Charred Cedar Bitters, Husk Cherry Bitters, Meyer Lemon Bitters, Coffee-Pecan Bitters. These are just some of the bitters you can make at home, according to Brad Thomas Parsons, author of Bitters. A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All.
Bitters, according to Parsons, ‘are an aromatic flavoring agent made from infusing roots, barks, fruit peels, seeds, spices, herbs, flowers and botanicals in high-proof alcohol (or sometimes glycerin.) Long reputed to possess medicinal properties, bitters were billed as the cure for whatever ailed you, whether it was a headache, indigestion, stomach cramps, or constipation.’
In concocting your own cure-all potions, you might use bittering agents, like burdock root, fringe tree bark, black walnut leaf, horehound and flavour agents, like cardamom pods, allspice berries, sassafras, cassia chips or star anise.
Here, in Vancouver, we have two experts in bitters: chef Jonathan Chovancek and award-winning bartender, Lauren Mote, founders of Bittered Sling.
lf you’re interested in learning more about bitters, Mote is giving a Bitters 101 Masterclass on January 21st at Yew Seafood & Bar. Participants will learn about bitters – history, modern takes, gather recipes and ‘enjoy comparative tastings and sample bitters-infused cocktails paired with small plates from Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver’s Executive Chef Weimer Gomez.’
The Bitters Masterclass is just one of a long list of events happening at the ever popular Dine Out Vancouver Festival, which runs from January 19th to February 4th.
If you’d rather learn about these aromatic flavouring agents in your comfy pants and slippers, here is a one hour online bitters lesson from Mote.
Header: Still Life with Silvering Glass. Jan Davidsz de Heem. 1648