D.I.Y. Angostura Cocktail Bitters

Picture of D.I.Y. Angostura Cocktail Bitters
Most of us have heard of Angostura Bitters, and probably have an aged bottle in our pantry somewhere for use in the occasional Manhattan or other classic cocktail. But what are Bitters?

Bitters are the bartenders' secret. They are liquid concentrations of flavors. Some of them have dozens of botanicals -- spices, herbs, obscure roots, leaves, flower buds -- collected, concentrated, extracted into an alcoholic base. Liquid alchemy, steeped in history, folklore, and mythology -- these wondrous and obscure concoctions have come into their own.

A revolution that started with microwbrewed beers and then graduated to microdistilled vodkas, gins and other artisan small-batch products -- now has a new competitive ground: the bitter. The world's best restaurants and mixologists are making their own bitters and using their unique properties -- lemon bitters, spiced bitters, chocolate bitters, even sriracha bitters -- to drive a new level of signature drink.

So, can you make your own? Absolutely! Tracking down the ingredients can be somewhat of a treasure hunt. This recipe also requires a little TLC and patience. 

I've tweaked the original recipe inspired by the book " Bitters" by Brad T. Parsons.  I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of bitters or making your own. 

Keep an eye out for my signature chocolate bitters. They should be ready soon! :)

TheresaS34 months ago

I just finished my first batch using this recipe. My mother owns a restaurant in Wisconsin where old fashions are a staple in their diet. This recipe is a dead ringer for angostura. The only thing missing is the color which is important in the industry. I'm going to play with some caramel color and orange color to get that classic rusty hue that customers expect. My question...many recipes say that Everclear makes a better catalyst. Have you tried that instead of the rye?

lmnopeas (author)  TheresaS34 months ago

The caramel color is a great idea to achieve the orange color. Let me know if it works. I haven't tried using Everclear. It would be good to experiment with both and see which one you like better. Keep in mind that's it's a long process, but well worth it. I used vodka for my chocolate bitters and that batch came out amazing.

Do you maker Shrubs in house as well?

mixer2255 months ago

Do you know how they make Shibitters? Its my favorite, and taste different than typical bitters. http://www.shibitters.com/

shancre2 years ago
Quick question for you.

I wanted to make a Tulasi/ginger/lime flavor concentrate to be mixed with club soda.
My 'victims' would be furious if i made them unwittingly partake of alcohol.

1. Can I use dry tulsi leaves for this?
2. Is there any way to do w/o the alcohol?
3. If alcohol is a must, can it be removed from the solution/syrup later?
4. If it can't is there any flavorless alcohol that can be used instead?
jhill123 years ago
Thanks for this wonderful recipe! I'm thinking of making and gifting this for the holidays. I would also like to ask permission to sell this at a farmer's market I go to, would that be okay with you?

Also when a few questions about the ingredients list:
I'm assuming you meant to put "1/4 cup quassia chips"? the list just says "1/4 quassia chips"

And for the cinnamon sticks (I'm purchasing through Rose Mountain) are you using the Cassia Sticks or the Sweet Sticks?

And must I use Turbinado Sugar? Could I possibly use Cane Sugar instead or any other type?

Thank you again!
lmnopeas (author)  jhill123 years ago
I updated the ingredients. I did mean 1/4 cup. Don't forget to add a couple cracked cardamom pods as well. Go with the Cassia sticks.

Turbinado sugar is unrefined and has some of the brown or molasses like flavors. If what you mean is cane sugar that is amber colored and unrefined, absolutely! Don't use the standard refined white sugar. Demerara is another good option.

As for selling these, there are certain steps you have to take in order to sell them legally. The farmers market may have their own rules about the sale of bitters because they contain alcohol. Check out this website and it will guide you in the right direction.

Good luck!
mikeasaurus3 years ago
Awesome, I always wondered what made my Manhattans so tasty!
lmnopeas (author)  mikeasaurus3 years ago
thanks! just a couple drops works wonders!