Bitters are to cocktails as salt and spices are to foods. This apothecary staple was first marketed in the 1700s as a remedy for common ailments such as digestion irregularities. Medicinal herbs and botanicals were preserved in alcohol and touted as a cure-all for everything from tummy aches to malaria. Turns out that's not true but they have made a come back in everything from fancy coffees, ice cream, baked goods, marinades and of course cocktails.
2 Tablespoons Dried Orange Peel
1 Tablespoon Whole Cloves
2 Whole Nutmeg
1 Tablespoon Whole Allspice
4 Whole Black Cardamom
1/4 Cup Sun-Dried Black Mission Figs, chopped
1/4 Cup Molasses
1 1/2 Cups Vodka
3 1/2 Cups Water
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
Use a mortar and pestle to crush the spices just enough to break them. Place the spices in a 1 quart airtight jar with the molasses, chopped figs and cover with the vodka. Set this aside in a cool dark place and shake it daily for 2 weeks.
Strain the solids through a coffee filter and set the alcohol aside. Place the solids in a 2 quart pot and add the water and sugar. Bring this to a boil and chill.
When cold strain the solids through a coffee filter and mix with the alcohol. Store this in a clean and airtight vessel.