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All About Bitters (Part 1)

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I'm currently working on my first batch of bitters. I'm making orange bitters following Regan's no. 5 recipe as described in Joy of Mixology. I've realized that my bitters will be unique as I interpret the recipe, especially in regard to dried orange peels.

I'm wondering how much dried orange peels others of you are using. Ultimately, I'm wondering how much of the pith does or does not go into a given recipe. Regan calls for eight ounces, but eight ounces of dried orange peels without the pith takes a lot more oranges that eight ounces, pith intact.

Any comments?

Troy

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I believe Gary's recipe calls for purchased dried (bitter?) orange peel, not homemade. I don't believe it's quite the same thing to use homemade citrus zest.


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But surely anything you can buy can also be made at home? I mean, I have a couple of Seville oranges sitting down in the kitchen right now; there's no reason I couldn't dry their peels and use those, right?


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Sure you could make it yourself. But there are some difficulties: First, it's somewhat likely that your oranges are coated. Second, they might not be quite the right kind of orange peel. Third, it could be prohibitively expensive to do it yourself. Fourth, it seems likely that the end result won't be as good as store-bought.


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Here is one pound of organic dried orange peel for less than ten bucks. How much money do you figure you'd have to spend on organic oranges to get a pound of dried peel?

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Here is one pound of organic dried orange peel for less than ten bucks.  How much money do you figure you'd have to spend on organic oranges to get a pound of dried peel?

That's a lot of Screwdrivers... :blink:


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

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Sure you could make it yourself.  But there are some difficulties:  First, it's somewhat likely that your oranges are coated.  Second, they might not be quite the right kind of orange peel.  Third, it could be prohibitively expensive to do it yourself.  Fourth, it seems likely that the end result won't be as good as store-bought.

so much good citrus is in season... i just ordered some sevilles and was gonna try making a very tiny batch of "creole shrubb" just to see how close i could get to the real deal... i've also got some bergamot peel sitting in peirre ferrand ambre... how do you know if your oranges are coated in wax and what can you do about it if they are? is a light scrubbing all you can do?

if i'm going through a specialty produce distributor is it likely they not coated because they are sold to pastry chefs for their peel?


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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Here is one pound of organic dried orange peel for less than ten bucks.  How much money do you figure you'd have to spend on organic oranges to get a pound of dried peel?

Great find - I bought 2 giant organic oranges at Whole Foods this week for over $3, so quite a lot.


Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

mweinstein@eGstaff.org

Tasty Travails - My Blog

My eGullet FoodBog - A Tale of Two Boroughs

Was it you baby...or just a Brilliant Disguise?

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Interesting Bitters article in today's San Francisco Chronicle:

Couple take small-batch bitters in new directions, Kara Newman

One year ago, Avery and Janet Glasser were San Francisco barflies, searching for the perfect cocktail. Now, they have relocated to the East Coast, where on a recent evening they perched at the bar at New York speakeasy Death & Co., sipping cocktails laced with their own Bittermens bitters...The Glassers brew artisanal bitters in quirky flavors in their New York home kitchen. Compared to traditional bitters, which complement gin and vodka drinks, Bittermens is designed to blend with aged rum, Tequila, bourbon and whiskey - dark, complex liquors "that don't tend to play well with bitters," according to Avery Glasser.

Though, ahem, bitters inspired by the flavors of Mexican Mole sounds awfully familiar.


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Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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It's likely Regan was implying store-bought dried orange peels. And for purity's sake, maybe I should have gone that route.

However, once I've discovered how to make dried orange peels I think work well, it opens up the possibilities for any dried peel (lemon, lime, grapefruit) to be added to a batch of bitters. And that's the real goal - discovering new possibilities.

But, the home-made versus store-bought issue aside, the real question is how much does pith play a role in bitters? I suppose only more experimentation would provide the answer.

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Well, I'm working my way through a 5# bag of organic satsuma mandarins, in the hopes of drying the peels and using them for bitters.

At least you get your allowance of Vitamin C.


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Erik Ellestad

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

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

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While looking at the possibilities for different home-made bitters I ran accross Robert Hess's article for Oh Gosh where he writes:

"... I now have almost 30 bottles of home-made bitters, and I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with them all. Anyone up for swapsies?"

I'm a few weeks away from my first batch, but I love the idea. Anybody be willing to trade some bitters?

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Great idea! Here are the guidelines for swapping or exchanging items. Anybody interested in participating should contact Troy Sidle via PM (personal message). All of the arrangements and thanks should also be via PM. But once you get the bitters, please post and let us know what you think!

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Though, ahem, bitters inspired by the flavors of Mexican Mole sounds awfully familiar.

The inspiration to do Mole bitters was thanks to Joselino Solis, the ex-lead bartender at Bacar in San Francisco. Bacar was our closest cocktail bar when living in SF and we spent many an evening with Craig, Joselino and the rest of the team as guinea pigs for new recipes.

Joselino was a lover of tequila and mescal. When Craig invited us to come along with the Bacar staff on a tour of Distillery 209, we decided to come up with a bitter that Joselino could use to augment some of his tequila cocktails.

Sorry to say, but I've never seen your recipe before reading your post this afternoon - but it does seem to be an interesting infusion. :biggrin:


Avery Glasser

Bittermens, Inc. - Producers of Bittermens Bitters & Extracts

Bittermens Spirits, Inc. - Purveyors of Small Batch Bitter Liqueurs

Vendetta Spirits, LLC. - Nano-Importer of Hand-Produced Spirits

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Thanks for your interest, Chris.

I have 2 more weeks to go. Then I'm on a short vacation.

So, I should have samples ready by Valentine's Day.


Edited by Troy Sidle (log)

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While looking at the possibilities for different home-made bitters I ran accross Robert Hess's article for Oh Gosh where he writes:

"... I now have almost 30 bottles of home-made bitters, and I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with them all. Anyone up for swapsies?"

I'm a few weeks away from my first batch, but I love the idea. Anybody be willing to trade some bitters?

Troy, while I did make a batch of Hess House bitters, that post is in no way affiliated, endorsed or otherwise connected to Robert. However, I am still in the possession of said 30 bottles of Hess and Regans' Orange No. 5 bitters, so if anyone is up for a trans-Atlantic swap do let me know!


Edited by JayHepburn (log)

Jay Hepburn

Oh Gosh!

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My bitters are finished!

I followed Regan's recipe as closely as could, and I like what I've got. I can't wait to make some cocktails with it tomorrow.

But, I'm wondering why they're so cloudy? Anyone have a problem with orange bitters being cloudy?

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While looking at the possibilities for different home-made bitters I ran accross Robert Hess's article for Oh Gosh where he writes:

"... I now have almost 30 bottles of home-made bitters, and I’m not really sure what I’m going to do with them all. Anyone up for swapsies?"

I'm a few weeks away from my first batch, but I love the idea. Anybody be willing to trade some bitters?

Troy, while I did make a batch of Hess House bitters, that post is in no way affiliated, endorsed or otherwise connected to Robert. However, I am still in the possession of said 30 bottles of Hess and Regans' Orange No. 5 bitters, so if anyone is up for a trans-Atlantic swap do let me know!

Jay,

Please accept my apologies. I just now realized my mistake that you wrote that article and not Mr. Hess. I read it too quickly.

Also, upon further reading, I realized your synopsis of the flavor and aroma of the bitters is very similar to what I have with mine, especially in comparison to his Orange No. 6.

Great article.

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But, I'm wondering why they're so cloudy? Anyone have a problem with orange bitters being cloudy?

Most likely you'll need to run it through a Büchner funnel filter if you want it to be clear.


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