Friday, March 9, 2012

Making Bitters at Home

Oh, it's been a busy time and I should have been writing since January but I've been remiss. Now I'm finally getting down to making something I've been talking about for a long time, Bitters. I'm so excited about this I want to share the experience.
I like cocktails that are on the bitter side. I've always been partial to drinks made with Tonic because I like the taste of Quinine. Over the years I've enjoyed mixing drinks and making girly cocktails ~ ones that sort of hide the flavor of the alcohol or mute it so the drink is easy on the palate. I've been fascinated with bitters and making a drink for myself that wasn't sweet but also hid the harsh flavor of alcohol. Then a friend turned me onto the Negroni and I was hooked. My interest in making bitters had a fire lit under it!

It all started most recently (around the holidays), then about 6 weeks ago to be more exact. I was experimenting with making the perfect Negroni (for myself that is~ and that I would share with my Velvet Chef friends). So I set out to buy the ingredients. The NYTimes published the best Negroni Recipe which in a nutshell calls for 1 part Campari, 1 part Carpano Antica the Sweet Vermouth, and 3 parts Gin. I modified this (which I'll get to later) but didn't get around to adding the twist of orange or lemon which is what brings me to today. You see I wanted to add some home made bitters. A friend of mine who owns the most beautiful Stereo Store in New York City makes his Negroni with just a touch of bitters and it's divine.

It began about 3 times a week as I sat down with dinner and what I thought was just a little taste of a Negroni. It was an arduous trial I tell you, teeheehee. Getting drunk at home with my dinner just after the first drink but tasting 2-3 drinks every time. It got to the point that if I was going to work the next day I just had to try only one. For some reason I just couldn't make them small enough.

I finally made the drink though don't quote me on this because I was so drunk I sort of lost track.
a touch less than 1/2 part Campari
a touch more than 1/2 part Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
a touch more than 1 part Gin
Just combined and served over ice.

This was really just personal taste I found the Gin a little over powering in the NYTimes recipe. I didn't experiment with different Gin, I used Sapphire.  I really like the taste of the Carpano Antica it's expensive but worth it and the bottle is so big it's going to last a long time.The Campari can be a little over powering and sweet so don't use too much.

I'm so excited to begin and let you know how it all comes out. You see I've been talking about making my own bitters for a long time. I've had huge success with making my own Vanilla extract~ I haven't bought vanilla extract in close to 15 years. I think I can handle making my own bitters too!

Right now today I'm about to embark on a shopping spree with my list for making bitters. I've started by reading SpiritsandCocktails blog he tells a little about what bitters are and lists a couple of recipes.  I've got a list of ingredients I have no idea what they really are or what they taste like such as : Quassia and Calamus and Catechu (from the recipes)  among other ingredients I am going to purchase at Kalustyans.

Then I'm going to tell you about the chewy chocolate chunk cookies I make and the chewy fudgy brownies I'm going to make!!! YAY
Have Fun and Enjoy!

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