Many folks are taking a step back from the usual holiday buzz of alcoholic drinks. While we at OAC enjoy a well-constructed cocktail and can appreciate a finely-infused beverage, we also try to take a healthful approach to what and how much we imbibe.
Queue in the bitters…
All bitters are tinctures, but not all tinctures are bitters.
Bitters are a fantastic way to mix a little herbal goodness into whatever your drink of choice is. While the initial process of making bitters is essentially the same as making a tincture, the end use may be different. However, let’s not forget bitters originated as a medicinal tonic given to ease digestion and other ailments. Not so different from a tincture!
While the intentions of use may be different nowadays, it doesn’t have to be so far a stretch. Infusing your very own bitters allows you to create something delicious and versatile whether it’s for sprucing up a cocktail or getting some herbs in with a glass of water.
The main quality bitters have is, of course, their bitter component which differentiates it from a tincture. The recipe below is a very simple take on the classic Angostura bitters. Gentian root and cinchona bark are the bitter elements in his recipe, but you can also use different herbs to achieve that bitterness.
Along with the bitter, balancing your formula is important for taste but is an opportunity to give your bitters a little more herbal oomph. Here are a few additional options for both.Bitter
- Burdock root
- Artichoke leaf
- Valerian Root
- Dandelion root
- Dried Orange Peel
Make sure to research your herbs or consult with a practicing herbalist for any allergies or medical issues.
Use herbs that work well together. Doesn't a few drops of chamomile and lavender bitters in a nightcap sound divine? Time to get creative!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED: Basic Bitters Recipe (like Angostura)
- 1/2 tsp gentian root
- 2 tbsp cinchona bark, chopped
- 2 tbsp whole cardamom pods
- 1/4 cup whole cloves
- 3 sticks of cinnamon
- 6 oz Organic Alcohol (we used Wheat)
- 6 oz distilled water
- 1/2 tsp gentian root
WHAT YOU DO
- Gentle crush herbs in mortal &pestle or with the side of a knife (this opens up the fragrances and allows for a quicker extraction)
- Put herbs in a mason jar
- Cover all herbs with 190-proof Organic Alcohol (we used Neutral Organic Wheat for this one)
- Lid and shake
- Keep sealed in a dark cool place, shaking every other day for at least 7 days.
- Taste-test your biters in case you need to adjust for flavor
- Once to your liking, strain our solids
- You can add in distilled water to dilute it (50/50 will give you approx. 47% abv) or leave it at higher proof by adding less distilled water
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