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Traditionally, making bitters is a slow, month-long process. Using sous vide for the bitters speeds this process up to only a few hours. I usually sous vide them at 140°F to 150°F (60°C to 65°C) for 2 to 4 hours.
Bitters are a variation on alcohol infusions and are very flavorful additions to cocktails. They are not meant to be consumed alone and a typical cocktail will have only a few drops of bitters for every ounce of alcohol. They add deep base and nuanced flavors, and often times wonderful aromatics.
Most bitters follow the standard sous vide infusion process, but I usually use the higher end of the temperature spectrum, around 140°F to 150°F (60°C to 65°C). I also cook them longer, usually 2 to 4 hours, but the timing can vary.
Most sous vide bitters have some kind of bittering agent, such as gentian root, quassia root, cinchona bark or worm wood. They also have strong flavoring agents and aromatics.
I almost always use my bitters in cocktails but I also enjoy them in club soda for a simple afternoon drink.
Most bitters will last for several months in a dark cabinet due to their high alcohol content. The flavors will fade over time though.
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Looking for more infusions? Check out the sous vide infusions time and temperatures for all the sous vide information you need.