Add your own unique flavour to cocktails with homemade bitters. Here’s how
Making your own bitters at home is a lot easier than you may think. However, we need to understand a few things first. Cocktails, by definition, are made up of four essential ingredients: spirits, sugar, water and bitters. Spirits are self-explanatory. The sugar and water elements can be exactly that or they can take on other forms, such as syrups and juices. Bitters are much more complex, though. Bartenders use bitters to bridge the flavours of spirits, sugar and water so they come together. The key to selecting the right bitter is to use one that complements the other three components in the cocktail.
The classic—and sessionable—red wine punch from Bodega on Main
• 1 lemon • 1 orange • 1/2 apple • Handful blackberries • 1 bottle (750 mL) Spanish red wine • 1.5 oz Triple Sec or Grand Marnier • 1.5 oz brandy • 2 oz lemonade • 2 oz orange juice • 6 to 8 oz soda water or 7Up
At Camp Up, smoky and bitter flavours combine in an appealingly dark sipper.
• 0.75 oz Los Siete Misterios Doba Yej mezcal
• 0.75 oz Cazadores blanco tequila • 0.75 oz El Bandarra vermouth • 0.3 oz Legend Naramaro • 0.3 oz Odd Society Mia Amata amaro • Dash Apothecary Bitters Darkness Coffee and Cacao Bitters • Garnish: orange twist
Recipe by Premium Bartender Andrew Kong at H Tasting Lounge at The Westin Bayshore, in partnership with Tealeaves. The cocktail comes in two parts, an infused-gin-and-tea base and a citrus-soda side. As you pour the citrus into the infused gin, the acidity transforms the deep blue to bright purple. Magic.
• 2 oz Star of Bombay Gin infused with Tealeaves Classic Blue Blend (see note)
• 0.5 oz steeped Tealeaves Classic Blue Blend tea
• 0.75 oz lemon juice
• 0.75 oz elderflower cordial
• 2 oz ume (plum wine)
• 0.5 oz soda water