Entrepreneur. Cocktail and spirit champion. Old world wine provocateur.
Lots of people make their own bitters these days, myself included. But that takes a lot of time and patience, which sometimes I have and sometimes I don’t. This is one of those times that I don’t.
But just because you’re not interested in watching wormwood infuse for weeks doesn’t mean you have to stick to the Angostura or to any other variety of commercially available bitters. Lately, I’ve taken to combining a variety of commercial bitters with a few spices into my own house blend. This is a nice shortcut way to get a unique and complex flavor into your cocktails without the long wait of making your own bitter infusions.
My winter house blended bitters uses lots of commercial varieties, but leans heavily on cinnamon and allspice notes from Angostura and Fee Brothers Old Fashioned. Those flavors are complimented by orange and anise notes from Regan’s and Peychauds, as well as by a little kick of chocolate. Then I spice it up with some whole allspice berries and celery seed. The resulting mix is a lovely wintry mix that is all my own, with a little help from my friends.
Here is the recipe that I use for my house blend winter bitters:
1/2 oz Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged Old Fashioned
1/2 oz Angostura
1/4 oz Peychaud’s
1/4 oz Regans Orange
1/8 oz Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate
To taste, add Celery Seed and allspice to the bitters above, allowing them to soak for a day or two. The resulting flavor profile is rich with notes of cinnamon, chocolate, orange, and allspice. It has great depth and complexity and is a quick but effective way to make a drink uniquely your own.
Winter Rye Old Fashioned
2 oz Breuckelen 77 Whiskey
1 Demerera Sugar Cube
1/4 oz Winter Bitter Blend
Soak the sugar cube with the bitters then crush with a muddler to combine. Add Breuckelen Whiskey and ice, then stir. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass and garnish with an orange peel.