I've been making and using digestive bitters for several years now and I love them!
Digestive bitters have been around for centuries, used to aid digestion by stimulating digestive enzymes, stomach acid and bile, as well as stimulating the liver. Bitters can also calm an upset stomach and reduce inflammation.
Digestive bitters are made by steeping herbs in alcohol along with flavourings. The recipe consists of combining three flavour elements - bitter, sweet and aromatic in brandy (or vodka).
Blue vervain – flowers & leaf
Citrus fruit – flesh & peel
Motherwort – flowers & leaf
Yellow dock root
½ cup dried (one cup fresh) bitter element
Up to ¼ cup dried (or ½ cup fresh) sweet element
½ teaspoon – 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional)
1 – 5 tablespoons aromatic element
2 cups brandy
Choose which elements use want to use (preferably ones you have on-hand) and mix them in a glass jar with the brandy. Tighten lid and shake well. Label and date the jar. Leave in a dark place for 2 – 6 weeks (the longer it steeps the more bitter the flavor will be).
Strain the brandy through a sieve covered in muslin/cheesecloth into a glass jar. Label and store in a cool, dark place.
Use up to one teaspoon in water, fizzy water or (my favourite) kefir water before meals.
Here is the recipe for the last batch of bitters I made…..
Dandelion, Orange & Spice Bitters
A touch of local honey
Cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, star anise, vanilla