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Great cooking requires not only incredible ingredients but knowing how to season your dish to bring out and enhance the essential flavors that make the dish shine. A dash of salt, a sprinkle of pepper and a bit of herbs can transform a plain chicken breast into something that can make your mouth water. The same theory can be applied to the cocktail game by using bitters. A mix of aromatic botanicals, spices, and fruits infused into alcohol. Historically they were used as medicinal compounds and digestifs they are most commonly found used as a way to bring lots of flavor to cocktails.
A common ingredient in a lot of our cocktails, we have found ourselves adding lots of various types of bitters to our collection, from the classics like Angostura bitters and orange bitters, to some specialty ones like creole or Boston bitters. Being the kind of folks who like to experiment with new recipes, it was only a matter of time before we had an opportunity to make our own bitters.
We recently had the chance to try out a make your own bitters kit from Thistle and Vine Company, who sells DIY bitters kits so that cocktail enthusiasts like us can make our own bitters. We got in their coffee and chocolate bitters kit, and on one of the many cool and rainy weekends we have had this spring, we decided to give bitters making a try. The kit came with all the stuff we needed to make our bitters except for vodka. Attractively packaged, the kits come with a mixing jar, filter and funnel, two bitters bottles and most importantly two tins that contain all the botanicals needed to make bitters.
Simply mixing vodka and the enclosed botanicals into the mixing jar and letting them steep for 14 days with an occasional shake of the bottle to give it a mix. After 14 days, we used the included filter bag to strain out the solids. After making a bit of rich simple syrup and adding that to the mix, we bottled up the mix into the included dasher bottles and BOOM we have bitters!
Simple to make is great, but more importantly how do the bitters taste? This batch had a great coffee and chocolate aroma and a balanced flavor of rich mocha. Stay tuned as we find out how they taste in the next few weeks as we give them a try in a couple of recipes.
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