I think Melbourne is the King (or Queen) of Bitters at the moment- I remember tasting so many different house blends in little cocktail bars that when I lived in Melbourne I tried making some - the results initially looked good!
I had to do some substituting as its really hard to find Cinchona bark in Australia - its restricted due to its classification as a pharmaceutical as it contains quinine (I believe you can get some from a alternative medicine pharmacy in Sydney but only small amounts and its xx'y! - If you want to learn more about quinine and malaria the book "The Miraculous Fever-tree" is a really good read!). Instead I added a tad more quassia bark. The recipe I based it on was from -here-.
|Doesn't the quassia bark look ridiculously just like wood chips (left)! The gentian root doesnt look much more appetizing (right)!|
1. Don't burn your sugar syrup ... basic yes?
2. When you give up due to the burnt sugar syrup- don't leave the remaining mix sitting on the herbs and spices for the next two months before you do anything about it.- You won't make any friends that way, uberly, tongue curling, eye watering bitter!
In light of Pip from "Meet me at Mikes" post (yes I love her) about making Tonic Syrup I was inspired to give making bitters another go! (and also try my hand at tonic syrup!). I'm using the same Bitters recipe again (figuring I won't screw it up this time!).
|Bitters Mixture (Day 1 of 24)|
Whilst for the tonic syrup being the good little scientist I am, I wanted to do some different batches to tweak the recipe (I love tonic water so the more the merrier).
One batch is following the recipe on Pips Blog (See above)
For both versions I used a bit less sugar (6 cups rather than 8).
Both versions turned out quite yummy - I think I like the lemony one better as the tartness combats the bitterness well, while with the juniper berries it tastes like it already has gin in it :-) YUM
|First batch of tonic syrup- in progress!|
|Tonic waters (Left) and Bitters mixture (right)|
-18/01/2014- I've already finished the batch of Tonic Syrup #2 - addicted...