Bitters Acetic Tincture Recipe - Apple Cider Vinegar Based

by Jason J. Duke - Owner/Artisan

Fresh Content: June 2, 2023 22:33

Bitters Acetic Tincture Recipe Overview

Bitters are usually best made as an acetic tincture with apple cider vinegar to promote digestion, bowel elimination, and absorption and assimilation of the nutrients and constituents found in food and beverages.

Bitters are a traditional remedy with a long history of use, because they make all other foods work better for health and healing. They are always made with bitter flavored herbs and spices as a base and then combined with sweet and aromatic tasting herbs and spices to further enhance the digestive properties of the formulation.

Bitters Acetic Tincture Recipe Benefits

Bitters are a specific medicinal remedy that is used to promote appetite and to increase the absorbed and assimilated amount of nutrients from food for a greater nutrient density, especially protein from meat, eggs, and dairy, including the breakdown of fat for energy, vascular health, and hormonal health. And, bitters have a way of adding additional antioxidant and detoxification benefits when herbs with those benefits are added in formulation.

Bitters are taken anytime around meals and shakes to promote the digestive and liver health benefits. When taken before a meal, bitters will help to ensure that one is eating enough. But, bitters can also be taken after meals to perk up digestion and assist digestion. Modern times brought about the idea of supplementation and supplements, which are really just additional non-caloric foods that are added to meals, so bitters are good for any supplements taken with meals.

Hawthorn Berry - Crataegus monogyna

The preeminent heart, vascular system, and digestion herb that supports digestion of all types of food, especially meats and fats. Sweet tasting hawthorn berry primarily enhances digestion, supports liver metabolism by promoting liver enzymes, and supports circulation and vascular health.

Hawthorn is the go to herb for digestion and circulatory health which has tonic properties for building up health over the long term. The berries impart a bittersweet flavor that works great in bitters. Importantly, the active constituents, called glycosides, for heart and circulation benefits extract into an apple cider vinegar menstruum.

Rule of ThumbA rule of thumb is a general practice based on necessary experience and use to successfully accomplish something.
"Hawthorn berries are a heart health and digestive herb with a plethora of health benefits, so they may be used as a stand-alone herbA stand-alone medicinal herb can be taken by itself without any other herbs in formulation, because of the balanced properties to support health and promote healing of a particular organ and/or glandular system in relation to the rest of the body.  to make a delectable and very easy-to-take bitter-sweet tonic, simply substitute the entire recipe with only hawthorn berries.

Elecampane Root - Inula helenium

Elecampane is a highly aromatic root that boosts digestion and lung health. Continuous consumption of elecampane will derive the tonic qualities of building up digestive capacity and promote hunger and a healthy appetite from the promotion of liver enzymes.

You may substitute Gentian Root for Elecampane Root to increase the liver health and liver detoxification aspects of the acetic bitters formula. Or you may use one-half part Elecampane Root and one-half part Gentian Root in place of one whole part Elecampane.

Angelica Root - Angelica archangelica

Angelica is a traditional bitter root that supports digestion, lung, and respiratory health. Often very good for mucus and phlegm that may come from the digestion of food.

Ginger Root - Zingiber officinale

Ginger is the go-to digestive herb for promoting appetite and digestion which is used to settle the stomach and lighten the body after eating.

Shallots - Allium cepa var. ascalonicum

Shallots are a lot like onions, but more concentrated and potent in flavor and aromatics that stimulate digestion. They are good for calming and warming the stomach to ease digestion of rich foods, like meats, fats, and eggs.

Brown Mustard Seed - Brassica juncea

Mustard is a common condiment with meats for the benefits of promoting digestion, gallbladder emulsification of fats, and liver metabolism.

Garlic - Allium sativum

Fresh mashed garlic is an optional herb in a bitters formula for the aromatics that stimulate digestion and circulation in the stomach. Garlic gives the formula a deeper more satisfying flavor.

Chili Peppers - Many Varieties

Peppers are optional in this formulation; they are terrific digestive stimulant, as long as one can handle the heat. Choose any kind of pepper that best suits your tolerance for the active constituent called capsicum. Remove the seeds as these do not contain much capsicum and are the major source of nightshade toxins.

Bitters Acetic Tincture Recipe Instructions


Total bitters acetic tincture formula is 8oz. (250g), you may use either fresh or dried herbs in the making of this formula depending on what is available, but fresh herbs will be more aromatic.

  • Hawthorn Berries 2.0 parts
    • 2oz. (60g)
  • Elecampane Root (or Gentian Root) 1.5 parts
    • 1.5oz. (45g)
  • Angelica Root 1 part
    • 1oz. (30g)
  • Ginger Root 1 parts
    • 1oz. (30g)
  • Shallots 1 part
    • 1oz. (30g)
  • Orange or Lemon Peel 1 part
    • 1oz. (30g)
  • Fresh Cracked Brown Mustard Seed 1/2 part
    • 0.5oz. (15g)
  • Fresh Garlic minimal
    • 1-5 mashed Minced Garlic ClovesA garlic bulb divides into separate individual cloves which are best minced into very small pieces for the bitters formulation, since garlic will extract very well into apple cider vinegar. (depending on taste)
  • Optional: Chili PeppersThe acetic acid in apple cider vinegar is highly effective at extracting the capsicum alkaloids that are the cause of spiciness. Choose from these commonly used chilis in herbalism:
    ***Thai {Very Hot}***
    **Cayenne {Hot}**
    *Serrano {Medium}*
    • 1-5 chili peppers, with seeds removed, if possible


Dried herb tincture ratio ~1:4

Dosage: 1-3 droppers

Expiration is 5 years

What you need:

  • At least 32oz. (1000ml) apple cider vinegar for menstruum
  • Bitters formula
    • 8oz. (250g) formula
  • 32oz. (1000ml) quart jar
  • Cheesecloth (grade 100)
  • Large 8-12 inch fine wire mesh strainer
  • Large sanitized bowl with pour spout
  • Spoon
  • A 1 oz. (30ml) or 2 oz. (60ml) tincture bottle with dropper
  • Blank labels and clear tape
  • Optional funnel for tincture bottle
  • Optional clear squeeze bottle
  • Rubber or nitrile gloves

oz. = ounce
g = gram; ml = milliliters
1 gram = 1,000 milligrams

Recipe steps; always use gloves for sanitation when directly handling herbs:

  1. Add herb to jar. Press and pack into jar gently, do not break apart the plant parts into crumbs.
  2. Pour menstruum over the herb until reaching the top of jar. Not all of the menstruum will be used, perhaps 65-75%, which is 20-24oz.
  3. Seal jar tightly and gently shake by slowly turning over, back-and-forth a dozen times.
  4. Put in a room-temperature place in a dark area without sunlight.
  5. Let sit about 24 hours, check fluid level and top off to the top of the jar if necessary and reseal.
  6. Everyday gently shake by slowly turning over, back-and-forth six times.
  7. The tincture will finish in 14 days.
  8. Once the extraction time has elapsed, fold and layer the cheesecloth 3 times in the mesh strainer and pour fluid extraction off the herbs into the large bowl.
  9. Dump the herbs into the cheesecloth lined mesh strainer and pull up all the sides of the cheesecloth only around the marc and twist-and-twist the cheesecloth until it presses the fluids completely out of the herbs, all the while holding the herb filled cheesecloth over the mesh strainer and bowl. Repeat pressing the fluids out by loosening the herb-filled cheesecloth and twist-and-twist to tighten down more so on the herbs.
  10. You will have about 50-65% of the original menstruum as the final tincture, which is around 16oz. (500ml) to 20oz. (600ml). 
  11. Pour and strain the bitters acetic tincture into a jar, with a 6-times folded cheesecloth to remove unwanted precipitates.
  12. Seal main jar of tincture with lid.
  13. Label main jar of tincture with the following information:
    1. Name of formula: Bitters
    2. The menstruum "Apple Cider Vinegar"
    3. Herb to menstruum ratio used to make liquid extract
    4. Single-step
    5. Date tincture was finished into a liquid extract
    6. The words "Keep out of reach of children"
  14. Add some of the gently stirred, with a spoon, bitters tincture to a measuring cup and then pour, with a funnel if you have one, into a tincture bottle with dropper or use a clear squeeze bottle to fill up many tinctures from your batch; be sure to leave enough space for the dropper to be inserted without overflowing.
  15. Label tincture bottle with dropper with the following information:
    1. Name of formula: Bitters
    2. The menstruum "Apple Cider Vinegar"
    3. Herb to menstruum ratio used to make liquid extract
    4. Step-single
    5. Date tincture was finished into a liquid extract
    6. The words "Keep out of reach of children"
Directions: take tincture up to 3 times a day under the tongue or in a small glass of water or juice, preferably after complete meals. Do not add to hot liquids as this will destroy the volatile constituents that are preserved in the alcohol that make the tincture work.