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Better Bitters

For the tastiest drinks, make your own flavored bitters.

Better Bitters

Bitters add a little depth and mystery to the flavor of cocktails and nonalcoholic drinks. You can buy them in most supermarkets, but why not make your own? It’s so easy, and you can experiment with all kinds of flavors.

You can follow this bitters recipe, find a recipe online, or create something of your own. It’s important to have at least one bittering agent in the mix, like gentian or quassia. Aside from that, you can have fun mixing various flavors. It’s a great way to make your party beverages truly special!



Step #1: Measure.

Better Bitters
  • For an 8oz jar, you’ll need about 2oz of herbs in total. Put the jar on the scale and reset it to zero.
  • Add 1⁄2oz of bittering agent. Then add 1⁄4oz of each of the spices. Next, chop up 2oz of dried fruit, so more of its surface area will come in contact with the alcohol.
  • Add it to the jar.

Step #2: Steep.

Better Bitters
  • Pour vodka until the jar is filled to about 2" below the rim.
  • Cover it tightly, and set it in a cool, dark place.
  • Let the mixture steep for 1–2 weeks, gently shaking the jar daily.

Step #3: Test.

Better Bitters
  • Now it’s time to taste your bitters and see how the flavor is developing. But don’t taste them straight! The flavor is much too concentrated. Try putting a few drops in a half glass of sparkling water.
  • If you like the flavor, move on. If you’re not quite happy, try tweaking it.

Step #4: Tweak and bottle.

Better Bitters


This project first appeared in CRAFT Volume 10, pages 106-107.

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