Salty Bitters

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Gather the ingredients fresh from the source for flavorful bitters.
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“DIY Bitters” by Jovial King and Guido Masé is a how-to guide that explores the history and health benefits of bitters.
10 to 11 ounces SERVINGS


  • 4 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried burdock root
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh or dried dandelion leaf
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 medium wild carrot root, chopped or 1 tablespoon celery seed
  • 6 dried hibiscus flowers (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) 100-proof vodka or other spirits


  • In a pint-size Mason jar, combine the dry ingredients.
  • Cover with the vodka, seal well, and shake to ensure the extract is thoroughly mixed.
  • Steep for 2 weeks, shaking frequently, and then strain. Store in 2-ounce dropper bottles.
  • Take between 30 drops and 1 full teaspoon mixed in a cocktail, water, or juice.

    More from DIY Bitters:

    Bitter After-Meal Tea
    Reprinted with permission from DIY Bitters by Jovial King and Guido Masé and published by Fair Winds Press, an imprint of The Quarto Group © 2016. Buy this book from the Mother Earth Living store: DIY Bitters

DIY Bitters by Jovial King and Guido Masé (Fair Winds Press, 2016) shows how to make your own bitters at home, to be used alone or in cocktails, tonics, and even main meals. Bitters can then be used to stimulate the digestive system and promote healthy digestion. This recipe for salty bitters features burdock root, parsley, carrot root, and red hibiscus.

You can purchase this book from the Mother Earth Living store: DIY Bitters

With both sweetness and demulcency from burdock root, this blend ideally features a fresh-foraged wild carrot root to add a unique pungency. It perfectly complements the parsley’s clean saltiness (the two plants are botanical cousins), and red hibiscus finishes with a touch of acidity and color. You can substitute wild carrot seed instead of root, or even celery seed. Mix these bitters into a clean, dry martini to highlight their flavor alone, or add to other savory or sweet /sour cocktails. The herbs in this blend act on the urinary system, and in larger doses (1 teaspoon), have noticeable diuretic action. This mild bitter formula is easy to prepare and may become a go-to staple.

You should only gather wild carrot root or seed yourself if you, or someone with you, can make a positive identification in the field. Many members of this botanical family, from poison hemlock (Conium maculatum) to wild hemlock (Cicuta virosa), are deadly toxic and look quite similar. The species you’re after is Daucus carota — same as the carrots we buy at the store. Gather the roots in spring.

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