The bitter(s) and the sweet

bitters In this chilly winter season, I've been making bitters with infusions of herbs and other flavor agents.

Shown here are homemade vanilla and mugwort, plus old favorites Angostura and Peychaud's in soda water for a tasting flight.

My current favorite are vanilla bitters, which are really lovely in a mug of warm milk before bed.

Vanilla Bitters

In a mason jar or other 500 ml bottle, combine: 2 vanilla beans 1 whole nutmeg 1 black cardamom (green cardamom works too, but use a small one - black are smokier and milder) 3 black peppercorns 500 mls vodka (I use Stoli)

Infuse for 30 days, shaking every day or two. Store in a dark place while infusing. If your vanilla beans are especially awesome, you may find a layer or brown oil floating in your bottle. This is a good thing - just be sure to shake it like a Polaroid picture before every use.

Vanilla Bitters Nightcap

Combine: 1 T of bitters 8 oz warm milk 1 T of honey ...and drift off to sweet dreams.