For the second time, I’ve set out to make my own bitters. This time I’m making a few different varieties, and I bottled the first of them over the weekend. Apple Pie Bitters.
If you’ve never made your own bitters, it is as complex or simple as you want it to be. You can put everything in a single container or use separate containers. Once you combine your herbs, spices or fruits with high-proof alcohol, all you need to do is store them in a dark space agitate the bottle every day or two. I highly recommend getting glass containers. I went with a variety of Mason style jars in four, eight and thirty-two ounces. For the apple pie bitters, I used three different extractions.
The first extraction is of apples. I took a few apple and skinned them. I then aged them for about a month in high-proof rum. Overall, they ended up being a beautiful red, but didn’t have as much of an apple taste as I had hoped. I think next time I’ll try using dried apples in addition or in place of the fresh.
The second extraction was mulling spices. These really came alive with flavor. Two weeks in a mix of high-proof rum and neutral grain spirit and these smelled and tasted fantastic. There wasn’t much of a color change, but I think that might be more due to the length of time that they spent. There was a reddish tint, but not nearly as much as the apples.
The final component is a general bitter mix that I am using for all the varieties. The liqueur is all neutral grain spirit. I used Green cardamom, Gentian Root, Birch Bark, Calamus Root, WormWood, and Humulus Lupulus. This might be the most bitter thing I have ever tasted and if it was possible for something to smell bitter, this would do it. A bit goes a long way and I think I used a bit too much this time around. It has a beautiful green color.
The final mixture is equal parts all three tinctures. The bitter green, light red and deep red combined to form a beautiful brown. I think next time I’ll cut the amount of bitter mixture in half and also increase the percent of apples. Next up is the more adventurous Fruit Punch Bitters. Ever since deciding to try that one I’ve been wondering what to mix it with. We will see how they come out.