Great DIY Holiday Gift - Grapefruit Bitters

With a season that begins in November and ends in May, what could be better to give during the chill of the holidays than the flavor of grapefruit in this vibrant and sunny citrus beverage ingredient? Bitters have been around since the ancient Egyptians and have been widely used for their medicinal and digestive benefits; they have enjoyed an enormous resurgence over the past decade with the revival of the craft-cocktail movement. Grapefruit bitters would be a perfect gift for your cocktail-loving friends and juice or smoothie fans alike!

By / Photography By Amy Robb | December 03, 2015



  • 3 large Texas grapefruits
  • 2 Texas lemons
  • 2 tablespoons whole coriander
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon dried gentian root (can be found at your local herb shop or at
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or dried mint
  • 1 tablespoon dried wormwood (can be found at your local herb shop or at
  • 1 tablespoon whole clove
  • 1 tablespoon dandelion root (can be found at your local herb shop or at
  • 1 quart high-proof grain alcohol, preferably vodka, between 100-150 proof (DASH or Tito’s Vodka would be nice)


  • 1 large airtight glass container or mason jar (4 pint-sized mason jars work perfectly)
  • 1 sharp knife or peeler
  • double-layer of cheesecloth
  • glass containers with airtight lids, such as mason jars

About this recipe

Although this gift takes some pre-planning, feel free to do the prep work and gift the jar of bitters, a list of directions and any necessary tools to your DIY-loving friends and let them in on the action! Just make sure that you alter your instructions to the size of the jar or the amount of ingredients that you are gifting


When first experimenting with bitters, try 1 to 3 droppers full of bitters per beverage or to taste. Grapefruit bitters can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 month.


Peel grapefruits and lemons and slice into smaller sections. In 4 pint-sized Mason jars, or 1 large Mason jar or some other large, airtight glass container, combine citrus peels with herbs and spices. Cover citrus peel and herb/spice mixture with grain alcohol until all ingredients are submerged. Apply lid to container and give mixture a shake. Set the glass jars in a cool, dark place for 3 weeks, giving the mixture a good shake at least once a day.

After 3 weeks, cover a glass container with cheesecloth and secure with a rubber band or piece of string. Pour bitters mixture through the cheesecloth, collecting the citrus peels, herbs and bitters in the cloth. Gather the ends of the cheesecloth and tie them together so that the citrus peels, herbs and spices are completely enclosed. Steep cheesecloth in 8 ounces water until water is at room temperature. Discard the solids and add the steeped water to the glass container of infused alcohol mixture. Seal with a lid and give it a shake.

Let the water and alcohol mixture sit in a dark place for 5 days, giving the mixture a shake each day. After 5 days, strain bitters through a double layer of cheesecloth. If still cloudy, strain again through some coffee filters until clear. Transfer bitters into small tincture bottles with droppers.

Store bitters in a cool, dark place.

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