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All About Bitters (Part 1)

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Ahhh bitters. Well, the first thing to do is decide what your flavor profile you want out of your bitters. If you are going for something dark, use overproof rum or rye along with grain alcohol. You want to have high as possible alcohol content, to extract the most flavor from your botanicals. If you are going for lighter flavors use high proof gin, and grain alcohol. Think about the character of your flavors, you want a variety to amp up the complexity.

In a two liter glass container, sterilized with boiling water, put 1.5L and add the chinchona and gentian, a quarter of a teaspoonish each. Then add the rest of your herbs, which should be dried, and whatever citrus you have decided on. Keep in a cool place agitating daily for 14 days. Taste and adjust the balance, then start making cocktails immediately.

Toby


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Just got a bottle of Fee's peach bitters and thought I'd fiddle around with a Flying Fish Cocktail. The cocktaildb recipe as is turned out too sweet by a long stretch, so I added a dash of Regan's orange bitters, and extra 1/4 ounce of gin. Much better, but still a bit off kilter and too sweet, with the Maraschino and peach bitters ending up very orgeat-y.

Tried again, and the following worked nicely:

2 oz gin (Plymouth)

1/2 oz orange curacao (Cointreau)

1/4 oz maraschino liqueur (Luxardo)

1 dash peach bitters (Fee's)

1 dash orange bitters (Regan's)

4 drops Angostura bitters

Stir and strain all but the Angostura bitters; float the four drops.

In the end, it's the sort of drink that might, like a Pegu Club, be a good introduction to gin and bitters, but not in the sour family. Of course, it's a little odd to me that one needs to add extra bitters to make peach bitters bitter, but there you have it.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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this should be on the other thread but...I am ready to make a comprehensive line of bittres under The Violet Hour banner, is there a market for it?


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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this should be on the other thread but...I am ready to make a comprehensive line of bittres under The Violet Hour banner, is there a market for it?

Hmmm...You should send me some free samples so I can accurately answer that question. HA!


"A woman once drove me to drink and I never had the decency to thank her" - W.C. Fields

Thanks, The Hopry

http://thehopry.com/

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This is my first post here, so I apologize if it would be better form to start a new thread for this topic...

The biggest thing stopping me from making my own bitters is the intimidating ingredient list, but I'm inspired by what appears to be an upsurge in homemade bitters at high-end cocktail bars. For those of you who have made your own, where have you been ordering the various barks, flowers, etc.? I wanted to have a go at replicating Abbott's Bitters.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Hey Chris, welcome to posting on eGullet and specifically to the cocktail forums.

I buy herbs or spices for bitters at local health food or natural grocery type places.

For example, here in San Francisco, Rainbow Grocery has a particularly fantastic selection of bulk medicinal herbs and spices.

Online, I've ordered from Frontier Herbs and had good luck.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I was at a trade show in london yesterday and heard rumours that Angostura are working on a pomegranate bitters . Anyone  know anything of this ?

I also heard this on the grapevine, so got in contact with Mickael Perron who says :-

Hi Adam,

That's the first time that I hear about that.

I don't think that it's true at all, beacuse we are not planning to create a portfollio of bitters, first we would like to introduce properly Angostura Orange in the world.

Let me know if you need more info, but that one you get from grapevine doesn't sounds right to me.

Cheers mate.

mickael

:smile:


Edited by evo-lution (log)

Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

The Jerry Thomas Project - Tipplings and musings

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this should be on the other thread but...I am ready to make a comprehensive line of bittres under The Violet Hour banner, is there a market for it?

To be honest, you could certainly do mail order. Provided that's something you want to be bothered with as a business. Your bar has already garnered much acclaim and I think offering these sorts of things is a great way to keep people connected to your "brand."

While stores may be hesitant to stock them, there is a huge boom in bitters being used again in cocktails. I think this would lead a lot of people to your site and thus create more buzz around your bar. For the love of God I had to order my Fee Bros and Peychaud's from amazon.com. What's the world coming to? I think this would be great for you to pursue. I'd buy some.

edited to say: I know you don't currently have a website, but you could...


Edited by avant-garde (log)

"A woman once drove me to drink and I never had the decency to thank her" - W.C. Fields

Thanks, The Hopry

http://thehopry.com/

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For the love of God I had to order my Fee Bros and Peychaud's from amazon.com.  What's the world coming to?

What's wrong with Amazon.com?

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For the love of God I had to order my Fee Bros and Peychaud's from amazon.com.  What's the world coming to?

What's wrong with Amazon.com?

Nothing at all. But Bitters? I should be able to get those at the licka sto.


"A woman once drove me to drink and I never had the decency to thank her" - W.C. Fields

Thanks, The Hopry

http://thehopry.com/

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OK, I'm diving in, with a plan to make Hess's House bitters, Erik's clementine bitters, and John's grapefruit bitters. I just placed an order with Mountain Rose Herbs, who have 4 oz packages of gentian, etc. More when I get the package.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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The delivery from Mountain Rose came today and my daughter's home sick, so I got cracking on the three bitters.

I used John's recipe for Grapefruit Bitters from Recipe Gullet exactly (click). My working recipes for Erik's two are below, in half-batches and converted to weight measurements.

Hess House Bitters (revision of Erik's revision, trying to lighten up on the spices):

2 cups rye (Old Overholt)

7 g dried gentian

15 g ginger (julienne)

3 g whole cloves

10 g cardamom pods (cracked)

4 g star anise

10 g cinnamon

4 g allspice

Will let this sit for two weeks, strain, etc.

Erik's Clementine bitters (based on this intriguing post).

Peel of 3 Clementines (30 g), minced

Zest of 2 medium oranges (15 g), minced

5 g cinnamon (about 2 sticks)

1 whole clove

10 g dried orange peel

3 g chamomile

10 g gentian

2 bay leaves

1 c vodka

1 c rye

1/2 c water

1 T molasses (both later)


Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Woke up this morning and noticed that the rinds soaking for John's grapefruit bitters recipe were barely covered. I used a cup of vodka, and I'm tempted to add more. I'm also tempted to let it sit more than 12 hours. Resist? Give in?


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Woke up this morning and noticed that the rinds soaking for John's grapefruit bitters recipe were barely covered. I used a cup of vodka, and I'm tempted to add more. I'm also tempted to let it sit more than 12 hours. Resist? Give in?

cover it with a little more and let sit 2 hours. you dont want to over extract.


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Wacky, never expected anyone to make those.

I have to admit, aside from my bizarre and perhaps unsuccessful attempt at creating a bitters using only ingredients I have foraged or grown in and around San Francisco, I've not been really continuing with bitters projects.

Hard enough to convince others to make cocktails you create without having them have to go through a month long project before hand.

But, most folks who have tried the clementine bitters have given me positive feedback, so I'll be curious what you think.

Next you'll have to go for the Hellfire Bitters!

John, do you think I could make the grapefruit bitters with pomelo? Seems like it would be cool.

Oh, and what's a good kitchen scale for these small measurements?


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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Thanks, John. I didn't add any more vodka and strained it tonight, finishing it with some Vietnamese burnt sugar syrup in my fridge. Made a fine Pisco Sour with it tonight.

As for scale, I use a My Weigh KD-600, which just has 1g units. Good enough for this sort of thing, at least in these quantities.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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I'm eager to hear recommendations for cocktails that benefit from grapefruit bitters. I'm thinking that a Bennett Cocktail would hit the spot. Other ideas?

I like them in the blinker cocktail myself.

Also doing a fitty fitty variation.

1.5 oz Beefeater

1.5 oz Noilly Dry

1 long strip grapefruit peel

1 dash grapefruit bitters

Put all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice (including peel)

Stir and let sit for 30 seconds.

Strain out into a/p coupe.

no garnish


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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John, do you think I could make the grapefruit bitters with pomelo?  Seems like it would be cool.

Oh, and what's a good kitchen scale for these small measurements?

I am sure it would work with Pomelo's. It would be pretty awesome I imagine.

I am using this scale.

Very happy with it. It is pricey, but has 0.1 g resolution.


John Deragon

foodblog 1 / 2

--

I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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I'm eager to hear recommendations for cocktails that benefit from grapefruit bitters. I'm thinking that a Bennett Cocktail would hit the spot. Other ideas?

what about something with creme de cocao?

i really liked my grapefruit bitters but had a hard time with intensity so i turned it into an "equatorial amaro" "the campari of the carribean!"

my recipe needs a revision. i know i'm missing alot of details that could make it really cool. i want to mimic compari's sugar/alcohol model to make it pretty intuitive to use... maybe track down some cochineal as well...

before you add as much sugar as campari it needs to be almost sickly bitter. so i think there would need to be something besides only citrus rind doing the bittering...


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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[...]

Next you'll have to go for the Hellfire Bitters!

[...]

By the way, I do recommend this. Whether you make the hellfire bitters or Erik Adkin's Chile Tincture it is much handier for cocktails to have that spicy kick without the added burden of the vinegar.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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I don't generally make cocktails at home. But I often have boubon on hand and usually drink it neat. I've made manhattans sans bitters occasionally.

Because of this forum/thread I went out and bought some angostura bitters and vermouth (M&R was the only thing they had, going to do a taste test when I get to a better store) and have been having a blast the last couple of days trying different ratios. I just finished my bottle of woodsford reserve and I'm onto knob creek. I'm a big fan of eagle rare, but my grocery store stopped carrying it. I'm finding I like them a bit heavier on the bitters.

Just a thanks from a convert.

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Grabbed a bottle of the Fee Bros' Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters at LeNell's and, man, that's good stuff. A little bird told me that she grabbed all the bottles in the tri-state area, so if you're having a hard time finding them, get thee to Red Hook.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

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Man, I was just there on Wednesday and they were out of the Fee's Whiskey Barrel plus all the Bitter Truth bitters (which were the main thing I had gone for). It was my first time making it out there, and, apparently, Christmas shoppers had cleaned them out of a LOT of things -- the place was full of their sad little "Sorry, out of stock" signs. Y'all need to stop buying up everything and let some of us poor Southern folk buy some too :)

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