it and what you do with it.

      One of the ways I tried it was with Hendricks gin (wish I could remember what else was in the drink) and it was so pleasant. Good luck ... Read more


      LulusMom Feb 14, 2014 04:07 PM
    4. Maybe start another thread here on this board on bitters making. I'll add info to it.

      Maybe start another thread here on this board on bitters making. I'll add info to it.


      JMF Feb 21, 2014 05:19 PM
    5. I'd be very interested in a thread on bitters making. Thanks JMF

      I'd be very interested in a thread on bitters making. Thanks JMF


      LulusMom Feb 22, 2014 05:12 AM
  5. 2
    Jacquilynne 02/14/14 11:50AM

    Grapefruit bitters in sparkling wine is a popular drink choice among my friends, so perhaps grapefruit? Probably not much different of a process than orange, but a different flavour.

  6. 0
    JMF 02/18/14  7:48AM

    So you only want to know what our bitters making set-up looks like and ingredients we use?

    Or do you want a primer on how to make bitters?

    Or how to decide what type, style of bitters or ingredients to use?

    1. Setup and ingredients were my primary interest when I posted. All your answers have been fascinating!

      Setup and ingredients were my primary interest when I posted. All your answers have been fascinating!


      powerpop Feb 18, 2014 11:25 AM
  7. -1
    LulusMom 02/22/14  5:13AM

    I saw rhubarb bitters the other day and thought that sounded delicious. My mind of course went immediately to this thread.

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