DIY Cherry Bitters Recipe

Photograph: Liam Boylan

Swapping in cherry bitters for Angostura bitters can give your cocktails a subtle yet delightful boost, adding a hint of fruit while still delivering the bitterness your drink needs. The best part about making your own is you can customize your bitters to your cocktailing needs.

Notes: Gentian root and quassia chips can usually be found at specialty herb stores. You can also order them from Lhasa Karnak.

I used Everclear 151 for my neutral spirits base. If you cannot find this in your area, you can substitute the highest proof vodka available to you.

Recipe Details

DIY Cherry Bitters Recipe

Active 10 mins
Total 0 mins
Serves 360 servings
Makes 1 1/2 cups


  • 1 1/2 cups cherries or 3/4 cup dried cherries

  • 1 cup 151-proof neutral grain spirit, divided

  • 1 whole star anise, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds

  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass, cut in small pieces

  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped

  • 2 cardamom pods, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon gentian root

  • 1 teaspoon quassia chips

  • 1 cup rye whiskey


  1. Put the cherries in a sealable glass jar with 1/2 cup of the neutral grain spirit. Be sure this jar is large enough to later hold an additional 1 1/2 cups of liquid. Shake. This is your cherry flavoring.

  2. Put the anise, fennel, lemongrass, vanilla, and cardamom in a different sealable glass jar with remaining 1/2 cup of the 151 neutral grain spirit. Shake. This is your spice mix.

  3. Put the gentian root and quassia chips in a sealable glass jar with the rye. Shake. This is your bittering mix. Set all jars aside in a dark place at room temperature.

  4. After 10 days, strain the spice mix and bittering mix through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the solids. Strain again through a coffee filter into the cherry flavoring jar. Do not remove the cherries. Shake. You now have one jar that contains the strained spice mix and bittering mix along with the steeping cherries and alcohol. Let this steep for an additional 11 days.

  5. Strain out the cherries through a fine-mesh sieve, and then strain the rest through a coffee filter into your desired container. Store at room temperature for up to one year.

Special equipment

3 mason jars, fine-mesh sieve, coffee filters

This Recipe Appears In

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
4 Calories
0g Fat
0g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 360
Amount per serving
Calories 4
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 0mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 0g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 0mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 0mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)