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I have an alcohol free herbal liquid bitter. The ingredients are:

“Vegetable Glycerin, Purified Water, Astragalus Root, Centaury Aerial Parts, Gentian Root, Ginger Root, Rosemary Leaves, Fennel Seed, Cardamon Seed (210mg).”

I know alcohol based bitters can last for a long time. After opening this what factors can lead this bitter to go bad and how long can I expect it to last?

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It is not that it is going to turn bad, the issue is that the interesting components of this bitter are mostly volatile. Volatiles and the flavor components of bitters are more easily "dissolved" into/preserved by alcohol. Water is terrible for this. So, the best you can do is purchase or make small amounts, be sure to keep it tightly sealed, and keep it away from direct light. It's hard to say how long it will last once opened...days maybe, but I can promise it is much less time than a bitter made with alcohol.

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  • Glycerine acts as the stabilizer. – CobaltHex Apr 21 at 23:18
  • Glycerine is in fact an alcohol, ist has even three alcoholic groups. There are techniques that use glycerine to extract substances from plants, so I suspect that a ethanol less bitter might be possible. As glycerine is sweet itself the resulting bitter is likely milder than an ethanol based one. – jmk Apr 22 at 21:50

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