the bitters end

Just a quick little blurb for the night.  Just finished up enjoying some homemade tapanade made with ingredients from the garden, alongside some bleu cheese, white truffle oil, sea salt, atop some whole grain crostini.  I really can’t complain about this scenario, except that I am a little bit tired at this point in the evening!  It has really been an amazing summer so far, and I have so many topics to post, but I find that heading off to bed trumps typing out events on the computer most of the time.  I refuse to succumb to my “pressing needs” this time!

House-made bitters at Coohills.  Dave Glasscock, one of my partners-in-crime, and I have crafted our own house bitters blend.  Orange, coriander, lemon, apple, and lavender await to be blended and anticipate shining by themselves in a cocktail in the very near future.

So, just for a refresher, I will trace our bitters beginnings…  About two and a half months ago, we blended grain alcohol, in the form of Everclear, with bitter ingredients:   apple rinds, orange peel, lemon peel, lavender seeds and flowers, and coriander seeds.  We let these individually sit for about two months, in order for the flavors to integrate.  We kept the containers refrigerated and gently shook each bottle from time to time.

The individual bottles filled with Everclear and their respective ingredients.  We let these sit for about two months apiece, gently shaking along the way.

After the waiting period, we strained the liquid through cheesecloth and coffee filters, making sure to strain out any seeds, flesh, or particulates.  The fun part had arrived!  We separated each bitters and tasted each one to see what had composed…  The lemon, orange and lavender bitters really shone.  We agreed that next time we would let the apple skins integrate with the flesh (we had only let the skins integrate), and we agreed that the coriander seeds should have been crushed before sitting.  Using only the apple rinds rendered a bitter, only slightly apple taste; the flesh might have added a richer tasting note.  Crushing the coriander seeds would have given the bitters a more pronounced note.

Coriander seeds and Everclear…mixing it up.
Lemon tea cocktail…don’t have quite the exotic name for this one, but it is an easy-drinking spin on an Arnold Palmer:  combine 1 1/2 ounces Lemon Tea Belvedere vodka, 1 ounce Poli Miele (honey) liqueur, and finish with subtle, sparkling  lemonade and a dash of orange bitters.  Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme.
The mixers:  Belvedere Lemon Tea vodka, Poli Miele honey liqueur, Izze sparkling lemon drink (made with mostly lemon juice and sparkling water).

I made this spring cocktail (above) and enjoyed it, while doing some gardening…twice, along the way!  The thyme really brought all of the components together.  I normally do not like flavored vodkas, but this Belvedere Lemon Tea vodka actually has some tannic structure and gives any drink a strong backbone.  I am completely in love with the Poli Miele honey liqueur, which is comprised of grappa and honey, alongside various herbs and botanicals.  If you do not have access to Izze sparkling sodas in your area, you should search out how to find them.  Izze produces the lemon sparkler, as well as blackberry, grapefruit, and clementine, just to name a few of their selections.

Just a preview of this past week’s pickling and canning adventures…upcoming in this weeks’ postings…
A treat for the night…

I am finally heading to bed, after a leisurely night of tasting, mulling around, and writing.  This little bite (above) was subtle decadence, as described in tonight’s first posting paragraph.  Planning on composing several garden posts this week, I am signing off, dreaming of fresh herbs, vibrant tomatoes, and colorful hues…thanks again for stopping by!  Decadence is only a slice, dig, recipe, or thought away!

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