DIY: At Home Cocktail Bitters

By Melissa Massello

You love cooking together because it brings out your creativity, your inner mad scientists. From classic cocktails like Manhattans and Sazeracs to modern creations, bitters are a must-have on any craft bar cart -- not to mention one of the most giftable, favor-able cocktail DIYs. Originally created for medicinal purposes as botanical digestifs, bitters have been used to punch up craft cocktails since before Prohibition, and thebest bartenders agreehandcrafted bitters are having a moment. Right. Now.

Basic instructions:
Start with a really smooth everyday vodka, then add a bittering agent (bark or root) and your favorite dried flavors (fruits, spices, flowers, herbs, even vegetables) -- about 1 tablespoon per 4 ounces of alcohol, say the experts -- and let sit in a jar with a tight-fitting lid in a cool, dry place for 7 to 10 days. Single-ingredient flavors (orange, grapefruit, chocolate) can be made in a single jar, more complex flavors might use various jars you can then blend together in a zillion ways once they're done steeping.

Try making these recipes:

Signature Cocktail:

The Ultimate Old Fashioned

By Ryan Foy, Momtastic


  • Four Oranges
  • 1 tsp. each of whole cloves, whole allspice, cardamom seeds, and coriander seeds
  • 4 oz dropper bottles
  • Knife and cutting board
  • Everclear grain alcohol
  • Large glass bottle
  • coffee filter


  • Place sugar cube in an old fashion glass and saturate with bitters; add a dash of plain water
  • Muddle until dissolves
  • Fill the glass with ice cubes and add whiskey
  • Garnish with an orange slice and a cocktail cherry

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