You’re a fan of the old-fashioned, made from the best ingredients you can find– aged, small-run rye or bourbon; one glass-sized block of ice, no more, no less; organic sugar and just a splash of water. But when it’s time to add the bitters, you’re throwing in the same grocery store-bought stuff you’ve been using since college. Wake up and smell the, er, coffee– using the same bitters for every job is like putting ketchup on everything you put in your mouth. It’s time to own up and make your own in-house bitters– coffee bitters, to be exact. Coffee bitters combine beautifully with the smokey flavor of, say, our bacon bourbon, as well as with a variety of desert cocktails. Thankfully, Jacob Grier of Liquidity Preference has come up with a simple way to make your own coffee bitters at home:
-750 ml high-proof (151) rum
-Peels from two medium-sized oranges
-24 g coarsely-ground coffee (we recommend a nice Oregon-based variety from Sisters Coffee)
-2.5 g orris root
-1 star anise
Combine all ingredients in a jar and let steep for at least a week (since these are bitters, you are looking for a literally undrinkable product– something far, far too strong to ingest without combining, sparingly, with a cocktail). Check every 2 days or so for potency. Strain through a coffee filter into a bitters bottle (something with a nozzle that can add only drops at a time). Use with any cocktails that could use a sweet and smokey coffee kick.