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Cocktails & Spirits

Brewing my own bitters

CaptCrunch | Nov 12, 201412:55 PM     15

Hello gentlemen and gentle ladies!

I thought I might not be the only cocktail enthousiast on this board (maybe we are two!)

Having recently gotten my grubby little hands on the recipe of a great proprietary drink from a bar which I will withhold the identity, I was faced with the strange necessity of brewing my own bitters since they brew theirs and it is part of the recipe.

Their recipe calls for "chinese bitters" and is a play on the chinese five spices.

All in all I will do 3 batches and they will be a hybrid from the recipes I found on the internet, rumours of the composition of this bitter and recipes from Brad Thomas Parsons's book "Bitters"(see http://www.amazon.com/Bitters-Spirite...).

The alcohol I used was "global 94% grain alcohol" and most of my aromatics and bittering agents were obtained at "la bottine aux herbes" on saint-laurent, "la branche d'olivier" in verdun and another chinese market in verdun.

I will leave the ingredients in the alcohol 2 weeks in a dark and cool place (shaking each day), will filter the solids out on nov 23, will simmer them for 10 minutes in water, keep them in the water solution for another week and then, finally, filtering out the solids of the water solution and combining it with the alcohol, adding 2 teaspoon of simple sirup.

Batch #1
This is a batch of the bitter I think the bar makes. I'm not sure of the proportions but I heard "jamaican pepper" and I didn't hear any mention of bittering agents.

• 500ml grain alcohol
• 250ml water
• 1 star anise
• 4 cloves
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 teaspoon jamaican pepper (allspice)
• 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
• 2 teaspoon simple sirup

Batch #2
This is a batch made from an adaptation of Brad Thomas Parson's recipes and uses bittering agents and proper szechuan pepper.

• 500ml grain alcohol
• 250ml water
• 1 star anise
• 4 cloves
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 teaspoon Szechuan pepper
• 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
• ½ teaspoon angelica root
• ½ teaspoon gentian root
• 2 teaspoon simple sirup

Batch #3
This batch doubles all the ingredients in the same amount of solution. It is based on something I read about tinctures and herbalist proportions being 1 in 5 of solid vs liquid.

• 500ml grain alcohol
• 250ml water
• 2 star anise
• 8 cloves
• 2 chinese cinnamon stick
• 2 teaspoon Szechuan pepper
• 2 teaspoon fennel seeds
• 1 teaspoon angelica root
• 1 teaspoon gentian root
• 2 teaspoon simple sirup

I have bought other bittering agents with which I will make tinctures to get a better idea of their proprieties. I had initially a list of 20 with no clue at all where I was going so I let la bottine aux herbe's specialist choose some for me. I chose 2 for my chinese bitter based on smell. The list to choose from is pretty large (!)

Angelica root
Dandelion bark/leaf
Barberry root bark
Birch leaf
Black walnut leaf
Burdock root
Calamus root
Chiraya
Cinchona bark (aka peruvian bark)
Devil’s club root (devil’s club stick)
Fringe tree bark
Gentian root
Horehound
Licorice root
Orris root
Quassia chips
Wild chery bark
Wormwood

I should have everything ready early december and I'll tell you which recipe I prefer!

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