Homemade bitters are so much fun to make, and honestly not too crazy to get into. Bitters have this sense of being overly complicated and intimidating, but I have to disagree with a lot of the alcohol and cocktail world. As long as you take things one step at a time, things are pretty manageable.
I worked in Triple A 4 Diamond restaurant fresh out of high school with only a year of part time hosting experience at a Japanese restaurant prior. I was initially hired on as a host. The way the host stand was positioned I could watch the bartenders work their magic and I distinctly remember thinking, “How the fuck do they do this?” I was always in awe with bartenders after that. I loved watching them make drinks just as much I loved how knowledgable they were with literally every single bottle they had in their arsenal. I remember thinking that I could never do that.
A few years later… I was. Now I make my own bitters. I make my own shrubs. Syrups. Sodas. Beer. Gin. And can even make whiskey. And I’m telling you. It’s not that hard. Take everything slowly. Study often. Taste. Then taste again. And don’t be afraid of the trial and error that will certainly come.
Here’s an easy one for you guys:
Sage & Honeysuckle Bitters
20 Sage Leaves, remove as much stem as possible
1/4tsp Lavender Leaves, dried
1 cup Cat Head Honeysuckle Vodka
1tbs White Willow Bark
1/2tsp Dandelion Root
1/2tsp Angelica Root
1 cup NGS (Neutral Grain Spirit)
– In a large container, place all the flavoring. Seal and shake up. Let sit for at least 7 days, or to taste.
– In a different large container, place all the bittering. Seal and shake up. Let sit for 10 days, or to taste.
– Shake both containers frequently and often.
– Once each container is complete, strain with a sieve or canvas into a clean container.
– Strain once more through a coffee filter.
– Store in your choice container.