DIY Bitters by Guido Masé and Jovial King

DIY Bitters Book Cover

Best Audience: Herbalists and folks who’d like to incorporate digestive supporting herbs into daily life alongside folks who are interested in expanding their creativity or supporting a natural lifestyle in bartending and cocktail design

I picked DIY Bitters: Reviving the Forgotten Flavor – A Guide to Making Your Own Bitters for Bartenders, Cocktail Enthusiasts, Herbalists, and More by Guido Masé and Jovial King up at Mountain Rose Herbs Mercantile, although I’d looked at it on Amazon and I’d heard about it through Taste of Herbs by Rosalee de la Forêt. It was one of those books that looks absolutely beautiful online, but I wasn’t convinced it’d have the substance I wanted. I like good, well-researched books that look beautiful, like Body into Balance: An Herbal Guide to Holistic Self-Care by Maria Noël Groves. Amazon’s preview doesn’t offer enough a look for me to feel confident it was worth the cover price. It looked like it was going to be heavy on pretty pictures and light on substance.

In-person, I was delighted to find that DIY Bitters: Reviving the Forgotten Flavor – A Guide to Making Your Own Bitters for Bartenders, Cocktail Enthusiasts, Herbalists, and More is more than just another pretty herbal. Guido Masé and Jovial King have written a wonderful account of the bitter flavor, including bits of history, science, and energetics to help you really grasp the why. Better, they’ve included a solid selection of tasty recipes that range from mildly bitter to strongly so, from daily diet-esque to truly medicinal and from easy to challenging. Their approach to creating simple bitters through alcohol extraction is a refinement on the usual tincture-making medicinal herbalists are used to using. It’s easy enough for beginners to bite off on, no problemo, and they’ve offered a solid explanation of the whys and hows to allow more experienced herbalists both understand and ultimately play with and adapt it.

The selection of herbs Masé and King have chosen is robust. At first glance, I questioned a few, like Licorice root, but after working with the recipes those inclusions started to make a lot more sense. I loved that for each herb they covered, they offer specific details on best extraction techniques for bitters-creation purposes; you’ll find the best alcohol strength, proportions, and time to extract that make it easy to dig into making your own bitters pantry.

Ultimately, I loved learning more in-depth about bitters with DIY Bitters: Reviving the Forgotten Flavor – A Guide to Making Your Own Bitters for Bartenders, Cocktail Enthusiasts, Herbalists, and More by Guido Masé and Jovial King. I tried several of the recipes out on my friends, and family. Even my pup enjoyed trying a few of their blends (no kidding, he was all over the rose pastiles!). They made exploration into this new taste fun, opening the door to what looks like it’ll be a lifetime of focus on a more balanced palatte in my daily cooking and living. In retrospect, I think the cover price may well have been a bargain.

The Bottom Line: DIY Bitters: Reviving the Forgotten Flavor – A Guide to Making Your Own Bitters for Bartenders, Cocktail Enthusiasts, Herbalists, and More by Guido Masé and Jovial King has earned a permanent place on my bookshelf…and in my kitchen!

Click on the Link above to buy a copy of this book and a small percentage of Amazon’s profits will go to yours truly. Thanks much! I surely do appreciate it.

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