November 24, 2009

A new homemade ingredient

I've been making a whole slew of tinctures and other homemade ingredients lately, some of which you'll hear about in the post-Thanksgiving drinks. But one that I recently started mentioning here in my drinks is "Jamaican bitters." Let me tell you how I make them.
Jamaican Bitters

Zest of two grapefruit, with as little pith as possible. A Microplane grater works well for this.
2 slices fresh ginger, with skin still on
6 allspice berries
6 whole cloves
1 inch of cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
6 tbsp neutral grain sprits (the higher the proof, the better. I used 190-proof...basically generic Everclear.)

In a mortar and pestle or food processor, break up the spices into small pieces, but don't pulverize. Macerate spices and grapefruit zest in neutral grain spirits for a week. After a week, add two tablespoons of water and filter through a coffee filter or double-thickness of cheesecloth into a small jar or used (and well cleaned!) bitters bottle.

Makes a scant 1/2 cup.
This has a predominantly grapefruit flavor, as you'd expect, but it's got an underlayer of spice that really makes it interesting. If you've got a week in which to make them, it's really a fun flavor to play around with.


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