Sunday, October 5, 2014

Homemade adult beverages from homegrown ingredients

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Bitters are a combination of alcohol, herbs, spices and other flavorings.  They were once sold as medicine.  Today, they are used to add unique, fun flavors to cocktails.  Use your imagination to create your own signature adult beverages!

Bittering agents:  Barberry root, Burdock root bark, Black walnut leaf, Dandelion root, Gentian root, Quassia bark, wormwood

Aromatics: Fresh and dried fruits, Apple peel, Chile peppers, Fresh or dried citrus peel, toasted nuts, Hibiscus, Hops, Lavender, Rose, Allspice berries, Caraway seeds, Coriander seeds, Fennel seeds, Cardamom pods, Cinnamon sticks, Fresh or dried ginger, Juniper berries, Lemongrass, Dried lemon verbena, Dried mint, Black or white peppercorns, Star anise, Vanilla extract, seeds or pods.

1/4 to 1/2 cup main aromatics, or more to taste
1-4 tablespoons supporting aromatics (choose 2-5)
1-4 tablespoons bittering agents (choose 2-4)
1 cup high-proof alcohol (150-160 proof)
1 tablespoon sugar dissolved in 2 teaspoons water

Place aromatics and bittering agents in a canning jar and add the alcohol.  Seal and shake well.  Store in a cool dark place.  Shake daily and taste for up to 21 days.

When taste is to your liking, strain through cheesecloth.  Stir in dissolved sugar water.

Keep in sealed jar at room temperature.  Use a dash in cocktails, soda water, coffee, tea, and almost any sweet or savory dish!

You could go on the hunt for old fashioned bitter jars to store them in.  Stored in interesting jars can make beautiful displays or gifts.
You can get a sense of the taste by steeping the combo you are thinking of trying for 5-15 minutes in boiling water.  The only limitation is your imagination!

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