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Poisons of the Seven Kingdoms: Cocktail Bitters Inspired by Game of Thrones

Impress your guests and frighten your enemies with these homemade cocktail bitters inspired by the deadliest poisons in Game of Thrones.


Basic Bitter Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon each bittering agent (such as black walnut leaf, gentian, or sarasparilla)
  • 1 tablespoon each herb or spice (such as cinnamon, clove, or anise)
  • 1 tablespoon each of any other ingredients (such as hibiscus leaf, lemongrass, or coffee bean)
  • 1 large bottle of neutral spirit, 150+ proof (vodka or Everclear)

Rich Sugar Syrup:

  • 2 cup cane or turbinado sugar
  • 1 cup water


  • Half pint jars with lids and rings
  • Funnel
  • Coffee filters
  • 4- ounce amber vials with droppers
  • Pipettes


First, make tinctures from your bittering agents, herbs and spices:

  • Spoon a tablespoon of each ingredient into its own half pint jar, and top with a cup of neutral spirit. Seal with a lid and band, and let sit in a cool dark place until the tincture (or extract) is fully infused.
  • The amount of time this may take will vary, but in principle fresh or dried herbs will take less time than less permeable substances, like cocoa nibs or coffee beans. In my experience, the ingredients I’ve listed above take anywhere from two days (black walnut leaf, dried hibiscus) to one week (wild cherry bark, gentian, cinnamon). Cocoa Nibs and coffee took longest, and were left for nearly 2 weeks.
  • When the scent of the ingredient to be infused overpowers the scent of the alcohol, you know the tincture is ready. Using a coffee filter, strain the solids out of the liquids, and transfer the tincture into amber bottles. Once the solids are removed, these tinctures will last up to a year or more.

Next, make the cocktail bitters:

  • Using a pipette or dropper, mix up the bitters in amber vials as described below. Feel free to adjust or change the ingredients to your own taste. Enjoy in various cocktails!


"Poisons" of the Seven Kingdoms:
Sweetsleep (Grassy & Sweet)
5 parts vanilla extract
4 parts lemongrass
2 parts each hibiscus & lime zest extract
1 part gentian root
1 part rich simple syrup
Basilisk’s Blood (Warm & Savory)
3 part coffee extract
2 part sarsaparilla
1 part each black walnut leaf & anise
1 part rich simple syrup
Manticore Venom (Sweet & Spicy)
2 part each cinnamon, wild cherry bark, grains of paradise, & gentian root
1 part each clove & allspice
1 part rich simple syrup