Making cocktail bitters is a fun way to make distinctive flavors and a high quality bitter.
You will need:
3 Cardamon pods, 3 whole cloves, 2 cinnamon sticks, 5 dried apple slices
A mason jar with a tight fitting lid (at least 8 oz)
4 oz (about 1/2 cup) of high ABV spirits or 6 oz (about ¾ cup) vodka or other spirits with 50% alcohol per volume
How to make your bitters:
Clean a mason jar well.
Crush the cardamom and the cloves in a mortar and pestle or with a heavy glass. The cinnamon sticks are very hard and do not need to be cut. If there are some flavors you would like to highlight or downplay, feel free to improvise. It is recommended to take notes so you can tailor the recipe specifically to your tastes in future batches.
Place the spices, cinnamon sticks and apple slices in the bottom of jar and pour the alcohol over it. Close the jar and give your bitters a good shake.
Place your bitters in a cool dark place. Shake your bitters every day, or whenever you remember.
Sample the bitters every couple days. When the flavor is to your liking, strain the botanicals out of the alcohol using the cheesecloth. We let ours sit for about 10 days.
If using High ABV spirits:
Do not throw the spices away. Place the spices in 1 cup of water and bring to a boil for half an hour, or until the water changes color and becomes fragrant. Boil with the lid on, so the water won’t evaporate. Let the mixture cool. Strain the solids out of your water.
Mix the strained spirits with the strained water in a 1:1 ratio. This helps dilute the spirit to about 40-50% alcohol by volume, so you can focus on the flavors of the spices, not the alcohol.
If using Vodka, or other spirits with a lower alcohol content: You do not have to add water. Move on to the next step.
Using a funnel pour your bitters into a bottle with a shakeable lid. If you are not happy with the clarity of your bitters, you can strain it through the cheesecloth or a coffee filter a final time.
Store your bitters in a cool, dark place.