Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (2024)

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Making your own black walnut bitters is easier than you think! Whether you are looking for a homemade co*cktail addition or are interested in the medicinal benefits of digestive bitters, you've come to the right place!

Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (1)
Jump to:
  • What are Bitters?
  • Why You'll Love This Recipe
  • Ingredients
  • How to Make Walnut Bitters
  • How to Use Bitters
  • Storage
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • You Might Also Like
  • Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe
  • 💬 Comments

What are Bitters?

Bitters are a key ingredient in many co*cktails, adding flavor, depth and complexity. They are made by infusing aromatic botanicals, like herbs, roots, nuts, and sometimes fruits or vegetables, into a flavorless base. This results in a very strong and potent liquid.

The botanicals used in bitters can vary widely, resulting in different flavors and aromas. And because bitters are so concentrated, just a few drops can go a long way!

Bitters are sometimes referred to as the "seasoning" of a drink. They help to bring out the other flavors or add additional flavor based on the type of bitter being used.

Additionally, bitters often have medicinal qualities. Digestive bitters, as they are known in the herbalism world, have been used for hundred of years for a variety of uses.

Our bodies respond to a bitter taste in the mouth by producing more digestive fluids, integral for proper gut function. Bitters can positively impact gut lining health, detox pathways in the digestive system, can stimulate the appetite for those in need of such, and can even help regulate blood sugar, to name a few!

Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (2)

Why You'll Love This Recipe

If you're a fan of bitters, you've probably tried a few different types that are available commercially. But have you ever made your own bitters at home? Homemade bitters are not only incredibly delicious, but they're also easy to customize to your own taste. And when it comes to walnut bitters, there's no better way to get that perfect flavor than by making them yourself.

Because homemade bitters are so concentrated, a little goes a long way. Start by adding just a few drops to your favorite co*cktail or mocktail recipe. You can always add more if you want a stronger flavor. And since they keep for months (or even years), you'll always have them on hand for when the mood strikes.

Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (3)


Black walnut hulls: Go for cut and sifted black walnut hulls for the best results. Black walnut hulls not only add a wholly unique flavor, which is a great addition to co*cktails and mocktails, but also great medicinal benefits. One of black walnut’s most unique properties is its ability to eliminate parasites from the intestines by way of not only its hearty tannins content, but also a natural non-toxic herbicide known as juglone. Black walnut also has strong anti-fungal properties, making it a great plant to incorporate for those trying to eliminate candida (yeast) from their systems.

Cinnamon chips: You can find cinnamon chips at most health food stores or online. Cinnamon chips are basically just dried, cut and sifted cinnamon bark.

Cloves: Cloves add a warm and spicy flavor to the bitters. Use whole cloves for this recipe.

Cacao nibs: Cacao nibs are chocolate in their purest form and they add a rich flavor, with notes of cocoa, to the bitters that greatly complements the other ingredients used.

Peppercorns: Peppercorns add a bit of subtle and complex heat to the mix. I prefer black peppercorns.

Alcohol, Vinegar or Vegetable Glycerin: You can use something like bourbon or vodka here, cane alcohol also works well. Apple cider vinegar is my preferred method if you want to go down the vinegar route. Or use a mixture of vegetable glycerin and distilled water or mountain spring water for the third option, that is a great option for kids due to its natural sweetness, or those that abstain from alcohol.

How to Make Walnut Bitters

Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (4)
Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (5)
  1. Take a clean jar and place the walnut hulls, cinnamon, cloves, peppercorns, and cacao nibs into it.
  2. Cover the jar with either alcohol, vinegar, or a glycerin and water mix, depending on which you want to use.
  3. Place the lid on tightly and put the jar somewhere dark, away from direct sunlight so the liquid can infuse. Leave it there for at least two weeks or up to three months.
  4. Strain the bitters and transfer them into a bottle with a dropper.

Please note: If using vinegar, you will want to place a piece of parchment paper or cheesecloth over the jar before screwing the lid, on vinegar can be quite corrosive to a metal lid.

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How to Use Bitters

Walnut bitters are a great way to add a unique full bodied flavor to your co*cktails. They can be used in all sorts of co*cktail recipes from Martinis to Old Fashioneds, as well as drinks like the Manhattan. It works as well with gin and rum as with whiskey.

To use walnut bitters, simply add a few drops to your co*cktail and stir then add your garnish of choice, such as orange peel or a sprig of rosemary. You can also use them in a rimming salt for margaritas or other drinks.

Walnut bitters are also a great addition to any herbal medicine stash. Keep them on hand when your gut needs a bit of healing and repair, or someone's appetite needs stimulating. Black walnut bitters in particular are great at eliminating parasites and yeast from the body. To use in this manner, simply take by the dropper full straight on the tongue or simply stir into a glass of water.


Once the bitters are in a dropper bottle (I like to use 2 oz bottles), store them in the refrigerator or a cool, dry place. It will last for at least 12 months when you store it correctly.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What do walnut bitters taste like?

Walnut bitters have a deep, rich flavor that is perfect for adding a touch of complexity to co*cktails, mocktails or simply water. The robust nut flavor of the real walnuts comes through clearly, with a slightly nutty sweetness that is balanced by the bitterness of the menstruum and the earthly aromatics of the spices.

The result is versatile bitters that can be used in all sorts of drinks, from classic co*cktails to modern mixers or used for the medicinal benefits alone.

What goes good with bitters?

When it comes to mixology, walnut bitters are a bit of an acquired taste. They can be tricky to work with, but when used judiciously, they can add a unique flavor to co*cktails. For example, walnut bitters pair well with earthy flavors like bourbon and rye whiskey.

They also work well with citrusy fruits like orange and lemon. And if you're looking for a real adventure, try pairing walnut bitters with chocolate or coffee liqueurs. You could even add a drop or two to a cup of coffee.

The key is to start slowly and build up the flavor profile gradually. A few drops of walnut bitters can go a long way, so it's best to err on the side of caution.

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Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (9)

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5 from 98 votes

Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe

Making your own black walnut bitters is easier than you think! Whether you are looking for a homemade co*cktail addition or are interested in the medicinal benefits of digestive bitters, you've come to the right place!

Prep Time: 10 minutes mins

Cook Time: 0 minutes mins

Infusion Time: 14 days d

Total Time: 14 days d 10 minutes mins

Course: Beverage

Cuisine: Egyptian

Diet: Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Servings: 20 servings

Calories: 3kcal

Author: Kristen Wood

Cost: $2



Alcohol Method

  • 1 cup high-proof bourbon or cane alcohol

Vinegar Method

  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar

Glycerite Method

  • cup vegetable glycerin
  • cup distilled or spring water

US Customary - Metric


  • In a clean jar, place the walnut hulls, cinnamon, cloves, cacao nibs and peppercorns.

  • Cover with the menstruum of choice (alcohol, vinegar, or glycerin/water).

  • Place a lid on tightly and place the jar in a place away from direct sunlight to infuse for at least 2 weeks (up to 3 months).

  • Strain the bitters and funnel into a dropper bottle(s).

  • Keep in the refrigerator or a cool, dry place for up to one year.

  • Enjoy!


Serving: 1full dropper | Calories: 3kcal | Carbohydrates: 0.2g | Protein: 0.02g | Fat: 0.04g | Saturated Fat: 0.03g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.002g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.001g | Sodium: 1mg | Potassium: 10mg | Fiber: 0.03g | Sugar: 0.05g | Vitamin A: 0.3IU | Calcium: 1mg | Iron: 0.03mg

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Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (10)

About Kristen Wood

Kristen is a self-taught herbalist, gardener, certified function nutritional expert, cookbook author, writer and photographer. Her work has been featured in many online and print publications including Willow & Sage Magazine, Healthline, MSN, Elle, Yoga Journal and many more.

Reader Interactions


  1. Alina says

    Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (11)
    I've never hear of this, so I'm glad I found your blog! Will try it in the co*cktails.


    • Kristen says

      Thank you! Enjoy!


      • Mark Hausman says

        Black walnut hulls are green at first then turn black. Should I use black or green hulls?

        Thank you,
        Mark Hausman


        • Kristen says

          Black works best! If you have fresh green hulls, you can leave them to air dry for about a week.


          • Betty says

            Can't wait to try this! As a crafty person, I want to warn everyone that Black Walnut hulls were used as a deep brown dye before the advent of modern dyes. It stains EVERYTHING: clothing, countertops, shoes. I have used it on wool, works great. No getting it out though.

          • Kristen says

            Thank you for sharing this and giving us a visit! 🙂

  2. Gina Abernathy says

    Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (12)
    I've never thought to make homemade bitters before. Also, loved the background information.


  3. Caroline says

    Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (13)
    I'm so excited to give this a try - I've not tried making bitters before but the flavors sound great.


    • Kristen says

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy. 🙂


  4. Claudia Lamascolo says

    Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (14)
    Sounds terrific I love learning about different foods and ingredients this is so unique to me!


  5. Nancy says

    Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (15)
    My co*cktail tasted so good with this homemade walnut bitters


    • Kristen says

      So happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing!


  6. Andrea says

    Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (16)
    Homemade bitters sounds marvelous. Can't wait to use this in a few co*cktails.


  7. Jamie says

    Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (17)
    This was so simple to make and was perfect in our co*cktail!


  8. Emily says

    Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (18)
    This was an informative post. I had no idea how easy it was to make my own black walnut bitters! I enjoyed adding this to our Manhattans at co*cktail hour! Going to add it to an Old Fashioned next!


  9. Biana says

    Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (19)
    I have not made bitters before - thank you for sharing your recipe!


  10. MacKenzie says

    Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (20)
    Great idea. Can’t wait to try!


    • Kristen says

      Thank you!


  11. Dana says

    Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (21)
    This is so so cool! My inlaws are super into mixology right now (and I'm reaping the benefits lol). Definitely sending this their way!


    • Kristen says

      Thank you!!


  12. Cheryl says

    We have black walnut on our property. Should we dry the hulls first before making this?


    • Kristen says

      Yes. For fresh walnut hulls, I recommend just leaving them out to air dry for about a week and they should darken in color.


  13. Teresa S says

    Excited to try this! Can I use cinnamon sticks instead of chips? Same ratio or different?


    • Kristen says

      Hi, Teresa! Yes, you can..most definitely. I would recommend one cinnamon stick to replace the cinnamon chips. 🙂


  14. Peter says

    Quick terminology question: the hulls is the soft meaty part that is on the shell when it is on the tree, right? Not the shell that is the smaller, hard part that encloses the actual Have I got that right?


    • Kristen says

      Yes, exactly! The hull covers the shell, which covers the walnut. 🙂


  15. Chava says

    What if I am only able to obtain black walnut hull powder; how much should I use in your recipe?


    • Kristen says

      I would use approximately 2 tablespoons of powder. I hope this helps!


  16. Kimberly says

    I am allergic to black pepper. What would be a good substitute for the black peppercorns? Thank you


    • Kristen says

      Hi! You can add a small pinch of ground ginger or simply omit it. I hope this helps!


Leave a Reply

Easy Black Walnut Bitters Recipe (Digestive and co*cktail) (2024)


Can you use digestive bitters in co*cktails? ›

Our desire to be healthy after the holidays is getting us down. But there's no need to get bitter about it, thanks to co*cktail & digestive bitters! Bitters add complexity and flavor to drinks so you can reduce the amount of alcohol to create low alcohol drinks without sacrificing taste.

What do you use black walnut bitters in? ›

Walnut hulls imbue the bitters with a complex, herb-forward profile that can add depth and cut the sweetness of a Manhattan or Old Fashioned. A couple of drops of walnut bitters can also add dimension to a soup or sauce.

What can I mix with bitters for an upset stomach? ›

1. Bitters and soda. A bar is probably the last place you'd think to look for relief from nausea, but many people swear by five or six drops of co*cktail bitters mixed into a cold glass of tonic, club soda, or ginger ale. Most common bitters brands contain a blend of herbs such as cinnamon, fennel, mint, and ginger.

What are the best bitters for digestion? ›

Some include:
  • Dandelion.
  • Gentian.
  • Wormwood.
  • Bitter melon.
  • Burdock root‌
Feb 20, 2024

Are co*cktail bitters the same as digestive bitters? ›

co*cktail bitters are more concentrated than digestive bitters and have extraordinarily strong flavors. Subsequently, bartenders add co*cktail bitters in small amounts to their drink recipes and never serve them to customers straight.

Who should not take digestive bitters? ›

Plus, if you have any existing conditions like diabetes or illnesses that affect your gallbladder, kidneys or liver, it is not recommended that you take digestive bitters. Bitters contain alcohol, so also avoid it if you are pregnant or nursing.

What does black walnut and wormwood do for the body? ›

Black walnut uses

Due to its antibacterial properties, black walnut extract is used in wormwood complex supplements. Wormwood complex is a tincture made from black walnut hulls, a plant called wormwood, and cloves. It's a natural remedy against parasitic infections.

What does black walnut do to you? ›

Black walnut contains high concentrations of chemicals called tannins, which can reduce pain and swelling and dry up body fluids such as mucous. People use black walnut to lower the risk of heart disease, for skin wounds, and for other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Can you take digestive bitters every day? ›

While you can use bitters at low doses as part of your daily routine, you may find that bitters help you when used as needed. In the beginning, it's best to start with small doses of bitters before assessing its effectiveness and your body's reaction.

Can I take digestive bitters on an empty stomach? ›

Adding bitters to your day is easy – simply take 1-1.5 ml (30-45 drops) 3 times daily, in a little water, on an empty stomach. Take 15-60 minutes before meals, after a heavy meal, or when discomfort occurs.

Are you supposed to swallow digestive bitters? ›

After holding the bitters for about 15 seconds, you can then swallow them and your digestive system is ready for your meal. Although digestive bitters are generally safe to use, not everyone can use them, which is why certain people may need to avoid using digestive bitters or consult their clinician before using.

What are the best bitters for co*cktails? ›

They're rarely served straight because the flavors are much more intense than digestifs. Some of the best co*cktail bitters available are Angostura, Regans' Orange, Peychaud's, Bittermens, and The Bitter Truth.

Is apple cider vinegar a digestive bitter? ›

Emerging evidence suggests that bitter foods, such as apple cider vinegar, ginger and leafy greens, can be seriously good for our gut health. And most of us are a few centuries late to the game.

How do you drink bitters for digestion? ›

Unfortunately, when you add water it does dilute the bitter flavor as well. For this reason, our Digestive Bitters are best taken directly on the tongue. That said, if you are going to mix in water, we recommend mixing a dose in a normal-sized cup with an inch or so of water in it.

How do you use bitters in co*cktails? ›

Many classic co*cktails, like the Old Fashioned and Manhattan, call for a dash or two of Angostura to add bitterness and spice. “You can also add a few dashes to a glass of gin and find yourself drinking a lovely pink gin co*cktail, a favorite of Queen Elizabeth II,” says Cooper.

How do you drink digestive bitters? ›

Bitters are very potent, and dosing and frequency will vary on what you're using them for. But often a few drops will do. You can take them internally either by placing a few drops from a tincture on the tongue or diluting with another liquid, such as sparkling water or in co*cktails.

What bitters are used in co*cktails? ›

Three types of bitters can be found behind just about any bar: Angostura, Peychaud's, and an orange bitter (there are several prominent brands). These are the so-called "holy trinity" of bitters, and most co*cktail recipes can be made with one of these.

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