I just finished straining and bottling my homemade orange bitters, so it is time to compare them to Regans' Orange Bitters, which have been my orange bitters of choice to this point. It would be better if I could compare them to a few others, but all I have at the moment are Stirrings Blood Orange Bitters, which are nowhere near the same category.

My taste test consists of 4-5 dashes of bitters (or the nearest equivalent, since the new bitters are not in a dasher bottle) in about 1/2 oz of water. Regans' has a very sharp smell. The homemade bitters smell much warmer and sweeter. I attribute this to the rum base, and I also think I identify some wormwood in the Regans'. Tasting them brings me to the same conclusion. The homemade is slightly sweet, and has a more powerful orange flavor. The Regans' seems more bitter forward, with orange as the first secondary flavor.

I don't think the homemade bitters are quite bitter enough. Adding a few drops of wormwood tincture balances things out nicely. It also continues to confirm my suspicion that there is wormwood in Regans'. I have added 20 drops of wormwood tincture to the 375ml of orange bitters, and I think my work is done for now.

Up next:

I am going to make a full batch of Amer DeHainaut with honey later, and I also have to start a fresh batch of bitter orange tincture.

I recently tried Byrrh for the first time, and I absolutely love it. While it could be an interesting exercise to recreate it, I think it might be more productive to use it as inspiration for something else. A vermouth with a red wine base and lots of cinchona? Maybe a completely new amaro with Byrrh influences? I can imagine making it a little less sweet and adding a few extra bitter components. Or maybe I could try to pull a Cynar 70 and aim for an exact replica but much more concentrated.

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