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Mango liqueur - how do I keep it from being disgusting?


jrshaul
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I make liqueurs as a hobby, and I've had a great deal of frustration trying to make a mango liqueur. My methods for making flavored booze are almost identical to those used to make jelly, only except that I replace the fruit pectin with moonshine.

I've been pureeing mango and mixing it with a roughly equal part of vodka, then allowing it to infuse for a few weeks. Even though I'm using good-quality mason jars and adding a great deal of lime juice, the end result still becomes disgusting very rapidly. Due to the massive alcohol content, it's definitely not a bacteria or fungus, and oxidation doesn't seem possible - so what is it that's causing my problems?

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I'm going to make an educated guess here - one is that you should not puree the mango. Just add it in chunks. Two is that the lime is playing a part and I would leave that out. Three is that it would only need to sit for about a week, two at the most. But mostly I am guessing that the puree and the lime are your big issues. I suspect that the puree and the lime juice pulp are floating a bit and that's where the trouble is starting. Try it with some plain chunks and see what happens. Make sure that everything is submerged well. If you really want the lime flavor in there, use a few strips of zest rather than juice.

Good Luck!

Don't try to win over the haters. You're not the jackass whisperer."

Scott Stratten

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I'd look at reducing the water content by using grain alcohol instead of vodka, and shortening the infusion time. That said, mango has some odd starches in it which makes it difficult to use fresh in sorbets and such. Blanching cubes of it in simple syrup may help a bit.

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I know a guy who makes a mango liquor and he cuts the mango into chunks and roasts it in the oven at a rather low temp to reduce the liquid and concentrate the sugar. It's too early for me to call him today but I will phone later and ask him the details.

I think he uses a good light rum but I may be wrong.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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If you really want the lime flavor in there, use a few strips of zest rather than juice.

Good Luck!

I've tried the lime juice because it's mostly citric acid and ascorbic acid - very potent antioxidants. (The kind that keep apples from turning brown, not the kind that keep you from getting cancer.)

How about cooking the mango for a few minutes to stop it from oxidizing?

I've never heard of this. How does it work?

I'd look at reducing the water content by using grain alcohol instead of vodka, and shortening the infusion time. That said, mango has some odd starches in it which makes it difficult to use fresh in sorbets and such. Blanching cubes of it in simple syrup may help a bit.

I generally shoot for a 40-60 proof end result, and instead of a simple syrup I dissolve a homemade taffy (less aftertaste.) Anything more than 80 proof is overkill.

The fact that 1 bottle of everclear is as expensive as two gallons of vodka doesn't help, either - and my filtration equipment doesn't work so good above 100 proof.

I know a guy who makes a mango liquor and he cuts the mango into chunks and roasts it in the oven at a rather low temp to reduce the liquid and concentrate the sugar. It's too early for me to call him today but I will phone later and ask him the details.

I think he uses a good light rum but I may be wrong.

This sounds like the ticket. I may substitute Mr. Boston, though - just don't tell him that. :P

Edited by jrshaul (log)
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Okay, here is the info about the mango.

He peels them, cuts them into chunks and puts the chunks, pulp AND THE SEEDs on a sheet pan and into the oven at 275° F., for one hour.

Everything, including the seeds go into a big jar with enough liquor to cover and he uses one of the expandable steaming things to weight the fruit down.

like this one

He uses one of the mid-range white rums (I know nothing about this subject) and his last batches he used Havana Club because he got a big discount on a case.

He said you can use vodka but for God's sake don't use cheap stuff as it is a waste. He said white Bacardi is okay and is popular but the Havana Club and Appleton are better.

He also said to throw in half a dozen whole allspice which isn't enough to make it taste spicy but will enhance the mango and in some batches he adds a piece of dried chile pepper, not too hot.

He said to leave it undisturbed and tightly sealed for at least a week before you check it, patience is important. It should be well infused after three weeks.

He also said "Good Luck" and when finished fix a hot buttered rum with it - the flavor combination is amazing.

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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He said you can use vodka but for God's sake don't use cheap stuff as it is a waste. He said white Bacardi is okay and is popular but the Havana Club and Appleton are better.

Thanks for the information.

I run my vodka twice through an activated charcoal filtration system. It takes an entire day to filter a gallon, but the end result is much better. As a result, I can use a wide variety of cheap vodka, though at the rate I seem to go through the stuff I'd like to be able to start buying it by the oil drum. :D

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In terms of white rum I think that the Flor de Caña is the best bang for the buck, hands down. At least in these parts it's even cheaper than Bacardi, and has the benefit of actually tasting good, even before infusion.

How much does it cost?

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I pay $12/750mL here in Oklahoma.

That's about what I pay here in Atlanta. But FdC also has ridiculous pricing on 1.75s: about $15. That's three bucks for an additional liter.

Cripes.

Mr. Boston costs about that much around here.

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Quick item - it may be that what is causing the problems has nothing to do with oxidation, but with enzymatic reactions. Mangos, Papayas and Pineapples all have high amounts of protease enzymes, and I've found that it creates very unstable infusions.

Cooking/Roasting the fruit first works most likely because it's denaturing the bromelain (it denatures at around 150 degrees fahrenheit).

Just a thought...

Avery Glasser

Bittermens, Inc. - Producers of Bittermens Bitters & Extracts

Bittermens Spirits, Inc. - Purveyors of Small Batch Bitter Liqueurs

Vendetta Spirits, LLC. - Nano-Importer of Hand-Produced Spirits

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  • 4 months later...

Quick item - it may be that what is causing the problems has nothing to do with oxidation, but with enzymatic reactions. Mangos, Papayas and Pineapples all have high amounts of protease enzymes, and I've found that it creates very unstable infusions.

Cooking/Roasting the fruit first works most likely because it's denaturing the bromelain (it denatures at around 150 degrees fahrenheit).

Just a thought...

I officially take back any bad things I've said about molecular gastronomy. (Mostly they're just grumblings over my inability to afford it, but I take it back regardless.)

I've wondered the same thing, in fact - I'm surprised it denatures so low. Any suggestions as to the most effective method of denaturing?

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