Tuesday, August 21, 2012

harvest 2012: some autumnal browns

the first batch of this year's watermelon rind pickles - I added two serranos and they don't taste a bit spicey. Time to double down! Also, some madrona curls and a glossy black crow feather I found in the woods. 

and secondly today - a project that's been three weeks in the making: licorice bitters! I infused a cup or two of vodka with licorice root and a few elderflowers for 3 weeks. In a second, separate container, I infused a few ounces of vodka with sweet spices (black peppercorns, star anise, whole cloves, etc). In a third container, I infused vodka with the bittering agent - I used wormwood (there are others, of course - gentian comes to mind) because I thought its herbal licorice flavour would meld well. The jars were shaken once daily and kept out of direct sunlight for 3 weeks while they infused. Today I strained through cheesecloth and mixed the spice and licorice together and added just enough of the wormwood-infused vodka to begin to taste a lingering bitter herbal aftertaste. I've saved the remaining wormwood mixture in case Cass thinks the bitters need to be, well, more bitter. But otherwise, we're just about done here!

I found my herbs and flowers at Dandelion Botanical Company in Ballard (one of my favorite shops; it reminds me of my hippie hometown! I get so nostalgic shopping there!) and the cheap vodka we had on hand was given to us by a friend who is in the liquor business. So, all in all, I paid about $5 (plus maybe $15 toward a new bottle of vodka?). This is a really great bargain when you compare it to retail: the only licorice bitters I've seen around town are made by Bob's (and it was Bob's product which inspired me to try making my own), which cost around $30 for just over 3 ounces. I got about 10-12 ounces for $20 (and that's being generous about the cost of the vodka).


Jenny said...

That bitters sounds amazing!

fleur_delicious said...

they turned out great! I finally had an old-fashioned made with them and it was SO SMOOTH and slightly sweet. =) I have a new favorite!