Fresh and bitter at the same time. Sip on that why don’t cha.
As you know we love getting freaky with our cocktails. While on a tear making all manner of bitters we wanted to think of something that had a slightly fresher flavor that we could pair with lighter spirits. Enter the lemon basil bitters, which pair well with gin and tequila. Try it in our Sloppy Swede or do whatever feels right (or wrong as the case may be).
Equipment Needed: 2 – 1 PT Mason Jars with Lids, Vegetable Peeler, Coffee Filter, Drip Coffee Filter Basket
- 3/4 C 160 proof vodka (we used Devil’s Springs; about $17.99/750 ml)
- 1 lemon ($0.50/each)
- 1/3 C basil (we used Gotham Greens for a little locavore flair; $3.99/1 oz)
- 3 pieces dried lemongrass (about $4.99/oz)
- 1/2 TSP black peppercorns ($3.69/2.25 oz jar)
- Break the lemongrass stalks in half and add them to one of the pint jars. Pour in the peppercorns and tear up the basil into smaller pieces and add them as well.
Tear the basil into smaller pieces but don’t shred them too tiny.
- With your vegetable peeler remove the peel of a lemon being careful to get as little of the pith (white part) as possible. Add this to the jar with the other dry ingredients and pour in the vodka.
- Seal the jar and give it a good swirl. Place it in the fridge and let it steep for one week, swirling the mixture every other day.
- After week one remove the basil pieces and place it back in your ice box. Infuse for another week with the same swirling schedule.
- At the end of the second week, place a coffee filter in the basket of a drip coffee maker and place it over the mouth of the other mason jar.
- Pour the liquid through the coffee filter to strain out the solids. Mix with 1/4 C of our base bitters recipe and let sit for at least a day for the flavors to meld.
Classic cocktailing made way easier than we thought it would be.
We’ve been enjoying our cocktails lately and were inspired by a recent libation featuring scotch and tobacco bitters. Yes, tobacco bitters. Inspired, we hit the interwebs to cull together the best of the best bitters recipes so we could start getting freaky with our flavors. The recipe below is a simple base which can be used on its own in cases where you’d use Angostura Bitters, or as a base for other flavors. The hardest part of making your own is patience but just remember that nothing’s more badass than rolling into a situation with home-infused party starters.
Equipment Needed: 2 – 1 QT Mason Jars with Lids, Meat Tenderizer (optional), Coffee Filter, Drip Coffee Filter Basket
- 2 C 160 proof vodka (we’ve heard people use Everclear but warning label scared us away so we opted for Devil’s Springs; about $17.99/750 ml)
- 1 1/2 TSP gentian root (you’re definitely going to need to order this online or go to a specialty spice shop like Kalustyan’s; about $4.99/oz)
- 4 star anise pods (about $4.99/oz)
- 1 TBSP green cardamom pods (about $6.99/oz)
- 2 small cinnamon sticks (about $3.59/2 oz jar)
- Crack the cardamom pods and put them in the mason jar.
Use a meat tenderizer to make things go faster.
- Pour the alcohol in add the rest of the ingredients. Secure the lid and give things a good swirl.
- Let the mixture sit for about 10 days, swirling it every other day to mix things up a bit. On the last day place a coffee filter in the basket of a drip coffee maker and place it over the mouth of another mason jar.
- Pour the base liquid through the coffee filter to strain out all the solids. To make flavored bitters add 1/4 C of the base to 3/4 C of the flavored infusion.
You may need to tilt the basket a bit to keep the flow once the smaller pieces start to amass around the drip opening.
A little jar of sunshine to fight those winter blues.
Our friend, Nette over at Late Night Jam turned us on to the whole infused liquor thing when she started experimenting with vanilla, jasmine tea, etc. to add some more flavor to her potato juice. It being blood orange season and all we decided to give it a whirl and let’s just say that the results were much tastier than anything with a marketing budget.
Equipment Needed: Airtight Jar or Bottle, Chef’s Knife, Cutting Board, Strainer
- 1 750 ml bottle of vodka (this is no time to prove you’re a baller, just get something that’s triple distilled to avoid any funkiness)(about $13/bottle)
- 2 blood oranges ($2.49/lb)
- 2 TBSP honey ($4.39/12 oz)
- Wash the oranges thoroughly and cut off the ends where it’s nothing but skin and pith (the white part). Slice each orange as thinly as possible crosswise. You want to make sure each piece has as much surface area as possible to help speed the infusion process.
Cut the slices slightly thicker than the width of your knife for perfect infusion width.
- Put the orange slices in the bottom of your container (we recommend a large mason jar or a swing top with a rubber seal). Squeeze in about two tablespoons of honey, douse everything with vodka and close the container tightly. Viola! That’s it.
Honey helps break down the fruit and keep things slightly sweet.
- The hardest part of this recipe is waiting, which you should do for 5-7 days to get optimal flavor. After a certain point the orange skins will turn the alcohol bitter, which negates why you did this in the first place so you’ll have to test it (aw shucks). When the vodka has absorbed the right amount of flavor you’ll want to strain out the pieces before serving.
Strain out the fruit, you can snack on the pieces if you want (they're now vodka-infused fruit).
You can tell it's classy because it comes with a straw....in a mason jar.
This was the hit of our friend Gillian’s birthday party last weekend. The deceptively sweet mix evokes thoughts of summer and hanging out in Uncle Buck’s back yard (especially the boozy slurring part). We had the added pleasure of using home-infused vodka (the recipe will be coming soon) giving our taste buds an extra rich wallop of vanilla. Skip Aunt Mildred’s vacation slide show and sneak into the kitchen for another.
Equipment Needed: Tall Glass, Spoon
- 2 oz vanilla vodka (about $26/liter)
- 6 oz root beer ($1.39/2 liters)
- Ice cubes (use your tap, genius)
- Fill the glass half full with ice. Add liquid ingredients and stir. Prost!