After finding a source of wormwood, I've decided to make some bitters. For the most part, it is a pretty simple process. It really just requires patience. The solvency of high proof alcohol is enough to get the essential oils out of most of the ingredients. This is kind of a proof of concept for me, so I'm working in small batches. I bought 750mL of grain alcohol, and aliquotted it into some canning jars (roughly 75mL / jar). Then, using a mortar and pestle, I ground up individual spices and added each spice to its own jar. I am doing it that way so that I can mix everything to taste at the end of the process, rather than trying to get a spice blend perfect now, adding it all to one batch, only to find out it tastes horrible when it is finished. I have to say that the vanilla aroma was amazing and wonderful. I may have to make my own vanilla extract just for fun. With expensive ingredients like this, you can really understand why making batch mistakes is not wanted. Some other flavors I'll be trying include orange and coriander because I like citrus scents and tones. Orange peel is pretty bitter as is, so I scraped all the pith off it that I could to try to really focus on the orange flavor rather than use it as the bitter agent. I was trying to find star anise today, but came up empty. I think one of the ethnic markets will probably have it. I'll probably wander in the one spice shop and see what else I may want to try using. Now, I just let this stuff sit and dissolve for a while, probably a few weeks. Then I'll take a sample from each jar, cut it down to 40% alcohol, and do some tasting. From there, I'll start putting together my recipe for bitters.