While this may seem a little obsessive, making your own bitters, when a simple trip to the store is far quicker. I like going the extra bit to make it from scratch. That and I can say I know how to do it and isn’t learning to make something new part of the fun and the challenge? Have fun everyone!
Before you start there are a few things that are needed:
3 glass jars that can hold up to 2 cups of liquid with sealable lids, a dehydrator or oven with baking sheets, oh and a little patience. This takes about 4 weeks to make.
4-5 oranges, pealed
1 cup Everclear
1 teaspoon gentian root, available online
1 teaspoon quassia bark, available online
1 1/2 cups good bourbon, I used Knob Creek
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
4 star anise pods
Zest the oranges using a vegetable peeler and place peel in a dehydrator, set the machine to 200 degrees and allow to dry for up to 3 hours. This can also be done in a oven with a convection setting. Check the peels periodically to avoid burning.
Cool the zest and place in a jar with 1/2 of the Everclear. This is the orange flavoring.
Combine the caraway seeds, cloves, star anise in another jar with the remaining 1/2 cup of Everclear. This is the spice for your mix.
Mix the gentian root and quassia bark in a jar with the bourbon. This is the bitter part of the mix.
Over the next 2 weeks give each to the sealed jars a bit of a swirl and shake each day. You’re just make sure that all the orange is submerged as much as possible and nothing in any of the bottles is drying out.
After your two weeks has elapsed stain out each jar and reserve the orange peel. It’s now time for everything to hangout together with the orange peel for an additional 2 weeks.
Stain the mixture once again and store in a sealed bottle. 🍸