Celery bitters are a long-forgotten cocktail ingredient that add a nice savory boost to martinis, gin and tonics, Bloody Marys, and other cocktails. The fun of homemade celery bitters is coming up with a list of demands for what you want your bitters to be like and then making it so: feel free to play around with adding lemon or orange zest, or herbs like rosemary.
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- Yield:makes about 1 3/4 cups
- Active time: 20 minutes
- Total time:14 days
- 1/4 cup lemongrass, pale green parts only, roughly chopped (about 2 stalks)
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 10 mint leaves
- 1 allspice berry
- 1/2 teaspoon gentian root (cut, not powedered)
- 1/4 cup celery seed
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 2 cups 100-proof vodka
- 1/2 cup water
Put the lemongrass, coriander, mint, allspice, and gentian root in a sealable glass jar. Muddle briefly to bruise and break the ingredients. Add the celery seed, celery, and vodka, then seal and shake. Let this mixture steep for 12 days, shaking daily.
Strain out solids using a fine-mesh strainer, reserving the liquid in the original jar. Place the solids in a sauce pan along with the water and cook on medium heat for 5 to 7 minutes. It will come to a gentle boil and the liquid will reduce slightly. Let this cool, then return all the pan's contents to the original jar. Let steep for two more days.
Strain out the solids, then filter the liquid through a coffee filter or cheese cloth. If using cheese cloth, you may have to do this two or three times until the liquid is free from debris. Store at room temperature for up to a year.