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How to Make Homemade Bitters (Plus, the Ultimate Old Fashioned Recipe)

dropper orange cocktails

You can tell a lot about a man by his drink of choice. These days, I keep flipping between a gin & tonic and an old fashioned. At home, I’ve been drinking G&Ts just because I typically don’t have any bitters around the house. That’s about to change, though, now that I have some of my own homemade bitters on my bar. (Now I am far more likely to run out of tonic than I am bitters!)

Here’s how to make your own bottle of DIY orange bitters, whether it’s for your own bar cart at home or as the perfect gift for the man in your life.

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Supplies:

  • four oranges
  • 1 tsp. each of whole cloves, whole allspice, cardamom seeds, and coriander seeds
  • 4 oz. dropper bottles
  • knife and cutting board
  • Everclear grain alcohol
  • large glass bottle
  • coffee filter
  • optional: printable download and printable sticker paper

everclear spices bottles

Instructions:

Step 1: Dry your orange peel. Peel four medium oranges and cut the peels into slices about ¼” x 2″. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet and bake for about 1–2 hours at 225 degrees, or until they’re dried and curling slightly.

orange peel glass bottle

Step 2: In a glass container, place 2 cups of Everclear and the cooled orange peel, along with 1 tablespoon each of whole cloves, whole allspice, coriander seeds, and cardamom pods. Seal the jar tightly and set it in a cool, dry area.

liquid measuring cup jar

Step 3: Allow the mixture to sit for up to one month. You can agitate it periodically to mix up the ingredients; you can also test every few days for flavor. I recommend putting a drop or two in half a glass of water to taste test, as it can be very strong if you taste it directly.

orange peel spices glass jar

Step 4: Once the mixture reaches your liking, strain the orange peel and spices out by carefully pouring the mixture through a coffee filter.

Step 5: Fill small bottles with the mixture and give them as gifts or enjoy yourself. See the recipe below to use your own orange bitters in an old fashioned.

dropper orange cocktails

Step 6: If you’d like, print out our Orange Bitters label on your sticker paper, trim around the edges, and put the label on the bottles.

dropper orange bitters

To make an old fashioned:

Step 1: Place a sugar cube in an old fashioned glass and saturate with bitters; add a dash of plain water.

Step 2: Muddle until dissolved.

Step 3: Fill the glass with ice cubes and add whiskey.

Step 4: Garnish with an orange slice and a cocktail cherry.

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