I just can't make a decent pan sauce to save my life. Last night, I had some lovely pan juices from steak. I sauteed a minced shallot in the juices with a little extra butter to deglaze. Then over low heat, I added a scant 1/4 cup of bourbon and struck a match, then I added several cubes of frozen demi-glace and brought the sauce back to a boil over medium heat. I finished it with a splash of light cream. It was awful. Pale, greasy and bitter with little beef flavor. I knew the drippings weren't burnt when I started, and the gravy didn't burn while I was cooking it--so why was it so bitter?
I have a related problem with poultry gravies. I love high-roast birds, but I never seem to get any quality drippings for gravy because everything burns up, or gets absorbed into the veggies.