Bitters are a bartender’s secret weapon to fantastic cocktails. A drop of this herbal and citrus infusion, or tincture, in your cocktail will give it that extra “something something”. Bitters in sparkling water make a refreshing summer quencher.
Brian Means’ Fifth Floor Citrus Bitters
1 bottle high-proof rum, whiskey or vodka
2 medium lemons (peeled without the white part)
2 large oranges (peeled without the white part)
2 limes (peeled without the white part)
2 cinnamon stick
4 pods of green cardamom – crushed
1 tsp. Gentian root powder
2 tsp. Cubeb berry, crushed
2 tsp. coriander seed
1/2 to 1 cup sugar
2 cups water
Combine everything except the sugar and water in a large mason jar. Let the bitters infuse for 2 weeks and shake the jar daily. After 2 weeks, strain through cheesecloth (save the spices but throw out the fruit peels, tie up tightly).
In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and water and the reserved cheesecloth bundle of herbs, and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 5 – 10 minutes then let cool. Pour the spiced sugar syrup into the bitter blend and let the mixture rest for 5 days. Strain the bitters using cheesecloth and bottle. Use in any cocktail recipe calling for bitters.