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Infusions & Tinctures at Home: The Topic


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#301 bostonapothecary

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 08:02 AM

I've been thinking about getting a centrifugal or masticating juicer, like the ones they use at juice shops like Jamba Juice. The resulting juice I could drink or make into a syrup (by freeze reduction), but would it be possible to use the leftover pulp to make an infusion?

It seems ideal as the surface area is very high; maybe you could even do an infusion in just a day or two. Most of the liquid has been squeezed out so it won't decrease your ABV.

Of course this would be best with fruits in which the pulp is completely edible/desirable like pineapple or strawberry, as opposed to something like pomegranate.


i swear by the acme centrifugal juicers. they are built like tanks and can be had used on ebay cheaply. the problem i've had with the leftover pulp is that it ends up being higher in pectin than the juice and precipitates in your infusion.

the acme juicer gets a 99% yield with pomegranites. it does break the seeds but i don't think it necessarily makes the juice more tannic than a citrus press would. i've come to positively regard the tannin. it adds a little structure to things while never being an obtrusive distraction.
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#302 Chris Amirault

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 06:13 PM

I regularly have a shot of tequila next to my plate whenever I make tortillas with fresh masa, and I had a few left over from the most recent batch. It got me thinking: what would a tortilla-infused tequila be like?

Tortilla Tequila

300 ml tequila (I used Lunazul blanco, but I'll bet Ilegal, Chinaco, or Herradura añejo would be splendid)
4 homemade tortillas from fresh nixtamal (NOT from masa harina)

Mince tortillas and add to tequila. Infuse for 24h; strain.

Made a Cardinal Ximénez tonight, a fine drink indeed: but the mind reels at the possibilities.....
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#303 haresfur

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 11:27 PM

I regularly have a shot of tequila next to my plate whenever I make tortillas with fresh masa, and I had a few left over from the most recent batch. It got me thinking: what would a tortilla-infused tequila be like?

Tortilla Tequila

300 ml tequila (I used Lunazul blanco, but I'll bet Ilegal, Chinaco, or Herradura añejo would be splendid)
4 homemade tortillas from fresh nixtamal (NOT from masa harina)

Mince tortillas and add to tequila. Infuse for 24h; strain.

Made a Cardinal Ximénez tonight, a fine drink indeed: but the mind reels at the possibilities.....

Sounds intriguing. I wonder if the remains would make a good tortilla soup.
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#304 Kent Wang

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 03:22 AM

i swear by the acme centrifugal juicers. they are built like tanks and can be had used on ebay cheaply. the problem i've had with the leftover pulp is that it ends up being higher in pectin than the juice and precipitates in your infusion.

Does the pectin turn it into a jelly, or are there other problems?

#305 bostonapothecary

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 09:48 AM

I regularly have a shot of tequila next to my plate whenever I make tortillas with fresh masa, and I had a few left over from the most recent batch. It got me thinking: what would a tortilla-infused tequila be like?

Tortilla Tequila

300 ml tequila (I used Lunazul blanco, but I'll bet Ilegal, Chinaco, or Herradura añejo would be splendid)
4 homemade tortillas from fresh nixtamal (NOT from masa harina)

Mince tortillas and add to tequila. Infuse for 24h; strain.

Made a Cardinal Ximénez tonight, a fine drink indeed: but the mind reels at the possibilities.....


chris, i love the idea. whats it like. the aroma of tequila juxtaposed with corn?

are you ending up with any hard to clarify solids or strange PH sensations? it seems like a good candidate for redistillation.

i've never worked with nixtamal and i'm not sure in what form you buy it, but if you can give me some more pointers i'd love to join the experimenting.
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#306 bostonapothecary

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 10:08 AM


i swear by the acme centrifugal juicers. they are built like tanks and can be had used on ebay cheaply. the problem i've had with the leftover pulp is that it ends up being higher in pectin than the juice and precipitates in your infusion.

Does the pectin turn it into a jelly, or are there other problems?


i've had batches of strawberry infused tequila that have jellied. and i've had lots of batches of dried cranberry infused tequila that develops lots of pectin flecks. i think the difference is the final alcohol content with the flecks developing at higher levels.

the acme juicer is known for aerating juices but i've finally got a food saver with the canning jar attachment so i'm going to experiment vacuuming things like pineapple juice to de-gas it. i'm really curious what the results will be for things like apple juice.

if i can juice the apples really fast via basket press or acme, add ascorbic acid, and de-gas can i retain their color?
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#307 mkayahara

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 10:09 AM

i've never worked with nixtamal and i'm not sure in what form you buy it, but if you can give me some more pointers i'd love to join the experimenting.

There's a rundown of the process on the Cooking Issues blog.
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#308 Chris Amirault

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Posted 31 March 2011 - 11:19 AM

chris, i love the idea. whats it like. the aroma of tequila juxtaposed with corn?

are you ending up with any hard to clarify solids or strange PH sensations? it seems like a good candidate for redistillation.


On the aroma: yes, more or less. It's well tequila (Lunazul blanco), which doesn't have much aroma to begin with, so the corn dominates. I'd love to try it with a quality añejo.

On solids: it's definitely cloudy, and I'm allowing the two 150ml bottles to sit a spell to see if it clarifies at all. I may also run it through the Buchner funnel if I feel sufficiently motivated.

Not sure about the PH sensations, but I'll report back after a taste tonight.
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#309 Lisa Shock

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 10:44 AM

Noting that I did read andiesenji's posts on using dried peaches, I am wondering if there are any issues with using fresh peaches or apricots in an infusion?

Just got to thinking about the chalkiness that they can have in ice cream/sorbet and was wondering if that also affected infusing.

#310 Chris Amirault

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 11:05 AM

Fresh peaches have always left louche-y haze in my infused booze.
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#311 Lisa Shock

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 12:56 PM

Ok then. No biggie, I was just working on a seasonal punch recipe, but, I can switch to a more reliable summer fruit, thanks!

#312 evo-lution

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 01:42 PM

Fresh peaches have always left louche-y haze in my infused booze.


Have you ever tried to filter the 'louche' with a clarifying powder?
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#313 Chris Amirault

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 01:53 PM

No, just sedimentary settling over time (works ok) and using a pump, a Buchner filter, and an Erlenmeyer flask (nope). You?
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#314 bmdaniel

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 01:55 PM

A pectin enyzme might be a good idea?

#315 slkinsey

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 03:59 PM

I have found certain sediment-type clouding agents to be more or less un-filterable without a centrifuge. My parents have aged our Fish House Punch for a year before drinking it since, well, before I was born. The cloudy sediment from the lemon juice is only practicably filterable to a certain extent, and they have taken to decanting the clear liquor off the lees, filtering the next "layer" through a coffee filter and saving the rest for batch centrifuging every few years. Perhaps one could filter out the cloudy sediment with infinite patience and an infinite number of Büchner filter papers, or using a diatomaceous earth filter or something like that, but it doesn't seem likely to be a very profitable expenditure of effort and time. The sediment, by the way, is far too fine to be held out with a Superbag or anything like that. I wonder if gelatin or agar syneresis clarification might work for this sort of thing...
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#316 Chris Amirault

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 04:01 PM

Good work, Sam. I keep telling my parents to get with the batch centrifuging, but they're such slackers.
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#317 EvergreenDan

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 05:09 PM

Parents. Centrifuge. Fish House Punch. Aged one year. Since before you were born.

My head is spinning. My parents got "fancy" around the holidays by making Old Fashions.
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#318 evo-lution

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 05:57 PM

No, just sedimentary settling over time (works ok) and using a pump, a Buchner filter, and an Erlenmeyer flask (nope). You?


Oh yes, I have the remedy, will reveal all tomorrow...
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#319 jmfangio

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 08:15 PM

Bentonite fining can work wonders on a cloudy product. It's dirt cheap (pardon the pun), and I've yet to experience any loss of flavor or color.
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#320 KatieLoeb

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 01:38 PM

Parents. Centrifuge. Fish House Punch. Aged one year. Since before you were born.

My head is spinning. My parents got "fancy" around the holidays by making Old Fashions.


I have to agree. But this certainly explains a lot to me about Sam and his sense of precision with cocktails and all manner of home prepared delicacies. That gene clearly doesn't skip a generation... :biggrin:

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#321 evo-lution

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 05:48 AM

No, just sedimentary settling over time (works ok) and using a pump, a Buchner filter, and an Erlenmeyer flask (nope). You?


So, as promised...

Oh yes, I have the remedy, will reveal all tomorrow...


albeit I'm a couple of days late, apologies. Should you wish to easily remove any/all sediment and you don't have access to (expensive) filtering equipment you will want to make up a clarifying powder consisting of;

2 parts egg white powder
2 parts milk sugar (lactose)
1 part potato starch

Add 1/4 ounce of this powder to every litre of liquid that you wish to clarify and shake vigorously. Put the liquid into a warm room for a day or two, agitating regularly. Within minutes you will see the louche dropping out of suspension and settling at the bottom of your macerating container. After around 24-48 hours (longer may be required) filter through coffee filter paper.

As I understand it...

Fining agents work on the principle that all of the particles responsible for the louche, clouding or haze have an electrical charge. As an example egg white has a positive charge meaning that it can attract negatively charged materials. In binding to the negatively charged materials the combined weight increases resulting in settling to occur. In practice it’s usually necessary to have finings agents of different charges added.


With that in mind the powder above calls for both negative and positive clarifying agents;

Egg white (positive)
Milk sugar (negative)
Potato starch (negative)

which will ensure that all sediment can easily be filtered. As mentioned by jmfangio, Bentonite (negative) can also work but it won't work in every case unless mixed with something that has a positive charge.

I'm no scientist so the explanations above may not be accurate but I can assure you the powder works and is great for clarifying small batches of liqueurs/bitters/tinctures/etc that have developed a louche/haze.

Edited by evo-lution, 08 August 2011 - 05:51 AM.

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#322 Lisa Shock

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 06:19 AM

Thanks!
Now I have to start a new batch of chocolate infusion to test this! -I was wanting to try again, but, after getting cloudiness with several types of chocolate, I had gotten discouraged because of the growing clouds.

#323 evo-lution

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 07:14 AM

Thanks!
Now I have to start a new batch of chocolate infusion to test this! -I was wanting to try again, but, after getting cloudiness with several types of chocolate, I had gotten discouraged because of the growing clouds.


Can you give me more info regarding the process of your infusion (abv of base spirit, how much chocolate, type of chocolate, and so on...)?
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#324 Lisa Shock

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 10:03 AM

I did this three years ago and did not take good notes, so please excuse the vagueness.

I used Everclear (190 proof), in a quart mason jar, not quite filled.

I froze then grated, with a fine microplane, 2oz of:

Trader Joe's dark Pound Plus (Callebaut 72%, IIRC)
Guittard (Fresh & Easy's 500g dark bar)
Valrhona Criollo, the one Trader Joe's sells near checkouts
Felchlin -don't recall exactly, got it at World Pastry Forum (no lecithin)

All of these developed cloudiness from the top. I skimmed it off and it kept coming back, it grew visibly day by day. It had a weird appearance, it was fluffy like the wet equivalent of a dust-bunny. I don't recall if my cocoa infusions developed cloudiness. I gave up on that fairly early since the chocolate had a more complex flavor.

#325 slkinsey

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 10:05 AM

I'm no scientist so the explanations above may not be accurate but I can assure you the powder works and is great for clarifying small batches of liqueurs/bitters/tinctures/etc that have developed a louche/haze.

Interesting stuff. One question: "Louche" for many of us refers specifically to the cloudiness that develops when substances precipitate out of solution due to the percent alcohol being lowered (the classic example being the introduction of water into absinthe). This is a bit different from the cloudiness that most people try to solve in homemade/artisanal bitters or in my FHP example above, both of which tend to be caused by microfine particles. (Although I suppose that once a louche has formed, it can also be understood as a suspension of microfine particles.) Do you find this technique works well for those as well?


Also, while we're on the subject, while I note that a lot of modern and recreation bitters have a generally see-through aspect, Angostura bitters do not. They are definitely the darkest and least see-through bitters around. Presumably the darkness and opacity are due to particles suspended in the liquid, yes? Anyone know what they do to keep the particles from settling out?
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#326 evo-lution

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 11:06 AM

Interesting stuff. One question: "Louche" for many of us refers specifically to the cloudiness that develops when substances precipitate out of solution due to the percent alcohol being lowered (the classic example being the introduction of water into absinthe). This is a bit different from the cloudiness that most people try to solve in homemade/artisanal bitters or in my FHP example above, both of which tend to be caused by microfine particles. (Although I suppose that once a louche has formed, it can also be understood as a suspension of microfine particles.) Do you find this technique works well for those as well?


Sorry I should've said, the reason I refer to louche (as well as cloudiness/haze) was because I imagine some making their own infusions may look to dilute with water which can cause the product to louche in the way that you describe. They are one and the same thing to me and I've had success with the above powder clarifying diluted absinthe, for no reason other than curiousity. The great thing is that there's no noticable loss of flavour.

Also, while we're on the subject, while I note that a lot of modern and recreation bitters have a generally see-through aspect, Angostura bitters do not. They are definitely the darkest and least see-through bitters around. Presumably the darkness and opacity are due to particles suspended in the liquid, yes? Anyone know what they do to keep the particles from settling out?


If you let a bottle of Ango sit long enough there's a lot of sediment that gathers at the bottom. Get your hands on an old bottle and you'll typically find a helluva lot (as I've found in a number of old bitters/etc). I imagine that it doesn't settle out too much because the particles are so fine, similar to those in louched Absinthe.

I spent a long time contemplating whether clarification of bitters was a big deal or not but the clincher for me was when I considered that some bars decant bitters into their own dasher bottles. Angostura being cloudy isn't so much of an issue due to its dark colour but when your bitters are lighter the cloudiness doesn't make for an appealing product to the eye.

The above method I describe is a great (and relatively inexpensive) way for a bartender or enthusiast to clarify their housemade bottles. I'd love to hear some people's thoughts if anyone tries it as it's been great for me on the occasions I have.
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#327 slkinsey

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 01:50 PM

Cool. I just wonder what it is in Angostura that helps the particles stay in suspension for such a long time. I've had artisanal bitters that dropped some sediment within less than a day, whereas Angostura seems to take a long, long time. Do you suppose particle size is the only difference?


I wonder what would happen if you want at a batch of sieved-but-not-fined bitters with a rotor-stator? Bet you could get the particles down to colloidal suspension size.
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#328 evo-lution

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Posted 13 August 2011 - 04:33 AM

After my earlier post I wanted to show what happens with the clarifing powder so made up and infusion and added water until it went cloudy (at around 35%abv).

This first picture shows the cloudy infusion;

IMG00611-20110812-1414.jpg

This second picture shows the infusion with clarifying powder added, which has made it slightly cloudier. This is taken just seconds after I agitated the liquid (hence the foam).

IMG00612-20110812-1415.jpg

This third picture is taken two hours after the powder was added, you'll already notice that clarity is beginning to show and the heavy sediment is resting at the bottom of the container.

IMG00615-20110812-1518.jpg
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#329 Kent Wang

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Posted 02 March 2012 - 08:36 PM

I recently made Myer's rum infusions with raisins and dried apricots. I bought these at the Muslim market in Shanghai. Absolutely delicious. A lot of the sugar is leeched out so you have a fairly sweet infusion. All you need to do is serve it chilled (shaken, stirred, or on rocks), no need to add anything else. The infusions can be repeated a few times—i.e. you can pour out all the rum, then add in more rum. The infused raisins and apricots are also quite tasty on their own.

I've had a Philips HR1861 centrifugal juicer for a few months and that has been very useful for juicing and infusing. After I do a conventional infusion (say, pineapple), I can run the fruits through the juicer to extract more liquor (though this will be lower ABV as it will have more juice and plant matter). Then I take the pulp from the juicer and infuse it again. Since the pulp has massive surface area, after just a day or two the infusion is ready and I run it through the juicer again for more liquor. The remaining pulp I'll bake into cookies or cakes.

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#330 Tri2Cook

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 05:35 PM

I have an almost-full bottle of Pitu cachaca that I bought when it was my only available option. It's been sitting dormant since I got my hands on a bottle of Leblon. I'm wondering if there's anything interesting I could infuse it with so that it has a reason to be in the cabinet. I've been planning to make some allspice dram, would it be suitable for that? I actually considered infusing it with fresh sugar cane at one point but that seemed like it might just end up tasting like sweet Pitu. I'm not sure the green, grassy flavors of the cane would translate... and I'm not sure what I'd do with it once I had it. I also considered using it as the base for a ginger liqueur. Anyway, I'm open to ideas.
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