It’s Summer and time for refreshing new beverages. Lately I’ve been interested in bitters and, while there are many options available commercially, I often can’t find them in my local stores. So I looked online for information on making herbal bitters. Are you looking to add a different dimension to your cocktails and iced beverages? Try making your own bitters! It’s fast and easy and the combinations are endless.
You’ll need a funnel, a scale that can weigh small quantities (less than 1oz), high quality vodka or gin, high quality herbs, amber dropper bottles. That’s pretty much it.
I found useful information about proportions of different herbs to use here.
To start I thought I would take 6 different herbs and steep them individually to see which I liked best. The herbs I used consist of flowers, berries, roots, leaves, and peels so it seemed wise to steep them individually since they require different steeping times. You can always steep them together. I just liked the range I had with separate infusions.
I took small glass bottles (amber colored so no light would get into the bottle and degrade the herbs) and filled them with .43oz of high quality gin. Then I added herbs in varying weights:
Cacao nibs .05 oz – Steeped for 10 days
Lavender Flowers .01 oz – Steeped for 7 days
Peppermint .01 oz – Steeped for 7 days
Orange & Lemon Peel .03 oz total – Steeped for 10 days
Sarsaparilla .03 oz – Steeped for 10 days
Allspice 10 berries (.03 oz ) – Steeped for 20 days
Once the infusions are ready you can strain out the herbs. Droppers of each infusion can be added individually or in combination with one another to your favorite teas, cocktails, etc.
One combination I liked was: 5 drops orange/lemon peel + 5 drops sarsaparilla + 4 drops allspice + 6 drops cacao nibs
I’ve been dropping them into iced teas and cocktails all summer. They’re refreshing and change up your favorite brew. You can turn a simple Gin and tonic into a floral surprise – or give a Vodka and Club an exotic twist. Add a little citrus peel bitters to a black iced tea for a refreshing addition or Lavender bitters into an iced Moroccan Mint tea.
The only limitation is your imagination Happy Blending!