Noble Experiment

Entrepreneur. Cocktail and spirit champion. Old world wine provocateur.

Homemade Bitters!


I’m making a new batch of house bitters and you should too. Modeled after those everyday aromatics bitters you always come across, these are spice driven, rich and all around delicious. I order most of my aromatic roots and leaves from the small flower apothecary in Chicago, although you can just go on amazon and grab them.

I macerate all the herbs with a little bit of the citrus peels for about 12 days, then strain and add an additional round of citrus peel at the end. That way you can get the bitterness from the pith the first time around and a lot of fresh citrus balance at the end. I also like to add a bit of rich simple syrup at the end to balance out the bitterness, as needed. This last step is optional and really depends on the balance of the final product. Use at your own discretion.


Here is what you need:
1/4 cup cinchona bark
1 Tablespoon black walnut leaves
1 tablespoon gentian
1/4 cup cloves
1/8 cup cardamom
2 Tblsp ground allspice
2 cinnamon sticks
1/4 cup juniper berries
1/2 cup raisins
1/4 cup molasses
1 tablespoon white peppercorns
Peels from two grapefruits

Steep all these ingredients in high proof alcohol, preferably 100 proof or higher. By to be honest, if all you have is 80 proof vodka or rum that ill likely work just fine. Allow it to steep for 12-14 days. Strain, add additional citrus peel and leave for another yay. Cut with rich simple syrup as needed and strain again. If you want better clarity, which you should, use cheesecloth or coffee filters for your final strain. Buy some bottles with droppera from amazon (like the ones below) and you’re good to go.



7 comments on “Homemade Bitters!

  1. Love the article and I am going to have to try the recipe. I like the idea of using raisins and molasses.

  2. Schwann
    October 2, 2013

    How much alcohol do you use?

  3. Schwann
    September 27, 2013

    Cool article/recipe, definitely going to try it myself but would like to venture further with other flavors. Is this a generic (for lack of a better term) bitters recipe? For instance, I often use orange bitters in my cocktails, would I add orange peel in addition to the grapefruit, or substitute it completely? Thanks.

    • Dave McCabe
      November 7, 2013

      This recipe is a good base that can easily be expanded to include other flavor profiles. You could swap out the grapefruit peel for orange peel to start and I might consider adding some complimentary spices like coriander, white pepper, or lavender. The sky is the limit!

  4. Jason D. Rowley
    August 21, 2013

    Which apothecary in Chicago did you get the roots and leaves?

    • Dave McCabe
      August 21, 2013

      Smallflower Apothecary. They have a nice selection and ship!

  5. Jason D. Rowley
    August 21, 2013

    Which apothecary in Chicago?

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This entry was posted on August 19, 2013 by in Bitters, Recipe and tagged , , .
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