• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

herbacidal

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

490 posts in this topic

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...)?


Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

The Jerry Thomas Project - Tipplings and musings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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?


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

The Jerry Thomas Project - Tipplings and musings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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


Evo-lution - Consultancy, Training and Events

Dr. Adam Elmegirab's Bitters - Bitters

The Jerry Thomas Project - Tipplings and musings

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

I'm like a Native American with a buffalo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try a nice tropical herbal tea infusion. Don't let the tea sit too long if it is a black tea base. Green or Rooibos teas can sit a bit longer without turning unnecessarily tannic and nasty. I'd start with a couple of hours in a small sample and gauge up from there. Then make daiquiris, caipirinas or whatever out of your infused cachaca.


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Katie, that sounds like an idea I should check out. I may split it into 2 or 3 smaller batches and try different things if suggestions like that keep coming.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have had good luck with Svedka. I use it to make vanilla extract. It has a good clean taste and is relatively inexpensive.

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The rum-infused raisins are a little strong, but infusing with vermouth (or wine, I suppose), both sweet and dry, is just right.

Rum infused dried apricots are just right and quite tasty. I guess they're not absorbent as the raisins.

I think dried fruits have a lot of potential for infusions.

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.

All those suggestions sound good. Even if you end up with sweet Pitu then all you need to do is add lime to make caipirinhas.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Home infusions are, usually, the best route to go. You can control the overall sweetness, tart, bitter, etc., to your palate. As for the rule of thumb on what quality of spirit to purchase, don't spend top $$ on a spirit you are going to infuse. When purchasing vodka, the usual neutral spirit of choice, I go with Smirnoff, Skyy, Tito's, and Stoli. They are great quality for the price, in fact, I normally stay away from "high end" vodkas in general. Vodka doesn't really have the notes and distinguishing characteristics as other neutral spirits, such as gin, so paying big bucks for something you base quality on how much it doesn't burn isn't really worth the $$$. Also when infusing, depending on whether it's just a basic fruit or sweetner, you usually only want to infuse for 2 to 5 days, then remove the infusions by fine straining. But others like making your own Lemoncello may take up to 2 months. Some may require you to refrigerate your newly infused vodka (usually fruit based) and others you can keep indefinitely at room temp (dried herbs,etc.). Hope this helps. Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently had a jalapeno infused tequila cocktail at Angel's share in NYC that I can't forget. Since I don't live there was thinking of infusing blanco tequila with jalapenos and mixing with pineapple juice. Anyone have any suggestions for how long to leave the jalapenos in the tequila? Would I need to filter it out and store in the fridge after its done. Also is blanco the way to go or should I try Reposado or Anejo? Any tips would be appreciated.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Recently had a jalapeno infused tequila cocktail at Angel's share in NYC that I can't forget. Since I don't live there was thinking of infusing blanco tequila with jalapenos and mixing with pineapple juice. Anyone have any suggestions for how long to leave the jalapenos in the tequila? Would I need to filter it out and store in the fridge after its done. Also is blanco the way to go or should I try Reposado or Anejo? Any tips would be appreciated.

Not long--capsaicin is notoriously volatile and the whole mess may become searingly hot within just a few hours. I'd start tasting no later than the 2 hour mark, if I were going to try something like this.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you slice the jalapenos in half and remove the seeds and ribs, you can let it sit longer to no ill effect. I have a recipe for a jalapeno and cilantro infused tequila in my book for use as an oyster shooter with a splash of pineapple juice on top, or as a martini with a bit more pineapple juice, a splash of lime juice and shaken then served up. It's called Chihuahua tequila, the martini version is a Rabid Chihuahua. :smile:


Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you slice the jalapenos in half and remove the seeds and ribs, you can let it sit longer to no ill effect. I have a recipe for a jalapeno and cilantro infused tequila in my book for use as an oyster shooter with a splash of pineapple juice on top, or as a martini with a bit more pineapple juice, a splash of lime juice and shaken then served up. It's called Chihuahua tequila, the martini version is a Rabid Chihuahua. smile.gif

Thanks Katie! Tried it yesterday. Filled the jar with half cut jalapenos. Tasted it 3 hours in and it was perfect but could not believe it was done that quickly so let it infuse for a few more hours. Unfortunately now it's a little too spicy. Having some friends over to try it. Might mix 3/4 ounce of it with 4/3 ounce regular tequila and 5 ounces pineapple juice to make 2 cocktails. Will experiment and see how it goes.

For the rest of the bottle the plan is to make 1 or 2 cocktails like one I read about which mixes 2 ounces of tequila with 1 ounce of dolin blanc and pechauds and orange biiters. For the remainder I intend to go to trader joe's and look at their dried fruits selection and pick something from there to infuse it with. Current top contenders are dried strawberries or dried chili rubbed mangoes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm thinking about doing a pineapple-sage mezcal infusion that I've seen on a few cocktail menus over the years. My original plan was to let the pineapple sit in the mezcal for 2-3 weeks (much like the Tequila por Mi Amante recipe) and then add the sage a few days before the end. Is this too long? I see a few people on this thread have done pineapples in overproof rum for only a few days, but with the mezcal at 80 proof it seems like I'd need considerably longer.

I was also thinking about doing the sage infusion via the Dave Arnold/whipped cream charger technique and then letting the pineapple infuse into the mezcal-sage infusion. I get a little nervous about herb infusions as the few I've done have gotten gross when not pulled out at just the right time, figured the NO2 charger might take some of the guesswork out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't infuse cheap Vodka. I'd use some really good stuff with character, like Belvedere or Chopin. Or something neutral but clean tasting like Absolut or Stolichnaya.

I totally agree with this; buying cheap vodka and infusing it seems like like 'masking' than it does infusion. You want a vodka that is pretty taste neutral and smooth so that it can take the flavor of whatever its being infused with. Infusing a good vodka with a tincture will make it taste like the tincture, cheap vodka infused would still taste like vodka.

That said, there are a few brands that are better than others. Smirnoff comes to mind and so does Absolut (Not sure how cheap you wanted to go).

However, in my opinion Gray Goose if you can afford it. That would be a wonderful brand to infuse.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm thinking about doing a pineapple-sage mezcal infusion that I've seen on a few cocktail menus over the years. My original plan was to let the pineapple sit in the mezcal for 2-3 weeks (much like the Tequila por Mi Amante recipe) and then add the sage a few days before the end. Is this too long? I see a few people on this thread have done pineapples in overproof rum for only a few days, but with the mezcal at 80 proof it seems like I'd need considerably longer.

What is the benefit of letting the pineapple sit in the tequila rather than, saying pulverizing the pineapple with the tequila in a blender? I imagine the biggest issue will be filtering/clarification, but if you have a technique for that, is the long rest time really necessary?


I blog about science and cooking: www.sciencefare.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you slice the jalapenos in half and remove the seeds and ribs, you can let it sit longer to no ill effect. I have a recipe for a jalapeno and cilantro infused tequila in my book for use as an oyster shooter with a splash of pineapple juice on top, or as a martini with a bit more pineapple juice, a splash of lime juice and shaken then served up. It's called Chihuahua tequila, the martini version is a Rabid Chihuahua. smile.gif

Thanks Katie! Tried it yesterday. Filled the jar with half cut jalapenos. Tasted it 3 hours in and it was perfect but could not believe it was done that quickly so let it infuse for a few more hours. Unfortunately now it's a little too spicy. Having some friends over to try it. Might mix 3/4 ounce of it with 4/3 ounce regular tequila and 5 ounces pineapple juice to make 2 cocktails. Will experiment and see how it goes.

For the rest of the bottle the plan is to make 1 or 2 cocktails like one I read about which mixes 2 ounces of tequila with 1 ounce of dolin blanc and pechauds and orange biiters. For the remainder I intend to go to trader joe's and look at their dried fruits selection and pick something from there to infuse it with. Current top contenders are dried strawberries or dried chili rubbed mangoes.

So with half of the bottle I tried infusing it with dried mangoes. I left it for a day and now I have a syrupy infusion that is 1/3 or 1/4 of the volume I put in and some alcoholic tasting plump mangoes. Is this the cost of doing business with dried fruit or am I doing something wrong. I didn't know there was going to be a substantial mangoes share? Any tips or thoughts? This could become very expensive if 3/4 of the liquor goes into the dried fruit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is this the cost of doing business with dried fruit or am I doing something wrong.

It's the cost. Dried anything will try to get it's water back if given the opportunity. I've never infused with dried fruit so I'll leave the tips to those who have.


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is this the cost of doing business with dried fruit or am I doing something wrong.

It's the cost. Dried anything will try to get it's water back if given the opportunity. I've never infused with dried fruit so I'll leave the tips to those who have.

Yup, though if you're inclined to kitchen arts you could probably come up with a pretty good use for those boozy mangoes.

I can't be sure as I have little firsthand experience with mangoes but I have a hunch that part of the syrupy quality is probably actually pectin. Given enough time in the fridge it will precipitate out into a semisolid mass in the infusion, which is weird if not actually bad. Just a heads-up.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is the benefit of letting the pineapple sit in the tequila rather than, saying pulverizing the pineapple with the tequila in a blender?

Pineapple upside-down cake! :smile:


It's almost never bad to feed someone.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I make one about once a month and have had great success until my latest one. I've made everything from Orange, lemon, falernum, cherry, blackberry and coffee liqueurs but I just tried making an apple brandy and it is NOT very good. I don't get it.

I tried two different VS Brandys and basically stuck a few slices worth of nice apples in there...waited about a month and it turned into a very odd and bitter flavor. It's the first one of the infusions that have failed. Usually it's pretty fool proof!

I'm curious if anyone has had any experience with creating apple or pear brandy spirits?

To try and contribute to the forum, the most simple approach to fun homemade infusions was to venture to your local tea/spice store and purchase herbal teas. I've done lemongrass vodka, hibiscus, rooibose and several other herbal teas and they work quite well. Just try a cold infusion for 24 hours and there ya go! The rooibose and blackberry vodka experiments made outstanding alterations to a boring lemon drop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.