Thursday, July 9, 2015

day of the dead bitters

I just got a request for the ingredients for one of my old bitters recipes that I developed back in 2010 called the Day of the Dead Bitters. The idea was a Mexican-themed bitters that were not chocolate molé-based but instead featured calendula or marigold petals. Calendula has been used throughout Dead of the Dead celebrations to decorate altars and graves as well as commemorate the deceased in homes. The bright orange, pungent flowers are believed to attract dead souls and bring them back home; however, the roots of the association probably started by the flowers utility in hide the odors of death and decay during funerals. As for other Mexican-themed ingredients, coffee, ancho chili, cinnamon, sage, cumin, and clove were also utilized. Moreover, I decided to utilize tonka bean; despite the FDA frowning on this delicious botanical, it is frequently utilized in Mexican vanilla extracts. Besides a vanilla note, it also donates a beautiful spice richness to infusions. Regular vanilla bean could be substituted if need be.

The bitters themselves found their way into a few Boston recipes including Scott Holliday's Ofrenda, Ran Duan's Jarabe Tapatío, and Ben Sandrof's Bittered Fling. Without further ado, here is my recipe:
Day of the Dead Bitters
• 20 gram Marigold (Calendula) petals, dried
• 12 gram Chamomile, dried
• 8 gram Orange peel, dried
• 2 gram Lemon peel, dried
• 6 gram Cinnamon stick, broken up
• 1 gram Corriander seed
• 1 gram Cumin seed
• 3 gram Thyme, dried
• 2 gram Oregano, dried
• 4 gram Spearmint, dried
• 1 gram Clove
• 6 gram Coffee bean, medium roast, broken up
• 2 gram Ancho chili powder
• 8 gram Tonka bean, broken up
Add 16 oz Bacardi 151 proof Rum and 8 oz water to make 24 oz of 100° spirit. Let infuse for 10 days with frequent mixing. Filter through a coffee filter, and bottle.
The bitters were only made once according to my notebook and led me to develop flower bitters that I dubbed "Bumble Bee Bitters" which also utilized marigold and chamomile (as well as lavender) but in a more herbal and classical bitters direction.

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