Orange Bitters

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I found this recipe in Sunset Magazine a few years ago, when they were featuring different ways to infuse alcohols with citrus. We actually made all of the infused alcohols, and had a citrus cocktail party.IMG_5702

If you like to make Manhattans or Old-Fashioneds, give this bitters a try. There’s not a lot of hands on time, and with a little patience you’ll end up with a big batch of delicious bitters that you can package up as gifts for your friends.

Zest two oranges and dry out the zest in the oven at 250 degrees for about 20 minutes.IMG_5711

Combine dried out orange zests, cardamom pods, star anise, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and ginger in a jar with the Everclear. Let sit for two weeks.

Strain liquid through cheesecloth into a 1 1/2- to 2-qt. glass jar (save flavorings) and set aside. Put flavorings in a small saucepan with 2 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Set aside.

Cook sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, lifting and shaking pan occasionally, until sugar caramelizes and turns deep amber, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour caramel into liquid in pan (it will bubble furiously and may firm up). If needed, return pan to medium heat and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until caramel melts again. Set pan in a bowl of ice water until liquid is cold, about 10 minutes. Pour back into your jar, seal and let stand in a dark place 5 days.

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After 5 days, strain the bitters and bottle them in fun smaller bottles that you can give as gifts. And now, make yourself a cocktail!

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Orange Bitters

  • Servings: Four 8 oz bottles
  • Difficulty: Medium
  • Print

Ingredients

2 oranges
1 bottle (750 ml.) Everclear* (grain alcohol)
10 cardamom pods
2 whole star anise pods
3 cinnamon sticks (each 2 1/2 in.)
1 teaspoon whole cloves
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. chopped fresh ginger
1 cup sugar

1. Preheat oven to 250°. Remove zest from oranges with a vegetable peeler and put zest on a baking sheet (save fruit for another use). Bake until zest dries, starts to curl up, and begins to brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool.

2. Put all ingredients except sugar in a 1-qt. glass jar and seal tightly. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks.

3. Strain liquid through cheesecloth into a 1 1/2- to 2-qt. glass jar (save flavorings) and set aside. Put flavorings in a small saucepan with 2 cups water. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Set aside.

4. Cook sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, lifting and shaking pan occasionally, until sugar caramelizes and turns deep amber, 8 to 10 minutes. Pour caramel into liquid in pan (it will bubble furiously and may firm up). If needed, return pan to medium heat and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until caramel melts again.

5. Set pan in a bowl of ice water until liquid is cold, about 10 minutes. Pour into jar with first infusion. Seal and let stand in a dark place 5 days.

6. Strain final mixture through cheesecloth into a glass measuring cup and discard flavorings. Divide bitters into small jars and seal tightly.

Make ahead: Up to 1 year, chilled.

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