Making Bitters at Home

Making Bitters at Home

So you want to make some “bitters” at home? You may wonder what are bitters, and why use them in drinks. After all, alcoholic drinks can be bitter. Who wants to drink something with more flavour, I do.

Bitters have botanicals, herbs, and roots infused with alcohol. They add rich flavour elements to beverages. Many bitters recipes make use of lemon and orange zest, also. This can create a zesty sweetness in drinks, especially summer cocktails.

If you haven’t made bitters before, it helps to start with a general-purpose recipe. Keep reading for more information on bitters recipes. As well as recommendations on steps and variations, you can find some recipes.

How to make bitters at home?

A Guide to making bitters

What is the main ingredient in bitters?

What are bitters made of?

How is bitters made?

Bitters are made with neutral pure alcohol 95% infused with spices, herbs, fruits, tree bark, roots, and additional botanicals. Common ingredients in bitters include gentian root, orange peel, cascarilla, cassia bark, and cinchona bark.

Other flavours can be chocolate, grapefruit, my favourite orange, and rhubarb. Below you will find the recipes for Angostura bitters.

Bottles of homemade bitters
Bottles of homemade bitters

Making bitters sous vide

Traditionally, making bitters is a slow, month-long process. Using sous vide, which is a hot water bath, for the bitters speeds this process up to only a few hours. I usually sous vide them at 140°F to 150°F (60°C to 65°C) for 2 to 4 hours.

  • Mild, Uncooked Flavors: 55C for 1 to 3 hours
  • Medium, Stronger Flavors: 60C for 1 to 3 hours
  • Cooked, Strong Flavors: 70C for 1 to 3 hours

You can use a magic butter machine to sous vide your plant, herbs and spices.

Making bitters with Everclear

Making bitters with Everclear alcohol in Australia is easy as it is a high proof or high percentage neutral alcohol that extracts the flavours and oils from the plant material.

Recipe for making bitters

Angostura Bitters Recipes

Angostura bitters is one of the oldest bitters recipes used today. Created by German doctor Johann Siegert in the 19th century in Venezuela these bitters are very popular. Its dark, piquant, and bitter taste has made it an ideal addition to cocktails ever since.

We have simple and advanced Angostura recipes, for you to try: 

Simple Angostura Recipe

  • 1 teaspoon chopped gentian root
  • 1/4 cup cinchona bark, chopped
  • 400 ml of Everclear or high-proof pure alcohol
  • 400 ml of water

Place all ingredients together in an infusion jar and seal it. Shake the jar once per day, and let sit for three to six days.

Test the concentration by smelling it every day, and filter the solids out with a cloth strainer when the scent has reached its best. Put your finished bitters in a dark bottle and store them in a dry, cool location, not your refrigerator

How do you make Angostura bitter?

Advanced Angostura Recipe

  • 1 teaspoon gentian root.
  • 1/4 cup cinchona bark, chopped.
  • 1/2 cup whole cloves.
  • 1/4 cup whole cardamom.
  • 6 to 8 sticks of cinnamon.
  • 2 tablespoons whole allspice berries.
  • 400 ml of pure alcohol or 190 proof grain alcohol
  • 400 ml of water for dilution.

Other bitters recipes

There are quite a few different recipes you can try.

Some are:

  • Orange Bitters
  • Aromatic Bitters
  • Cocktail Bitters
  • Chocolate Bitters
  • All-Purpose Bitters
  • Rhubarb Bitters
  • Grapefruit Bitters

Native Australian Bitters

You can use native Australian botanicals to make Bitters with roasted Wattleseed, Lemon & Anise Myrtle, roasted Desert Oak seed, Tasmanian Mountain Berry and many others.

Australian Spirit for making bitters

Where can I buy online alcohol to make my own bitters in Australia?

As mentioned above, you can use 95% alcohol (Everclear) in Australia or pure alcohol for making bitters. There are many types of alcohol you can use to make bitters. Try using organic brandy for a smoother flavour or 100-proof vodka for a refined finish.

The higher the alcohol content of the ethanol you use you will find you can extract a higher percentage of ingredients from the materials you are infusing.

You can buy online alcohol to make your own bitters in Australia from Harris Organic Wine and Spirits.

We recommend using 190 proof alcohol, like Everclear with recipes containing barks and lower alcohol percentages such as 100 proof vodka for softer materials, such as berries.


There are many differing recipes for making bitters at home. We have shown you how to make bitters at home and the method used to make bitters. Enjoy.