Peruvian Bitters

This is reputed to be the correct bitters to use in a Pisco Sour. The brand I have seen most often is called Amargo Chuncho. You may substitute Angostura Bitters.

I have not tasted these Peruvian bitters myself, but I have made my own using a composite recipe I put together from perusing several old Peruvian bitters recipes.

The batches I've made have strong aromas of baking spices. Indeed several of the ingredients are what you would expect in baked desserts...cinnamon, nutmeg, etc.

Here is my composite recipe at the bottom and what I did for the first two attempts (batches):

4 oz recipe (Batch #2)

Increasing flavoring agents relative to bittering agents. Need a second filtering after cutting with water.

8 g Red Cinchona (ground)

9 g bitter orange peel (chips--freeze first)

2 g cassia (cinnamon) bark, (slightly heaping 1 tsp Penzeys ground)

1 g galangal (heaping 1/2 tsp)

1 g cloves (12 cloves crushed)

1 g nutmeg (grate same volume as the crushed cloves)

1 g vanilla bean split and chopped (1 inch)

4 oz recipe (Batch #1, 9 day soak)

8 g Red Cinchona (ground)

4.5 g bitter orange peel (chips)

0.9 g cassia (cinnamon) bark, powdered (1/2 tsp)

1/2 g galangal (heaping 1/4 tsp)

1/2 g cloves (6 cloves crushed)

1/2 g nutmeg (grate same volume as the crushed cloves)

1/4 to 1/2 g vanilla bean split (1/3 inch)

4 oz Devil's Springs vodka (160 proof)

Macerated 9 days.

Results: Cinchona way overpowered the baking spices. Probably because I am using cinchona powder and the original recipe calls for coarse powder or chips and it calls for yellow cinchona which might be milder. Will cut back on cinchona for batch #2 or increase the other ingredients. Needs a 2nd filtering after being cut with water.

Composite Recipe

17 g Cinchona bark powder (red for now, would like to get Calisaya yellow...)

7 g Bitter orange peel (coarse powder, freeze first)

2 g Cinnamon bark (powdered)

1 g Galangal root (powdered)

1 g Cloves (coarse powder)

1 g Nutmeg (coarse powder)

1/2 to 1 g Vanilla bean, split

Macerate in 8 oz 150 proof alcohol. Not sure how long...check it. Also check if vanilla is overpowering and remove it if necessary.

When done, filter it. Does it need color?

Then blend 1 part of this mixture with 0.9 parts of water (yields 79 proof). Rinse the botanicals in the filter with this water. Bottle.

Country Peru
Flavors Bitter, Spice
Proof 80 (40%)

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