Juniper Bitters

Reader Contribution by Tammy Kimbler
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If you’ve looked in the liquor accessories aisle lately, bitters have exploded.  There are lots of classics, like Angostura, Fernet-Branca or Peychauds, and a plethora of new and exciting varieties, like Xocolatl Mole from Bittermans, Cherry Bark Vanilla from Bittercube, and Moroccan from Bitter End Bitters.  Many are handmade, small batch bitters from folks with their eye on the perfect cocktail. And lucky for me, bitters are super easy to make at home.  

My bitters inspiration came from a little winter foraging and my garden. Juniper is a classic flavor base for bitters (and gin), which I combined with dried rosemary and thyme from my summer garden (you can also use fresh), and black peppercorns and vodka.  The idea is to make a super intense infusion that heightens the profile of your cocktail.

When it comes to foraging for juniper berries, look no farther than your neighborhood park or your yard juniper shrubs. I myself found my stash just down a city path along our local lake. If you can’t find juniper berries to forage, they are easily ordered online.

Juniper berries are loaded with two compounds called α-pinene and β-pinene, which are also found in pine resin, sage, eucalyptus and certain types of citrus, which is why they go so well in cocktails.

Juniper Bitters Recipe


  • 1/4 cup fresh or dried juniper berries
  • 8 inches of rosemary branches
  • 8 inches of thyme branches
  • 2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 pint vodka


Combine all the ingredients in a pint glass jar with a lid. Store is a cool dark place for one month. After one month, strain the vodka and you’re ready for cocktails! Add to taste, starting with 1 teaspoon and working upwards.

Tammy Kimbler grows, forages, cans, dries, pickles, ferments, brews, ages, cooks and eats from her Minneapolis, Minn., backyard. At One Tomato, Two Tomato, she aims to show how easy, accessible, healthful and delicious gaining control of your personal food system can be. Connect with Tammy on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, and read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

DIY Bitters is a how-to guide that explores the history and health benefits of bitters. The book shows you how to make your own bitters at home, to be used alone or in cocktails, tonics, and even main meals. Herbalists Jovial King and Guido Masé, owners of the bitters company Urban Moonshine, teach you how to make recipes for classic bitters like orange and angostura, and explore more innovative bitters like elderflower-echinacea-honey and chocolate love tonic. You can even find a guide for creating your own unique flavors from the plants and ingredients you have on hand. Whether enjoyed as an apertif, digestif, or as a remedy to settle an upset stomach, bitters are back! Order from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Store or by calling 800-234-3368.

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