Garam masala is the quintessential spice mix of any Indian kitchen. The heat, warmth, and sweetness of the spice blend have taken it to different parts of the world. It traveled across continents and cultures with colonizers and travelers through the spice route.
Garam Masala Bitters: Origin of Bitters
People have been adding bitters in drinks since the 18th Century, it was used as a medicine for indigestion and malaria. The word “bitters” is mentioned in the definition of the first printed usage of the word “cocktail.” It was any drink consisting of spirits, water, sugar, and bitters…
Around 1824, Johann Siegert, a doctor in Venezuela, started making Angostura as a stimulant for the troops to help them against malaria. As we get to the late 1800s the probation era, bitters became more synonymous with cocktails no matter what bar you went to.
Bitters are an alcoholic mixture that traveled from medicine cabinets to bars. These mixtures are flavored with herbs and spices, which also include bittering agents. The most popular brands being Angostura, Peychaud’s, Regans, and The Brothers.
We will learn a recipe to turn the flavors of the garam masala into bitters.
Garam Masala Bitter: Recipe
- 1 Teaspoon each of whole- coriander, cumin, cardamom, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, aniseed, and ground nutmeg.
- Few pieces of star anise (chakra phool).
- Vodka (or any high proof spirit)
- Quart jar
- Steeping– Put all spices in a quart jar and submerge it with the spirit and let it steep for 2 weeks. give it a shake every day.
- Strain and Cooking– Strain it using a cheesecloth and keep aside the spices. Cook the spices with some water and heat it up. Combine all these components in a jar. let it sit for one more week.
- Combine– Strain out the spices and combine the infused spirit with little water.
- Sweeten– As the mix will be very bitter add some sugar syrup or some honey to balance the mixture. Let it sit for a couple of days and then it is ready to bottle.
- Bottling– bottle in small dropper bottles for easy usage.
Ask your mother for her garam masala recipe to make a more personalized bitter. Use the bitters in your Negroni, Old Fashioned, Whisky Sour, Sazerac, etc. It will be your Indian touch to these classic cocktails.
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Know about the best bitter brands, here.