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Infusions, Extractions & Tinctures at Home: The Topic (Part 1)

490 posts in this topic

Yes, double infusion is the way to go with strawberry. I do about 2 weeks each time. I don't really keep track of it on a calendar though.

Wow, I've never thought to try W&NOP. I'll have to give it a shot. I've just been doing Flor de Cana white.

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Tequila always seems to go well with citrus and maybe strawberries as well. My favorite tequila infusion is grapefruit. I've also done a cactus flower infusion in tequila - the taste for that batch was a little too subtle, but the bright red color was fantastic.

Kent, I've had terrific batches of blackberry and boring batches of blackberry liqueurs. I wish I knew what made the difference, because I think I didn't really prepare them differently. My bet is the state of the fruit at the time - whether it was early or late in the season and therefore sourer or sweeter.

Right now my favorite infusions are paw paw made with vodka, however bourbon would have made it a knockout; fennel seed in vodka, using fresh fennel seed gives it a sweet, piney taste - and as a mixer just adds so much dimension to a drink; bay leaf rum, again as a mixer; and finally hickory whiskey (try saying that after 3 or 4...).

BTW: Paw paw is a fruit native to the Southern US, tastes a little like banana, but much more custardy and deep.

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Infuse with bacon. Just google it.

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If I have rum infused with pineapple, would it be crazy to make a daiquiri with that and pineapple syrup? Would that just be too one-note, or so pineapple-y that it's awesome? This question seems like a philosophical one.

I infused some cherries in brandy (Romate). I forgot about them in the back of the fridge for anywhere from six to nine months. It's not bad, but it certainly isn't good. It has just a tiny hint of cherry and a lot of woodsiness, like rye whiskey, and even the under-ripe pecan astringency of Old Overholt. It did take on a lot of the dark red color.

I take it back. It actually turned out pretty good. It doesn't taste that great on its own but with some added acidity and sweetness in a cocktail, it really brings out the cherry aspects. In the same way that strawberry infusion tastes pretty good straight but a whole lot better with some simple syrup -- and same with apples infused in Famous Grouse.

I made a substantially modified Ritz Carlton based on the recipe in Vintage Spirits:

5 parts Romate brandy de Jerez infused with cherries

2 parts freeze reduced orange syrup

2 parts lemon juice

It was surprisingly good. A lot of cherry flavor; the orange only comes through a little bit and is definitely second-fiddle to the cherry.

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Hi folks --

I'm overrun with berries on our property at the moment, and so am trying my hand at some infusions. So far have strawberry infused tequila, raspberry infused gin, and black & red raspberry infused pisco which is destined to be liqueur.

My question: Can someone tell me if I absolutely must refrigerate while these are infusing, or if they can stay in a cool cabinet? (AKA how much damn fridge space do I need to devote to liquor!?)

Thanks so much,

Emily

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Hi folks --

I'm overrun with berries on our property at the moment, and so am trying my hand at some infusions. So far have strawberry infused tequila, raspberry infused gin, and black & red raspberry infused pisco which is destined to be liqueur.

My question: Can someone tell me if I absolutely must refrigerate while these are infusing, or if they can stay in a cool cabinet? (AKA how much damn fridge space do I need to devote to liquor!?)

Thanks so much,

Emily

if your alcohol content is over 20% you don't have to refrigerate. you only have to worry about oxidation so use only jars that you can fill to the top if you want the most vibrant color and freshest aromas.

fruits have a significant water content and it will come to equilibrium with the alcohol cutting your overall proof. there are tables of water content for fruits that you can use to estimate how much of their water you are diluting your spirit with. the fruits you are using are about 85-90% water so don't add more than 50% fruit by volume to your infusion and you'll be fine.


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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Thanks Boston -- that was a big help. I'm pretty sure that I used more than 50% fruit by volume -- basically I filled quart mason jars 3/4s full of berries, and then the alcohol was just enough to cover them -- so I think I'll suck it up and give up the fridge space!

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I think it's going to be hard to predict what ABV you're going to arrive at after infusing. I double-infuse strawberries and I fill the container all the way full with them then add rum. As an estimate, at least half the volume is strawberries. Yet I don't feel the end result tastes significantly diluted. I'm mostly sure that it's above 20%.

Still, I keep it all in the fridge. Are there are any other reasons to do so?

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I think it's going to be hard to predict what ABV you're going to arrive at after infusing. I double-infuse strawberries and I fill the container all the way full with them then add rum. As an estimate, at least half the volume is strawberries. Yet I don't feel the end result tastes significantly diluted. I'm mostly sure that it's above 20%.

Still, I keep it all in the fridge. Are there are any other reasons to do so?

you can always start with a higher proof spirit if you want to go the infusion route and have more stability. unfortunately there aren't many overproof options. at work we only use dried fruit because of their lack of water content.

the problem i see in theory with second-iteration infusing is that the second round isn't as efficient as the first because there is already aroma in the solvent so less will be removed from the strawberry to create equalibrium. yet lots of water and alcohol will trade places lowering the proof in greater magnitude than the gaining of aroma.

this does assume you are not pressing the fruit afterwards. but if you have a press, (one of the best toys i ever bought) you can create a non alcoholic juice concentrate with the freeze concentration method then be free to make syrups or high proof preserves like tequila por mi amante. a nice feature of the concentrates is that they take up very little space in the freezer.


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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If I might add a note about getting a more intense flavor from fruit infusions.

Dried fruits have a much more concentrated flavor and sweetness and are ideal for infusing in alcohol.

Earlier in this topic someone mentioned apples and these fruits in particular will produce a much stronger flavor than fresh apples.

Once dried, the fruits do not need refrigeration and this is a huge advantage and allows you to work at your pace instead of at the demands of the ripe fruit.

I have mentioned many times that I grew up on a farm where every type of fruit (and vegetable) was canned or dried. There were no electric dehydrators at that time but there were sheds with fairly flat, galvanized roofs (shiny and very hot in the sun) which were covered with muslin and then the fruit and that protected by wood frames on which "gauze" curtain material had been stretched.

After they were dried, the peaches were carefully sorted and any that had a blemish went into a big crock (15 gallon) with sugar and boiling water and eventually became peach "brandy" for use in the holiday fruitcakes, steamed puddings and etc. The aroma when the cover was lifted to stir the stuff was a heady essence of pure peach.

Same with apples. While some cider was made from the windfalls at harvest, that never lasted through the winter and one or more batches made with dried apples would be produced and some of the more aromatic dried apples were infused in brandy - something of which my grandfather was very fond.

If you don't have the inclination (or resources) to dry you own fruit, excellent varieties are widely available. If you are near a Trader Joe's, check out their dried fruits.


"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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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Dried fruits does seem like a good idea. The ones at the store all have sulfur dioxide added to "preserve color and taste". Is there any problem with using that stuff? The health concerns aren't a big deal to me, but does it affect the taste?

Drying your own fruits sounds pretty good to me. I think a electric dehydrator would be a good way to go about it so that you don't apply any heat to it, which might change the flavor.

this does assume you are not pressing the fruit afterwards. but if you have a press, (one of the best toys i ever bought) you can create a non alcoholic juice concentrate with the freeze concentration method then be free to make syrups or high proof preserves like tequila por mi amante. a nice feature of the concentrates is that they take up very little space in the freezer.

Can you clarify this part? If you freeze concentrate, then the alcohol separates out? What do you do with the resulting syrup? I suppose you could mix it again with the infusion at service.

Which press did you buy? How much did it cost?

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Dried fruits does seem like a good idea. The ones at the store all have sulfur dioxide added to "preserve color and taste". Is there any problem with using that stuff? The health concerns aren't a big deal to me, but does it affect the taste?

Drying your own fruits sounds pretty good to me. I think a electric dehydrator would be a good way to go about it so that you don't apply any heat to it, which might change the flavor.

this does assume you are not pressing the fruit afterwards. but if you have a press, (one of the best toys i ever bought) you can create a non alcoholic juice concentrate with the freeze concentration method then be free to make syrups or high proof preserves like tequila por mi amante. a nice feature of the concentrates is that they take up very little space in the freezer.

Can you clarify this part? If you freeze concentrate, then the alcohol separates out? What do you do with the resulting syrup? I suppose you could mix it again with the infusion at service.

Which press did you buy? How much did it cost?

my understanding is that those electric dehydrators rely on heat and they can therefore influence aroma. some fruits are tougher than others. i've used sugared-dried cranberries for years now.

i press the fruit and concentrate pre-alcohol. you can do all sorts of things to serve. immediately adding only alcohol to stabilize is an option and gets you in the territory of the typical infusion. you can also add alcohol and more sugar to create a liqueur. only sugar would get you a syrup.

i use a no. 25 ratcheting basket press from northern brewer. it was $300 but i've already gotten a ton of use out of it. a basket press is the perfect solution for hard to juice things like pineapples and strawberries.


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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For hard to juice things "like pineapple and strawberries" also kiwi fruits and the heavily seeded concord grapes and wild blackberries (from a friend who lives in Tehachapi and has to contend with bears who also love blackberries) I use a steam juice extractor. Similar to this one.

If I only have a small batch of fruit that isn't enough volume for the steam extractor, I use an electric streamer - the kind with the basket that sits well above the water.

You can also do this with a stove top steamer.

For each cup of fruit I put 1 1/2 cups of water in the bottom and 4 cups of fruit is just about the maximum for one batch. (This also works with dried fruit.)

I turn the steamer on and set a timer for 45 minutes. I check the liquid in the bottom and taste it to see how concentrated it is. If it needs more time I steam it for another 30 minutes and taste again and repeat if necessary.

When the liquid has reached a good concentration, I transfer it to a jar with the steamed fruit and allow it to "steep" for about 24 hours, then strain it and add whatever sweetener I want and will cook it down on the stovetop to further concentrate it, tasting all the way.

You can find unsulphured dried fruits, which often are not as pretty as the treated ones.

I've been drying my own fruits and etc., for many years and have two of the large Excalibur dehydrators.

They do have a heat element but it is not usually necessary to turn the heat up very high - I rarely set it higher than 105 degrees and air drying in my area of the desert can mean much higher temps.

There are many brands of dehydrators, some are junk, some are more expensive. I have only had good results with the Excaliburs but I have friends who have and love the L'Equip dehydrators and have two, one is the newest model and they bought several extra trays for both. They grow pears commercially here in the Antelope Valley and sell dried pears at their farmstand.

Both brands on this page.


"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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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For hard to juice things "like pineapple and strawberries" also kiwi fruits and the heavily seeded concord grapes and wild blackberries (from a friend who lives in Tehachapi and has to contend with bears who also love blackberries) I use a steam juice extractor. Similar to this one.

Doesn't this effectively cook the juice?

Personally, for the amounts of product likely to be used by home users (which is to say, less than the 5 gallons bostonapothecary is juicing in his basket press) I have found that I can do very well in my orange-x. Pineapples, for example, I simply cut into large wedges and stick under the press. It expresses plenty of juice and the pulp that remains behind is quite dry, leading me to believe I am getting pretty good extraction. No, I wouldn't want to do a dozen pineapples this way. But at home I am not juicing a dozen pineapples.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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The steam extractor itself doesn't really cook the juice - the other process does.

I've got a couple of electric juicers - the Breville JEXL that does an excellent job and is completely self-contained.

I also have a 20-year-old commercial Champion juicer that will juice just about anything but is noisy and not easy to clean. If I am going to do a lot of heavy-duty juicing I will haul out the old Champion, insert my earplugs and work my way through crates of fruit.

For berries with seeds, I much prefer the steam extractor, no need to strain the juice.

I have one of the long-handled juice presses but it takes more strength than I can muster and hurts my arthritic hands.


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

My blog:Books,Cooks,Gadgets&Gardening

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Dave Arnold and them have done it again, it seems. By simply putting a base spirit in an iSi cannister along with an ingredient to be infused, then charging them (with N2O, not CO2) one can achieve potent infusions in less than 2 minutes.

Has anyone tried this yet?


Pip Hanson | Marvel Bar

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Dave Arnold and them have done it again, it seems. By simply putting a base spirit in an iSi cannister along with an ingredient to be infused, then charging them (with N2O, not CO2) one can achieve potent infusions in less than 2 minutes.

Has anyone tried this yet?

Just did my first infusion with this method tonight. 12 grams of cardamom infused in 8 oz of Cruzan white rum. Very distinct cardamom flavor. I tried it in a Mai Tai, and it was fantastic. For this test I used just the infused rum - but the flavor was powerful enough that next time I'd use half of the infused rum and half of a darker rum for a more complex drink.

Here I was expecting to find a whole thread on eGullet dedicated to this technique - can't believe I'm the first! Anyone else been playing?


Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Matt Kayahara (mkayahara) has been fiddling around with it. I'm sure he'll weigh in.

Indeed, I have Chris. Actually, the only infusion I've done so far was lapsang souchong tea in Saint-James rhum agricole. I reported on my findings in the Drinks! thread. I used 6 grams of the tea in 120 ml. of rum, and the flavour was great: strong and smoky, with no bitterness. Made a great a Mai Tai!


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

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Kaiser Penguin has additional thoughts on that. He claims it also works with fruit, having tried with dates.

Now I need to get another iSi whipper.

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Is the N20 relevant? I'm wondering if it's just the pressure. Has anyone actually tried C02?


Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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It should also work with CO2, but this will carbonate the liquid and contribute some additional flavors and effects that the N2O will not.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

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We have been having a blast with this new technique. Our first success was hatch chile infused silver tequila. Which is great on its own, and even better on a 1/1/1 ratio with Patron Citronage and Fresh Lime Juice for a green chile margarita. We also tried watermelon and vodka. The infusion was great with tons of clean watermelon flavor. Not sure what drink to make with it, any suggestions?

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Instead of vodka, try Cachaca. I make a killer batida with pureed watermelon, muddled mint, cachaca, lime, and simple. I fine-strain but if you just infuse, that might not be needed.

Watermelon Batida


Edited by EvergreenDan (log)

Kindred Cocktails | Craft + Collect + Concoct + Categorize + Community

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This may be the dumbest question ever asked in the eGullet cocktail forum but, being the booze amatuer that I am, along with having a strong willingness to embarrass myself in the pursuit of knowledge, I'm going to ask anyway.

Is there anything that can be done with infusions that might help those of us in places that don't have access to American rye? Could something be done with a whiskey, for the purposes of mixing in cocktails, that might bring some of the characteristics of an American rye to the mix without causing other problems as a result? I'm assuming it couldn't be as simple as dropping some crushed rye in a jar of whiskey for a little while... but could it?


It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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