Make your own aromatic Bitters

Warm Bitters Formula

Gentian (Gentiana lutea) – 1:3 tincture – 7 ml

Archangelica (Angelica archangelica) – 1:2 tincture – 10 ml

Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) – 1:2 tincture – 6 ml

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamom) – 1:3 tincture – 2 ml

Orange peel – approximately 0.75 gram

This bitter formula showcases the bitter flavours of gentian, archangelica and chamomile, while adding undertones of warmth from the cardamom and orange peel. A tasty and digestive-stimulating addition to your soda or drink!

Bitters have an interesting history: first used as a patented medicine, these herbal blends were slowly introduced into the world of cocktails in the early 1800’s. Prized for their botanical flavours, they complement and highlight other ingredients, while adding a more robust flavour palate.

Today, there are numerous companies producing unique and tasty bitters. While predominantly used for alcoholic beverages, you can easily add the bitters to a little club soda with lemon, or our grapefruit & rosemary shrub, for a refreshing drink.

We collaborated with Michelle from Apotheka Herbs to customize a bitter formula; one aimed at complementing the citrus flavours of grapefruit or lemon, while adding the undeniable zing of bitter.

  • The principal herb featured in our bitters recipe is gentian (Gentiana lutea). It is perhaps one of the most classic of the bitter flavours, and is often featured in bitter formulas. Historically used by people in the Alps, this bitter has a pure flavour, and a little goes a long way!
  • Archangelica (Angelica archangelica) has traditionally been used for digestive complaints. It’s native to the northern parts of Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greenland and Iceland. It is a very fragrant herb and has been used for centuries as a flavouring agent.
  • Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) is perhaps one of the most well known herbs in North America. It has a delicate aroma, and soft hints of sour apple.
  • Cardamom (Elettaria cardamom) is widely used in many traditional cuisines, such as Indian food. It is featured in some classic bitter combinations, such as gin and tonic and Angostura bitters. The cardamom adds a floral pungency and warmth.
  • Orange peel (Citrus aurantium). Orange peel helps to balance the “cooler” nature of certain bitter herbs, such as gentian. The aromatic notes of orange pair well with many flavours and adds warmth to the drink.

You can find a lot of these tinctures at a local herbal store. We mixed the different herbal tinctures together, and added a little orange peel to the bottle. 


Makes 25 ml


  1. Mix all of the tinctures together, shake well and store in an opaque container. The expiration of your tincture will depend on the expiration date of the tinctures used.
  2. Add 5–15 drops to the Grapefruit & Rosemary shrub, or to some club soda with lemon.

***Those who should avoid aromatic bitters include pregnant women, and individuals with gallbladder disease, kidney stones, stomach ulcers or gastritis. Check with your primary health care provider if you have any concerns or are on medications.

Further thoughts and modifications:

  • You can also add bitters to your salad dressing, such as a citrus vinaigrette.

—this is not a sponsored post. We enjoy collaborating with local businesses, and we think Michelle at Apotheka Herbs provides a great product.


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