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Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 | 2 comments

Giving the Gift of Homemade Bitters

Giving the Gift of Homemade Bitters

When I prepared orange bitters on vacation with my friend Rachel last fall, she later turned her batch into gifts, each with a personalized label and food and cocktail recipes in each package. I’m sure the recipients were delighted by her charming and thoughtful presentation. Bitters, a mix of botanicals – herbs, roots, spices, and fruits – distilled in a base alcohol, are a nice hostess or housewarming gift, or for any occasion really. In fact, this time of year is ideal to make a batch because you’re more likely to find the Seville oranges in the market, which are ideal for the infusion. Rachel and I completed Part 1 of the project, which was to prep the fruit and create the infusion. Then, 12 days later, in Part 2, we strained and steeped the mixture. Whereas I strained my batch into two larger bottles with stoppers (purchased from Crate & Barrel Outlet) and left it at that… Rachel wisely stretched her supply out by using 8, 1 oz. amber dropper...

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Posted by on Oct 17, 2013 | 0 comments

Making Orange Bitters: Part 1

Making Orange Bitters: Part 1

If you like a good classic cocktail, like a Manhattan, an Old Fashioned or the original Martini, you’ve tasted bitters without even realizing it. They’re a mix of botanicals – herbs, roots, spices, and fruits-  distilled in a base alcohol. Bitters are easy and inexpensive to make at home, and a little goes a long way. You just need a few drops in a drink to add the perfect dose of acidity and citrus. I decided to make a batch of orange bitters with my friend Rachel to use in our own home bar and give as gifts this holiday season. I consulted a few recipes to come up with our plan and gathered the supplies: A litre of 80 proof vodka, allspice, whole cloves, whole cardamon pods, some jars, and 10 oranges. We didn’t use all of these jars for Part 1, but we will eventually. True orange bitters call for the bitter Seville oranges, but they’re hard to come by this time of year. So, we settled on...

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Posted by on Feb 17, 2012 | 1 comment

A Twist on Two Classic Cocktails: The Bourbon Manhattan and Sidecar

A Twist on Two Classic Cocktails: The Bourbon Manhattan and Sidecar

Today, we welcome another guest blogger, my husband Matt. He wrote over the summer about making the perfect backyard barbecue. In this post, he shares recipes for two of his favorite wintertime cocktails made with bourbon. After Labor Day, I like to switch from tequila to bourbon. Here are two nice cocktails to make that will carry you through the winter without requiring a lot of new gear and ingredients. The Bourbon Manhattan First is the classic Manhattan. Now, a real traditional Manhattan is made with rye. But, since I like bourbon better and can use bourbon in more things, I tend to make them with bourbon. This is not uncommon. The procedure is pretty simple. Remember to put your cocktail glasses in the freezer before you start. Then, fill a cocktail shaker with ice. I like to go three parts bourbon to one part sweet vermouth. Add two or three dashes of bitters and stir (don’t shake) the mixture. Strain into the chilled glasses and add a cherry. The Bourbon...

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