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  • Writer's pictureAngie Jackson

cranberry bitters recipe

Updated: Mar 20

The holidays are over and you have a half bag of leftover cranberries sitting in the fridge. They’re still good to use so why not put them to good use for year-round drink seasonings? Here is a recipe on how to craft a batch of cranberry bitters at home. This tart and bitter flavor seasoning are perfect to add to seltzers, classic cocktails, and of course, wildcraft cocktails and apothecary elixirs. There are potential health benefits packed in this bittered alcohol compound so add a few dashes and happy, healthy sipping to you all. 


​1 cup fresh cranberries, halved

2 sticks cinnamon

1 tsp. Gentian Root

*High-proof vodka (a wheat or rye vodka works best)

1 ½ cups water

*For a zero-proof bitter, I use a glycerin ratio of 60% glycerin with 40% distilled water in place of the high-proof vodka. Allow this method to rest for 30 days, shaking daily, and stored in a cool, dark space.

​In a clean, pint mason jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the cranberries, cinnamon sticks, orange, lemon, ginger root, gentian root. Pour vodka to the top and seal with the lid. Make sure all agents are submerged in the liquid.

​Shake well to combine and place in a space that is away from direct sunlight. Let contents sit for two weeks, shaking the jar daily.

​Place a funnel over another clean, clear mason jar. Line it with a coffee filter or cheesecloth, or use an extra fine strainer and strain the mixture, reserving the agents. 

​Transfer the wet agents to a saucepan and add 1 ½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes.

​Remove from heat, let cool to room temperature, and transfer to another clean jar. Shake well and place the jar out of direct sunlight. For 1 week, shake the jar daily.

​Strain the liquid with cheesecloth or a coffee filter with a fine strainer and discard the solids. Add this liquid to the vodka and add the agave nectar. Shake well.

​Allow to sit for 3-4 days until the bitters settle. Strain again to remove the final floaters. Strain again 3-4 days later to remove all floaters. Transfer to smaller, dark-colored dropper bottles using a funnel.

Potential Health Benefits


Cranberry season is from Autumn to mid-Winter. They are sour, with a light to medium weight, and have a loud presence in their taste profile. Cranberries are considered to be a superfood due to their high nutrient and antioxidant content. Research has linked the nutrients in cranberries to a lower risk of urinary tract infection (UTI), the prevention of certain types of cancer, improved immune function, and decreased blood pressure.


Cinnamon is an Autumn-Winter spice. It is sweet, bitter, and pungent. Its function is to heat, its volume is loud, and it’s a light-medium weighted spice.  Cinnamon has been known to act as a warming remedy for “cold” conditions and used for flu symptoms. It has been known to promote better glucose levels and can act as a soothing remedy for nausea, and indigestion.

​Lemon and Orange Peel

Lemons and oranges are year-round fruit that are sour, light, and moderate-loud flavor volume. Lemon will brighten the flavor of orange. Both are packed with vitamin C. Lemon is one of the most important and versatile natural medicines for home use.

Gentian Root

Gentian Root is a powerful bitter and is an essential ingredient in Aperitifs and Angostura Bitters. It has been known to act as a digestive stimulant and ease stomach pain. 

Important Notice

Do not try self-diagnosis or attempt self-treatment for serious or long-term problems without first consulting a qualified medical herbalist or medical practitioner as appropriate.  Do not exceed any dosages recommended. Always consult a professional practitioner if symptoms persist.  If taking prescribed medicines, seek professional medical advice before using herbal remedies.


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