How to make Orange Bitters

Winter Bitters

Winter Bitters

I love bitters. I love making them, sampling them, and infusing just about anything I can get my hands on to see if it makes sense in bitters (within reason of course). As such, my collection of randomly assorted and labeled jars occasionally means the bitter blends get forgotten on the basement shelf to languish into obscurity. But no more! After recreating an original or classic bitters recipe, it's only fitting that it should be destined for a vessel to showcase your time and patience. Many craft cocktail establishments have embraced the "old-timey" crystal bitters bottles which give their bars a vintage feel and are a great conversation starter whether out at the bar, or making drinks at home with friends. 

Even if you're not into making your own bitters, you can transfer store-bought bitters into the vessel for a more elegant look.  

If you are interested in diving into the world of making your own bitters, the recipes below are simply a starting place, so feel free to experiment with your own blends of spices and flavors.  

Orange Bitters:

350ml Everclear (or high-proof vodka)

3/4 cup dried orange peels

1 1/2 tablespoons coriander

1/2 teaspoon fennel

3 cardamom pods

1 teaspoon gentian.  

Place in a sealed jar and let sit for two weeks. Lightly shake jar once a day, and strain through coffee filter after 14 days into clean vessel.  

Winter Bitters:

350ml Everclear (or high-proof vodka) 

6 whole star anise pods

1 vanilla bean

1/2 tbsp cloves

Place in a sealed jar and let sit for two weeks. Lightly shake jar once a day, and strain through coffee filter after 14 days into clean vessel.  


Ice Balls Made Easy & Rum Old Fashioned

Rum Old Fashioned 

Rum Old Fashioned 

While fascinated by the myriad of techniques constantly under development for creating perfectly clear ice cubes, I also understand that every drinker is not always interested in taking the often painstaking steps required for the perfect crystal ball of ice. However, that doesn't mean they aren't interested in bringing fun, whimsy, and elegance to their cocktail parties.  

The high-quality silicone ice ball molds from Tovoo make creating perfect ice spheres easy. What I like most about these are the fact they are stackable, and don't take up a ton of space in the freezer. The large sphere with greater surface area means that the ice will melt slower, leaving you to enjoy your drink longer without getting watered down. A personal favorite is the Rum Old Fashioned cocktail (picture above). 

1.5 oz Puerto Rican Rum

.5 oz Jamaican Rum

.5 oz simple syrup (to taste) 

Dash bitters (Angostura) 


How to make a Zombie Cocktail

Zombie Cocktail

I wasn't a big fan of tiki cocktails or rum in general until I met Blair Reynolds, founder of B.G. Reynolds syrups, and owner of Hale Pele tiki bar in Portland, OR. Before meeting Blair, "tiki" meant syrupy, artificially sweet mixed drinks with umbrellas. Blair quickly dispelled that notion with his commitment to naturally sourced ingredients and faithfully reproduced tiki cocktail recipes. He is a living encyclopedia of classic rum cocktails, categories of rum, rum history, and all things tiki. Reynolds is putting tiki cocktails back on the map in a big way, and making it easier for everyone to mix up their own tiki cocktails at home with his line of syrups. 

The Zombie, is a classic tiki cocktail from the early 1930's first-created by Donn "the Beachcomber" Beach. While the recipes for the cocktail vary, it typically has a blend of rums (dark, gold, 151-proof), lime juice (or other fruit juices), and "Don's Mix" (a blend of grapefruit juice and cinnamon). Reynolds has faithfully recreated Don's Mix in his line of Tiki cocktail syrups, along with a number of other cocktail syrups that are a must have for any serious tiki bar.  

For simple, yet delicious version of the Zombie cocktail try mixing up the following: 

1.5 oz Don's Mix

.75 oz Dark Rum

.5 oz 151 Proof Rum

.75 oz lime juice

Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour unstrained into tall glass. Add more ice if needed.  

High Desert Swizzle


Portland summers are a thing to be cherished. It's always a treat to see the city explode with smiling faces as a city that only experience sunshine 3 months a year, we know how to enjoy ourselves when it's nice outside. One of our favorite drinks for sunshine sipping is the High Desert Swizzle. The drink was first introduced to us at Kask by former resident lead bartender, Tommy Klus. The smokey Vida mezcal makes for a perfect companion to the bright and tart strawberry shrub. If the smokiness of the mezcal is too much for some tastes, try mixing up a Strawberry Shrub Pisco Sour.    For the smoke monsters out there, you will love this craft cocktail. Crushed ice is one of the keys to making this cocktail great, and we were excited to try out our new ice crusher from It works like a charm, is quieter than hammering away at a Lewis bag, AND you take take it camping for crushed ice cocktails in the woods! Yes, we are guilty "glampers". Mix one up, and let us know what you think. 

High Desert Swizzle: 

1.5 oz Del Maguey Vida mezcal

.75 oz strawberry shrub (recipe below) 

.75 oz fresh lime juice

.25 oz heavy demerara simple syrup (can substitute white sugar) 

Add all ingredients to Collins glass. Fill the glass with crushed ice. Use a swizzle stick or long spoon and "swizzle" until the glass becomes frosty. 

Strawberry Shrub:

1 container of strawberries

1 cup of sugar

Slice strawberries and remove green stem. Cover in sugar and place in fridge overnight. Stir once of twice to keep sugar from collecting on the bottom. Add 1 cup of vinegar. Strain through cheesecloth.