Updated: Jan 13
happy february + thanks for being here. winter has arrived in our corner of montana, and i've been inspired to create concoctions in the kitchen. woohoo blood oranges have hit the grocery stores. i am not a huge citrus fan, but blood oranges are divine in my opinion. so i decided to make bitters, what are bitters anyway?
originally bitters was a medicinal herbal preparation to aid in digestion, and that is basically what it still is today. bitters is usually a combination of bitter herbs, carminative herbs and or seeds, and citrus of some kind. however there are no rules, and you should experiment. bitters are traditionally taken before a meal, or mixed in a cocktail. cocktail bitters are a fabulous way to enhance an already great cocktail, by helping the different flavors merge. i make digestive bitters too, which are more specific to have right before a meal. today i will be discussing how to make a cocktail bitters, made of blood oranges, spices, fresh herbs, maple syrup, and 80 proof vodka.
i'll talk about alcohol proofs here for a moment, i like the flavor of 80 proof better, and this is for me personally, so that is why i'm going with an 80 proof. however, if you want more extraction, potency, or benefits going with 100 proof is the way to go. i use 100 proof in all of my tincture extraction because that's what you are going for with alcohol-based herbal preparations. this concoction today is more of a pleasure base, than an herbal remedy, but it has many benefits as well.
1 bottle of vodka 750 ml ~ personal preference
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
2 blood oranges preferably organic
2 anise star pods
10 cardamom pods
a teaspoon of caraway seeds
i started by peeling the freshly washed oranges, coarsely chopped then placed in a clean mason quart jar. then i cubed up the oranges, leaving out the white rind part. chopped up the fresh thyme, added the spices. i do pop the cardamom pods in half, to release more flavor. once all of that is in the jar, i add the maple syrup and then finally the vodka. i cap, shake well, and store in a cool dry place, out of direct sunlight. how long you let this infuse is up to you, a general rule of thumb is six weeks, and i often let some tinctures infuse for a year. alcohol preserves plant material very well, it doesn't go bad. i am going to let this infuse for a shorter amount of time, due to the fact i am having company for a while and i plan on using these bitters in cocktail making.
after your choice of infusion time, strain, and bottle. i like to save nice wine bottles, and reuse those. mason jars also work great. happy wintering
it's endless the concoctions that can be created with a bitters ingredient. this bitters would be divine mixed with sparkling water, however, i've been on a kombucha kick lately. since blood oranges are available right now, that's what i used in my last rebrew. the rebrewing of kombucha is a very simple process. simply add whatever you like at the bottling stage. i went with blood orange and ginger. i juiced the oranges with a hand juicer and grated the fresh ginger. the extra fruit does speed up the fermentation process, so don't leave them very long at room temperature. i typically leave mine on the shelf for a week or so then i put them in the fridge, to slow the fermentation. here is the photo gallery of the last rebrew, hopefully, it inspires you to jump on the kombucha bandwagon.
the perfect beverage for your next happy hour.............vodka, blood orange bitters, and this orange kombucha. yum. although these bitters aren't available for purchase, i do offer some over in my shop https://www.simplyjosephine.com/shoppe so check those out, they are seasonal delights made of fresh plant material.
thank you so much for stopping by + giving my blog a read. please share on your social media or with a friend who is interested in herbal loveliness. wishing you all a peaceful easy winter ~ cheers