Wednesday, May 21, 2008

orange bitters

I've been playing around with making liquers recently. Earlier this week got two "presents": one I bought for myself (my new SF Chronicle II cookbook) and one Beckey got for me: a bottle of orange bitters. These are non-alcoholic blood orange bitters (from Stirrings, a Fall River, MA company). Contents: water, sugar, gentian extract, citric acid, blood orange extract, flavors and caramel color.

I can do better than that! Plus you have to refrigerate after opening, which I don't like. So I started doing research...that's why I love the interweb. Really it's amazing to me that you can go out and find recipes.

Some things I learned so far:
  • you can make herb and bark infusions separately in jars, then blend them to taste
  • a Buchner funnel + flask and vacuum pump can help a lot to speed filtering
  • don't fear pith! a bit of pith can add flavor
Orange Bitters

* 1/2 pound dried (Seville) orange peel, chopped finely
* Pinch of cardamom
* Pinch of caraway
* Pinch of coriander seeds
* 2 cups grain alcohol
* 4 tablespoons burnt sugar

1. Mix the orange peel, herb seeds, and the alcohol
2. Let stand in a sealed jar for 15 days, agitating every day.
3. Pour off spirits through a cloth, and seal again.
4. Take the strained off seeds and peel, put them in a saucepan, crushing with a wooden muddler.
5. Cover them with boiling water, simmer 5 minutes;
6. Put in a covered jar for 2 days, then strain this off and add to the spirits.
7. Put in burnt sugar for color.
8. Filter again, let stand until it settles perfectly clear, then bottle for use.

Be careful not to agitate the slight precipitation or sediment during the final operation.

Some links I found: for science gear for above recipe and other orange bitters resources.

Here are some bitters flavors to consider:

  • Lemon juice, peel, pith
  • Blood orange juice, peel, pith
  • Sour orange peel (naranja agria), juice, pith
  • navel orange juice, peel, pith
  • grapefruit juice, peel, pith
  • grapefruit juice, peel, pith
  • lime juice, peel, pith
  • cardamom
  • caraway
  • coriander
  • ginger
  • cloves
  • star anise
  • fresh ginger
  • burnt sugar
  • molasses
  • juniper berries
  • gentian
  • lemongrass
  • nutmeg
  • fennel seed
  • vanilla
  • black pepper
  • white pepper
  • almond (raw, roasted or toasted)
  • apricot kernel
  • sloe berry
  • birch bark
  • caramelized sugar (sugar turned to caramel, then into simple syrup)
  • rose petals
  • orris root
  • angelica root
  • lavender
Which reminds me, I'll have to post a krupnikas recipe soon...

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