Simple to make and sure to impress the cocktail lover on your gift list, homemade bitters will enhance your bar.
I’m on a mission to add more homemade gifts to this holiday season. Making gifts means personalization, means unwinding over a project instead of fighting through the frenzy of stores (after a recent trip to the mall- my first trip in aaaages- that last point is especially noteworthy). Mostly, holiday projects mean cozy attire, Netflix and a chance to indulge in a cocktail and a wintry cookie after all that DIY-ing.
What are Bitters?
By definition, bitters are bitter and aromatic herbs and spice infusions in tinctures or spirits. You’re probably familiar with the bar staples: Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters, but with the recent focus on mixology, bitters have come to the forefront. There has been more focus on the flavors of bitters and how they can enhance a drink.
Homemade bitters with dehydrated Meyer lemon and orange peel is a classic place to start, and homemade bitters are also a chance to impress the cocktail lover in your life this holiday season.
A Note on Ingredients:
The aromatics in this recipe aren’t your everyday Whole Foods products, but if you have a local co-op with a bulk section or a spice store, you should be set. If all else fails, consult the internet.
Definitely give a bottle of homemade bitters to the whiskey enthusiast on your list (hi, that’s me!), since quality bitters are essential for Manhattans and Old Fashioned’s.
Homemade Bitters to Spare
This recipe makes 3 cups, so you’ll have enough to give to several cocktail connoisseurs on your list (and bonus, to keep some for yourself!). For good measure, pair the homemade bitters with a good quality spirit, or add a second DIY: Spiced Whiskey.
For the Fullest Flavor:
Homemade Bitters takes about three weeks to infuse, so include a note with your gift, telling your recipient when they can begin to create the perfect cocktails.
Here’s to your homemade bar and less stress this holiday season!
Recipe from Martha Stewart
4 organic oranges, well scrubbed
2 organic Meyer lemons, well scrubbed
1 tablespoon gentian root chips
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 750-ml bottle good-quality vodka
Heat oven to 200°F. Using a vegetable peeler, peel citrus to make strips of zest, being careful not to remove pith. Arrange in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until dry, about 1 hour. Let cool.
Transfer zest to a 1-quart glass jar and top with remaining ingredients. Cover tightly and store in a cool, dark place for three weeks, shaking jar once a day.
Pour liquid through a fine mesh strainer or paper coffee filter and into a clean jar. Add citrus zest and discard aromatics.