3.1 16

Woodland Bitters

"A drink should have an atmosphere to it," says Brad Thomas Parsons. "If a cocktail seems to be missing something it's often because there aren't bitters in it."

The bark, roots and other more esoteric ingredients used to make bitters can be found at dandelionbotanical.com.


slideshow Classic Cocktails


  • Total Time:
  • Servings: Makes 14 ounces

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  • 2 cups overproof bourbon (such as Wild Turkey 101)
  • 1 cup pecans, toasted
  • 1 cup walnuts, toasted
  • 4 cloves
  • Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 1 whole nutmeg, cracked
  • 1 vanilla bean, split
  • 2 tablespoons devil's club root
  • 1 tablespoon cinchona bark
  • 1 tablespoon chopped black walnut leaf
  • 1 tablespoon wild cherry bark
  • 1/2 teaspoon cassia chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon gentian root
  • 1/2 teaspoon sarsaparilla root
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup


  1. In a 1-quart glass jar, combine all of the ingredients except the syrup. Cover and shake well. Let stand in a cool, dark place for 2 weeks, shaking the jar daily.
  2. Strain the infused alcohol into a clean 1-quart glass jar through a cheesecloth-lined funnel. Squeeze any infused alcohol from the cheesecloth into the jar; reserve the solids. Strain the infused alcohol again through new cheesecloth into another clean jar to remove any remaining sediment. Cover the jar and set aside for 1 week.
  3. Meanwhile, transfer the solids to a small saucepan. Add 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes; let cool completely. Pour the liquid and solids into a clean 1-quart glass jar. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 1 week, shaking the jar once daily.
  4. Strain the water mixture through a cheesecloth-lined funnel set over a clean 1-quart glass jar; discard the solids. If necessary, strain again to remove any remaining sediment. Add the infused alcohol and the syrup. Cover and let stand at room temperature for 3 days. Pour the bitters through a cheesecloth-lined funnel or strainer and transfer to glass dasher bottles. Cover and keep in a cool, dark place.

Make Ahead

The bitters can be stored at room temperature indefinitely. For best flavor, use within 1 year.

Contributed By Photo © Johnny Valiant Published October 2011

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