Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bitters Makes it Better, part II

First off, a big apology to all for my recent lack of posting - I've had some serious computer issues & am even now attempting to restore my machine following the installation of a new hard drive. That said, here's a short one for those of you who've been leaving the site muttering, "post something already!"

Let me get this out right now: I love Orange Bitters, without which the Martini would be much reduced in my humble opinion. I thank Bacchus every time I'm behind the stick for Gary Regan's #6 and greatly enjoy the other varieties which are commercially available (including the newly-available Angostura & Fee's West Indies O.B.) as well.

I likewise enjoy the complexities of the various & sundry citrus fruits, enjoying not only their inherent flavors but the new flavors they can highlight or arouse from the other ingredients a given drink contains. The season for Honey Tangerines is just winding down here, (and in many places they are available year-round) and in addition to adding their fragrant mandarin-esque flavors to a great many cocktails, I became curious to see how a Tangerine bitters would compare to my beloved Orange...

Now, if you've been reading this blog, you've doubtlessly seen the first, rather epic, post I'd made which involved both citrus & bitters in which I waxed poetic on the role of bitters in cocktails - a feat which I shall not strain your eyes or patience further by replicating. Instead, short & sweet, I'll give you a recipe for another type of citrus bitters (which make a bloody fine Martini):

Honey Tangerine Bitters
9¼ oz. dried Honey Tangerine peel, chopped finely
1½ Teaspoons: Coriander
1½ Teaspoons: Quassia
1 Teaspoon: Cardamom, removed from pods
¼ Teaspoon: Caraway seeds
3 whole Cloves
1½ Cups: Neutral Grain Spirits
¼ Cup: JW&N Overproof Rum
¼ Cup: Plymouth Gin

1. In a small saucepan over low-medium heat, toast the Cardamom, Coriander & Caraway seeds for approximately one minute. Peel fresh Honey Tangerines, being careful to remove as much of the bitter pith as possible & dry in the low-temperature oven for approximately two hours.
2. Place the listed ingredients in a clean container. Add the alcohol, pushing the ingredients down so that they are covered by the liquid. Seal the jar & shake vigorously every day for two weeks.
3. Strain the alcohol from the dry ingredients by your preferred method (coffee filter, cheesecloth &c). Squeeze the filtered ingredients tightly to extract as much of the liquid as possible. Place the dry ingredients into a strong bowl or mortar, reserve the alcohol mixture in a clean container & seal tightly.
4. Muddle the dry ingredients with a pestle or muddler until the seeds are broken & the other ingredients are well-bruised.
5. Place the dry ingredients into a non-reactive saucepan & cover with 3 Cups of Water. Bring to a boil over a medium heat, cover & reduce the heat to simmer for about 10 minutes. Allow time to cool, covered. (about 40 minutes).
6. Place the (formerly) dry ingredients & Water mixture in a clean container, seal and leave for seven days, shaking vigorously each day.
7. Strain the Water-mixture from the dry ingredients by your preferred method (coffee filter, cheesecloth &c), discarding the dry ingredients. Add the Water-mixture to the Alcohol-mixture.
8. Allow to stand for an additional seven days, straining liquid by preferred method from any sediment.

9. Allow to stand for seven more days, straining liquid by preferred method from any sediment (there will be very little this time), then bottle & use/store/brag to your friends about what you've made.

I'll be sure to upload some pictures of these once I re-install my camera's software. Give them a try & let me know what you think. For my part I'll be sure to return to my typical posting schedule (?) now that my computer has returned to life.

On a parting note - a huge thanks to the fantastic folks at both Martin Miller's Gin and Death & Co. not only for allowing me to participate in the New York round of the Gin & Tonic competition yesterday but for putting up with the nervous mess I became behind the bar - it was an honor. Likewise, congrats to the winner(s) and other participants!


1 comment:

Tiare said...

Cheers Chris, hope you get your computer running! my blog is finally up now, take a look when you have the time: