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Bitters from Scratch

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kasey.dubler

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Bitters from Scratch

by kasey.dubler » Fri May 22, 2020 11:38 am

Just started my first batch of Orange Bitters from scratch. There was a extended learning class offered online and I have always wanted to make them so I thought it was a good way to get started. I have plans to make other flavors as well, but Orange was what they started us with, which works for me because I love Orange Bitters!

Has anybody else here experimented with making Bitters before? Also, if anybody has tried a unique flavor that they loved I'd be curious what it was?

Hope all is well
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Jenise

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Re: Bitters from Scratch

by Jenise » Fri May 22, 2020 12:01 pm

I love orange bitters, too. Have a number of flavors but probably use orange more than any other. I don't really make cocktails very often but when I do, I love citrus and that's such a natural direction for me to go in. Last November I put them in my cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving--major wow factor.

I have celery that I haven't used even once yet. I recently bought lime-cilantro which I've also been reaching for a lot. One I haven't tried, but should, is mole. I've seen a few versions of mole around but the original, I believe belongs to Bill Buitenhuys of Arizona Bitters--he's been an occasional participant here for years.

So what IS the process of making bitters?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Robin Garr

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Re: Bitters from Scratch

by Robin Garr » Fri May 22, 2020 12:06 pm

Jenise wrote:So what IS the process of making bitters?

I want to know, too! :)

We don't have a huge bitters collection here, just the cocktail basics (which for me are Peychaud's, Angostura, and Fee's Orange, but I definitely like and use them. (You can also make a nice grownup soft drink by dosing club soda or seltzer with enough bitters to kick up the flavor, but I imagine this is not news to anyone here.)
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Re: Bitters from Scratch

by Jenise » Fri May 22, 2020 12:09 pm

Robin, a few years ago I got sick in a local restaurant. Walked in feeling fine, ate something (pickled whole garlic) that wouldn't stay down, ran to the bathroom...anyway, the waitress brought me a club soda with Angostura bitters to help calm my stomach. Apparently this is a well-known tonic but it was news to me. Really loved it; I've made a few since and don't need to be sick to enjoy it!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Bitters from Scratch

by Robin Garr » Fri May 22, 2020 1:23 pm

Oh, yeah, it's a well-known thing. It's called ... bitters and soda! :mrgreen:

I've known bartenders who drink it behind the bar so as to seem companionable to the paying customers without actually taking on alcohol. (Yeah, bitters have a tiny amount, but the small quantity mixed in bubble water comes down to essentially zero.)
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Re: Bitters from Scratch

by Jenise » Fri May 22, 2020 2:10 pm

Guess I haven't hung out in too many bars!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Bitters from Scratch

by Larry Greenly » Sun May 24, 2020 1:39 am

A drop of Angostura bitters in a gin and tonic adds a certain je ne sais quoi.
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Re: Bitters from Scratch

by Matilda L » Tue May 26, 2020 1:52 am

A drop of Angostura bitters in a gin and tonic


Or, indeed, just in the gin, forget the tonic. Gin and bitters is bliss.
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Re: Bitters from Scratch

by kasey.dubler » Tue May 26, 2020 1:00 pm

Jenise wrote: So what IS the process of making bitters?


The process is pretty simple. You essentially soak a bunch of flavoring agents in high proof alcohol. It is important to make sure you have bittering agents with them, could be Gentian root, Wormwood, Angelica Root, Cinchona Bark or a huge list of others. I'm using Cinchona and Gentian for this one, but I have ordered a few others to try as well. I also have Cinnamon, clove, cardamom, orange peel and a bunch of other ingredients in there, I have it written down somewhere, but honestly I don't recall right now.

After a few weeks you drain it off and balance it out with water. I've seen recipes where you strain off the solids and then cook them in some water, and then use that water to bring the alcohol % down... Not sure exactly what I am going to do yet, but I have it infusing now.

Orange bitters seem to be the most straightforward, but I'm trying to decide what flavor to make next. I'm thinking a pear bitters to use in salad dressing with goat cheese and beets... Sounds good... Also, as you said Jenise, Orange Bitters are the best secret ingredient for Cranberry Sauce! They add so much with just a small amount.
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Re: Bitters from Scratch

by Jenise » Tue May 26, 2020 1:57 pm

Matilda L wrote:
A drop of Angostura bitters in a gin and tonic


Or, indeed, just in the gin, forget the tonic. Gin and bitters is bliss.


Love that, too. Isn't it what the English call a Pink Gin?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Bitters from Scratch

by kasey.dubler » Wed May 27, 2020 12:01 pm

While I wait for my bitters to finish I went out and picked up a few bitters I found locally. Many of them are fun, Cherry Bitters makes a great Cherry coke but one stood out. I found Fee Brothers Whisky Barrel Aged Aromatic Bitters. These made the best Old Fashioned I've ever had. When I mixed them with just sparkling water they are a bit much, but perfect with whisky drinks. Not as versatile possibly, but divine with the right drink...
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Re: Bitters from Scratch

by Jenise » Wed May 27, 2020 1:02 pm

Fee Brothers? New name to me. Where is it made?
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Jeff Grossman

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Re: Bitters from Scratch

by Jeff Grossman » Wed May 27, 2020 3:30 pm

Ra-cha-cha (as an alumnus, I can say that): https://www.feebrothers.com/

They are well-known in cocktail circles.

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