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Bitters #2: Black Peppercorn, Rosemary, Grapefruit

I said before that I would let you know about the addition of butternut squash into the base bitters posted some time ago. Well, that didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. Thankfully I didn’t use the whole 750 for that experiment. I batched off 250ml of the base and decided to try another combination: Black peppercorn, rosemary, and grapefruit. 

I soaked six cloves and 2 tablespoons of black peppercorns for 10 days, then strained them out; soaked the peel of one large pink grapefruit (sans pith) for another 10 days, strained it; and then put an ounce of rosemary into the bottle for a week. After straining the rosemary out the bitters are now sharp on the front from the grapefruit, have very nice aroma throughout from the rosemary, and finish with a little bit of burn on the back of the throat from the peppercorns.

These work quite well in whiskey drinks as the pepper brings out a lot of the darker flavors, especially in a good rye. I have yet to work with this in any gin or rum drinks, but soon enough it will be the right weather for that.

Bitters #1

A while back I decided that I wanted to make some fall and winter bitters so that i could have some more cocktail options. I wanted to make a general aromatic base that I could portion off and work with in sections:

  • 750ml Bacardi 151
  • 10 whole cloves
  • 2 tablespoons Bitter leaf
  • 1 tablespoons, 3 dashes Boldo
  • 1 tablespoons, 3 dashes Chincona Bark
  • 6 tablespoons Uña de Gato
  • 1.5 teaspoons Rue

I soaked the cloves in the bottle for 2 weeks, at which point I could smell a hint of them, then I had my chef make a series of strong teas out of each of the herbs and reduce it from a quart and a half to between 1 and 2 cups each. Then came the fun part, I started mixing the herb teas into the rum drop by drop until I reached a bitter, exotically aromatic, but still light concoction. For ease I converted the drops to spoons and dashes with one drop being a fifth of a milliliter and a dash being 4 drops.

This is a good start to some house made bitters and can be used for a lighter Sazerac, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, or anything that calls for aromatic bitters. Stay tuned for the addition of some butternut squash to the recipe.



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