Buoyed by my success with making vanilla bitters, I decided to try a few more flavors – this time using the excellent book “Bitters” as a guide.
The bitters are pretty simple to make, with just a couple of periods of maintenance. After the initial extraction (various roots and barks in high-proof alcohol), the solids are strained out of the liquid and boiled for a short time with more water. The cooked solids are stored again, separate from the initial liquid. The final step is to strain out the solids and mix everything together along with a bit of sweetener before bottling.
Again, my favorite way to test out the bitters is in an Old Fashioned. A classmate of mine gave me some buttered-popcorn infused rum (it’s amazing!), so I used that plus demerara simple syrup and the root beer bitters to create a drink that tastes like the movies.
I like the pear bitters with aged rum and some apple-clove shrub. All of them are excellent in a glass of water – bubbly or still. They’re definitely not something that should be confined to alcoholic endeavors.