Need some help with digestion? In this day and age or high stress, who doesn’t?!? Here is a little trick we’ve been using. Every night before dinner we make ourselves a fancy drink. The”we” here includes our 10 year old daughter. No, we are not trying to get her to acquire an early taste for alcohol, but yes, this fancy drink does include some! We are talking about bitters. Bitters are also commonly used to balance out and give some depth to cocktails, but also have been used medicinally for centuries. It makes for a tasty and beautiful concoction and works wonders for digestion. We mix a few drops into sparkling water and drink about 15 minutes before we sit down to eat dinner.
What exactly is a bitter?
In general, bitters are made with a combination of bitter flavored and aromatic herbs, bark, roots and/or fruit steeped and in alcohol. They can be traced as far back as the ancient Egyptians and commercially first made an appearance in the 1800’s. Peychaud’s and Angostura are probably the most well known. Health-wise, bitters ignite the digestive system, soothe indigestion, ease gas, burping and bloating. In addition, bitters can also help balance sweet craving and help maintain blood sugar.
There are several small-batch companies making high quality bitters such as Urban Moonshine, El Guapo and Bittermens. We’ve been experimenting with these different brands both in water and in cocktails - and loving them. In true Deep Health Evolution nature, we are also trying out our own concoction. It’s currently steeping, so we can’t yet attest to its flavor, but if you are interested in trying to make some yourself, here is the recipe we used.
Grapefruit and Chocolate Bitters
2 organic grapefruit peels with pith, torn into small pieces
1/2 cup organic cacao nibs
2 tbsp grated organic ginger
1 tbsp organic fennel seeds
2 organic vanilla beans halved lengthwise and scraped
Vodka (we like Tito’s)
Place all ingredients except for the vodka in a sterilized glass jar.
Top with vodka, covering all ingredients and leaving about 1/2” head space.
Cover the jar and shake well.
Store in a cool, dark cupboard for 3 weeks.
Shake the jar every once in a while - whenever you remember.
After the 3 weeks have passed, strain out all the liquid and pour into a dark glass bottle (or bottles). You may want to use a nut milk bag.
Store in a cool, dark place.
Notes: It’s super important to use organic ingredients here. The alcohol will leach any pesticides out of your mixture. Bitters are quite potent. You only need a few drops at a time!
If you give it a try, please let us know what you think of the results!
(Full disclosure: There are some affiliate links above. While we make a little bit of money if you make a purchase using our links, it is at no extra cost to you. Rest assured, we honestly wouldn't be recommending them if we hadn’t tried them ourselves and given them a personal thumbs up!)