Bitters Kits and Cocktail Recipes

bitterskitAlways a hot holiday gift, I’ve expanded my offering of DIY Cocktail Bitters Kits to include new flavors and Mini Bitters Booster Kits. (Underlined text all links to the corresponding item in my online store if you are looking to purchase)

If you’re wondering how to use them, you can start off by replacing the Angostura, orange or Peychaud’s bitters in most any classic cocktail, and here are three excellent drink recipes (1 strong, 1 light and 1 bowl of punch) for each of the flavors I offer.


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Simple Citrus Soda Syrup Recipes

I’m buried under cheap, excellent winter citrus and before it ends, I want to bottle every flavor. Everyone’s making seltzer at home, but the commercially available soda syrups are gross, so here’s an easy and inexpensive way to make your own. These also lend themselves to crafting epic highballs, spritzers and even work in beer cocktails.


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Bitters Making Workshop at Batch Made Market

I was invited to present a workshop on how to make cocktail bitters at home during the inaugural Batch Made Market in San Francisco, and it was a big success!

We did a quick overview of bitters’ history and uses, then dug into the tools, processes and testing methods for making bitters. It was a fun event, with close to 50 people attending, despite it being advertised as capped at 15, and it had sold out in a matter of minutes online. Twice as many people were standing crowded into the tent as were seated, but I had thought this might happen and brought enough tasting cups and handouts for fifty students.

The handout has a lot of good info, so I thought I should share it here as well. Click image below for PDF.


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Cranberry Bitters for Thanksgiving and Christmas Cocktails

cran3Problem: too much Beaujolais at family Thanksgiving last year, and too few cocktails.

Solution: homemade cranberry bitters to craft some festive holiday drinks.

The holiday season – and the stress that comes with it – are nearly upon us, so most of the instructions in this recipe involve hitting ingredients with a hammer or jabbing them with a sharp stick. After that you just wait, shake, and blend.


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Drinker’s Dictionary Volume 2 (Your Input Is Needed)



One of my most popular posts (thanks, Reddit) and the best-selling item in my Etsy Store are both based on Ben Franklin’s compendium of words and phrases meaning drunk, The Drinker’s Dictionary.

Now, more than 275 years after he published it, it’s time for an update. so I’m compiling the best contemporary terms for “drunk”.

I will publish it here, and etch it into another decanter, to make a matching set with the original.

Add your favorites in the comments box below, and one randomly selected contribution that makes it into the final piece, will earn the contributor a free set of Drinker’s Dictionary Decanters.

Note: depending on submissions, I may exclude profanity from the final list. After all, we want this to be family-friendly list of terms for getting effed-up. If there are a lot of unique, profane and obscene submissions, that may just necessitate me making a third volume, in which case, one of you shit-faced shit-talkers will also get a free set.

B – Bashed, Basted, Besotted, Blitzed, Blotto, Bombed, Boozed up, Buzzed…

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Kerf-Bending Coffee Cup Cuffs

I’ve been so busy developing new gizmos that I haven’t been posting much lately, so here’s a peak at my most recent project. Along with new decanters, including a set with quotes about the spirits they contain, and some DIY cocktail kits with etched bottles, I’ve been working more with wood.

Along with creating woodcut stamps to make fun packaging, I stumbled onto a great new concept. I’m turning rigid sheets of plywood into “koozies” that fit paper coffee cups and pint glasses of beer, to protect your delicate fingers from extreme temperatures. Still testing design and resiliency, but so far results are  impressive. If you’re in SF and want to be an alpha tester, take me out for a cup of coffee and I’ll give you a free cuff.




Note: Kerf-bending or “kerfing” is using the space created by a saw blade (called the kerf) or in this case, a laser, to create flexibility in an otherwise stiff material. The 1/4-inch plywood I am using for this project is remarkably inflexible, and yet once I’ve sliced it up, I can roll the whole thing up like it’s made of paper.

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Wisdom of My Father


This is my first Father’s Day as a dad, and my parents just came out to visit from Vermont to meet the baby and spend some time with me in San Francisco.

Along with sound advice on parenting and relationships, my father dropped some cocktail wisdom on me when I took my folks out to Trick Dog for drinks.

I usually assess the cocktailing potential of a new bar by ordering a Blood and Sand (equal parts Scotch, sweet vermouth, OJ and Cherry Heering). Any hesitation or confusion from the bartender, and I would know not to order another cocktail. The tragic flaw is that I am rarely in the mood for such a sweet drink. When this came up in conversation, my old man started to smirk.

My dad, he does it one better. He orders a Perfect Manhattan (“perfect” denotes replacing half of the sweet vermouth with dry vermouth), and if the bartender says something like, “Oh, all the drinks here are excellent,” he says, “You know, I’ve changed my mind. I’ll have a beer.”

An engineer by education, and a craftsman by avocation, I’m really unsurprised that he would devise such an efficient and elegant approach.

Perfect Manhattan

(Dad usually calls for Jameson, technically making this a perfect “Emerald”, a much smoother alternative to the traditional rye)

two ounces whiskey
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
a dash of orange bitters

Stir with ice, strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry.

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