Citrus Bitters: Phase II

by Madeline Popelka

When I got back from Hawaii I was really excited to see my bitters baby that I left with Kendall. Just in case there are a few of you who missed my first bitters post (scroll down and read it!), we basically just threw a bunch of citrus peels, roots, and spices in a mason jar with some Everclear, and stored it at room temperature. 


Over those 14 days, the liquor went from clear to a swampy orange color. Everclear, which is a 151 proof grain alcohol (75.5% alcohol by volume), can pick up the flavoring elements much faster than lower proof liquor, due to its low sugar content. If we used 80 or 90 proof vodka, the infusion process would take twice as long, and it still wouldn’t extract as much flavor.

When I cracked the jar open for the first time, it smelled delicious—similar to the scent of an orange spice tea. When I brought my nose a little closer to the jar and took a whiff, I thought my nose was going to fall off! Yeah… don’t try to smell Everclear. It hurts! 


Okay, Phase II. The first thing we had to do was strain the liquor through cheesecloth to remove all of solids. We just put some cheesecloth over the jar, secured it with a rubber band, and poured the liquid into a bowl (this got a little messy), and then transferred it to a clean jar. Next time, I think we will try straining the liquor through a cheesecloth-lined funnel into another mason jar.


Next, we cooked the solids down in a saucepan with 1 cup of water, and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. 


Then we let it cool, and threw it in a fresh mason jar. For a week we are going to have this jar stored at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, giving it a shake once a day.


Just a few more final steps (and a little more waiting) till we have some citrus bitters to spice up our cocktails!