Homemade Bitters

I’ve been using bitters in lots of cocktails recently and have really been intrigued with the idea of making my own. I looked up multiple recipes for homemade bitters and after writing down some of the most common ingredients, I set out to make my own.

I looked up spice stores in San Diego and came across a really cool store in Ocean Beach that specializes in herbs, spices, teas and many natural remedies called In Harmony Herbs and Spices. The staff was really friendly and were able to locate the ingredients I needed in the specified amounts. I purchased 7 different ingredients for under $20. Pretty good for organic and locally grown herbs!

Here are the ingredients I purchased (in 1 oz increments) along with their traditional medicinal uses if any.

Ingredients:

Cardamom – digestive aid, helps with oral infection

Whole Cloves – digestive aid, soothing smell, adds flavor

Allspice Berries – used for flavoring

Nutmeg – used for flavoring

Jamaican Sarsaparilla – helps overall health, increases libido

Gentian Root – digestive aid, soothes stomach (main herb in Angostura bitters)

Cinnamon Sticks – antiviral properties

After getting all of these ingredients I found a glass jar and added 1/2 oz of the cloves, allspice, and cardamom and smashed the ingredients to release some of the oils.

Next I added the rest of the ingredients in 1/2 oz increments as well. Then I shook up the mixture before adding the alcohol.

For the booze it’s best to use a neutral grain spirit so the flavors of the bitters mix are what is tasted. I’m opting to use some high-quality vodka and won’t be diluting the mixture as much when finished. I put in 1 cup to cover the entire mixture and then shook vigorously. After I put it in a cool place. Each day I’ll be shaking the mixture.

In two weeks I’ll be posting again with an update. I’ll be adding in some lemon and orange peel. This is definitely an experiment but I’m excited to see how it turns out! Cheers!

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Categories: Recipes

Moscow Mule

Since vodka is flavorless we try not to use it much in drinks because we prefer to experience and bring out the different tastes that other spirits are known for. However, we’ve recently discovered a great brand of top quality vodka made here in America. Can’t say no to a hobby turned successful business, especially one that involves booze! Check out Tito’s Handmade Vodka and the cool story behind it if you want a well-priced, great tasting spirit to throw into your drinks that require vodka. Here’s a nice little recipe that makes the most of it.

Moscow Mule

Fill a glass 2/3’s with ice and pour in:

2 oz vodka

1 oz lime juice (fresh squeezed is best)

Top with ginger beer (we like Bundaberg), stir to combine all ingredients, and enjoy a simple yet tasty beverage.

Categories: Recipes

Mint Julep

Another great drink with bourbon. Again we used Knob Creek and Bulleit (separately), both affordable yet tasty liquors. Here is the recipe we used:

Mint Julep

In a shaker add:

10 mint leaves

1/2 simple syrup

Muddle well to release the mint oil to really get that flavor expressed. Then add:

3 oz bourbon

1 ice cube

Let the mixture steep for 5 minutes. Think of it like a tea. You want the flavor of the mint to be released in the bourbon. The ice helps cool the mixture and take a little sting away from the bourbon. Once steeped, shake the mixture well and pour into a glass half full of crushed ice. Garnish with a mint sprig. If desired add:

1/2 -1 oz tonic water or sparkling water for a more refreshing version

This helps take some of the bite away from the bourbon and adds a nice fizz.

Categories: Recipes

Old-Fashioned

Kevin and I have been experimenting with some classic cocktails that use bourbon as the main ingredient. We went with two types of bourbon: Bulleit and Knob Creek and made up some old-fashioneds. Here is the recipe we used:

Old-Fashioned

1 piece of orange peel, 1-2 inches in diameter

1/2 oz simple syrup

3 dashes bitters

Muddle mixture well to express the orange oils. When finished, add a few cubes of ice. Then add your booze:

2 oz bourbon.

Run a spoon through the drink 2-3 times to mix all ingredients. Sip to experience the full flavor of bourbon with a hint of orangey sweetness.

Categories: Recipes

Best Man Speech Crib Sheet

It seems that every other day now another friend is getting engaged or married. So what happens when you get asked to be the best man? Here’s just some good ol’ manly advice on how to make a best man speech from a pretty cool book, “The Art of Manliness” by Brett and Kate McKay.

1. Open by thanking those who made the day possible. Single out the bride and groom’s parents by name, and offer a toast to them for not only putting on the wedding but for raising two fine people. Thank the guests for coming.

2. Transition to your speech: “I am especially glad to be here on this occasion to celebrate this wonderful day with my friend/brother.”

3. Talk about how you know the groom, why you’re grateful for having him as your friend, and why he’s such an upstanding guy.

4. Share a story about your friend and connect it to the couple.

5. Raise your glass and say something to the effect of: “Here’s to a lifetime of happiness and love for _____ and ____!”

6. Let out a sigh of relief.

Categories: All Things Manly

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