Why I'm Making Bitters
I was never a big drinker. Growing up, my family was (still is) Seventh-Day Adventist, which meant there was never any liquor in the house. Because of the way my schooling was structured, I didn’t hang out a lot with kids that partied, smoke or drank.
Then, I basically skipped the late teen/early 20’s years because I founded Bramble Berry Handcraft Provisions when I was 20 years old. So, by the time I came of legal age to drink alcohol, I couldn’t afford it, and I really didn’t have the time to imbibe anyways. Nowadays, I like a glass of Pinot Noir or French champagne but I never developed the taste for hard liquor or any beer.
When my husband and I went to Rome to watch his brother get sworn into the priesthood, we stayed with his brother at the monastery for a week. That meant that we got to eat with all of the priests. They ate in silence, with a reader reading aloud to them. Their olive oil was pressed fresh every single day (!!!) and their bread was the tastiest I’ve ever eaten. They also had a habit after lunch and dinner of drinking a shot of … something— some sort of herbal digestif. I didn’t ask many questions but I liked the green liquid and was intrigued.
After we returned to the states, I researched the concept, bought a book, got busy and promptly forgot about trying to recreate our Italian health drink. My memory was jogged when we went to a French-themed birthday party and someone brought out a small green bottle of celery bitters for the post-dessert digestif.
My curiosity was piqued again. I went home and started researching. I got a kit. It looked easy enough. But, it turns out, “easy enough” doesn’t mean “tastes good.” There’s a method to making digestifs and bitters. So, now that we’re in the new studio, and I have a dedicated kitchen space and play time, I’m going to spend some time trying to perfect the concept of ‘bitters’ and figuring out what makes a digestif versus a bitter.
Bitters are not just for cocktails, and I’m going to figure out how to make them, how to make them taste decent and what to put them in. Of course, I’ll be sharing the process and successful recipes on Instagram, Twitter and here. So, come make with me, and we’ll explore this together.
Photographs by Christina Becker.