Locally made bitters nearly disappeared after Prohibition, but many bartenders are now crafting their own.
From Prohibition until just a few years ago, almost every bartender in the country relied on just one brand of bitters: Angostura. While there are a few other options, including Peychaud’s, Fee Brothers, Regan’s Orange Bitters and a host of newer players, a post on the NPR blog The Salt notes that many bartenders are now crafting their own.
The craft cocktail craze generated new interest in bitters—the bittersweet alcoholic concentrate used to flavor cocktails. Locally made bitters nearly disappeared after Prohibition, but experimentation with mixology plus the locavore movement has bartenders foraging for herbs to make in-house bitters.
David Wondrich’s book of pre-Prohibition cocktail recipes Imbibe!, published in 2007, also helped spur interest in the bittersweet infusions, the blog says.
But making your own bitters is a three- to six-week process. You slowly add roots or bark, zest, leaves, even petals to alcohol, then you have to reduce and strain it, and add sugar or maple syrup. The higher the alcohol of the base spirit, the better, says one bartender, because it will do a better job of extracting the flavors.
Read the full post here.