• 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

I would liken it to drinking a cocktail that includes simple syrup and another kind of flavor.

All I know is that the drink I had tasted nice and everybody enjoyed them.

At the same time, it would be a waste to do that to a nice bottle of vodka.

Don't be mad, it's just a pet peeve of mine. I think the key word is flavor. It takes a really, really good flavor chemist to get close to what mother nature does. There are usually hundreds to thousands of compounds in what we think of as a single "flavor". Jolly Rancher flavors are bland and boring to me. It seems like a waste of booze even if it is only vodka!

regards,

trillium

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm of the opinion that sweetened candy flavored spirits are in the same catagory as jello shots.  Alcohol for people that don't want to taste alcohol and still have the flavor palate of a nine year old.  If you want to have something red and sticky sweet and redolent of fake watermelon flavor, why not just eat the Jolly Rancher?  Or drink some kool-aid?

Because it's fun and candy flavours are a huge hit. I don't liken that in any way to jello shots when I make mine. Eeeegads. On the whole an entirely different sort of appreciation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wrote an article on this a couple years back and did extensive home research. The first thing you should know is that it's hard to screw this up -- put your flavorings in, taste it in a week and either add more, adjust or dilute as you see fit. The second is that tasting your product to adjust flavoring can be hazardous to the quantity of your final product. The third is to use good vodka.

My favorite combination is lemon peel and honey. Make sure you don't get the pith in. I think I used the peel of two lemons and about 2 tsp of honey.

The fresh raspberries that may or may not be appearing any day make a great brew, too, with sugar. The stuff turns the most amazing color -- maybe even better than the Jolly Rancher-flavored vodka. Add a little citrus peel or fresh herb to add a little depth.

I also liked garlic and dill -- I started out putting it in bloody maries and ended up drinking the stuff straight, iced.

I usually find that the tastes pretty good after a week or two sitting at room temperature, but Chef Samuelsson at Aquavit -- who was kind enbough to spenf 30 minutes on the phone with a rookie free-lancer -- says it good aquavit needs six weeks to develop its flavor.


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Because it's fun and candy flavours are a huge hit.  I don't liken that in any way to jello shots when I make mine.  Eeeegads.  On the whole an entirely different sort of appreciation.

If you say so. I personally don't see the difference since they both have obviously fake flavor, vodka and sugar in common, but to each their own (just don't make me drink either).

regards,

trillium

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi trillium. I see, it's the flavour thing. I keep picturing all of the drunken touristas pub crawling all over the island resort, where I bartended, sucking down those jello shots from a large shaped syringe wearing mardi gras beads, bright Hawaiian shirts and wearing Round House red beer buckets on their heads. Yuk.

I myself haven't done any of the candy flavours, but I've done a lemongrass/ginger, a pineapple and a lovely, striking ruby coloured raspberry infusions. I want to try some sort of lavendar infusion this summer. And the fun part is taste testing the results!

Salud!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I want to try some sort of lavendar infusion this summer. 

Lavendar?


I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would go with Kettle One or Van Hoo. They are very neutral and will take on outside flavors very easily.

As for infusing. I've been meaning to try to duplicate a infused vodka that I had in a bloody mary in La Jolla, CA. It was infused with (I think) bell peppers (red and green), fresh horseradish slices, radishes, and maybee some tomato water.

It was some good stuff. While drinking the bloody mary, you could taste the bell peppers as if you were biting into them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I wrote an article on this a couple years back and did extensive home research. The first thing you should know is that it's hard to screw this up -- put your flavorings in, taste it in a week and either add more, adjust or dilute as you see fit. 

I assume to dilute you add water?

The second is that tasting your product to adjust flavoring can be hazardous to the quantity of your final product

Yea, that was one thing that had occured to me.

The third is to use good vodka

Well, the key for me, as I see it is to use something good enough such that it is neutral in odor and taste, yet not so good that it would be a waste to infuse it with something, it would be something I would drink straight up.

My impression based on vodkaphiles.com was that Smirnoff Red Label fit that bill.

My favorite combination is lemon peel and honey. Make sure you don't get the pith in. I think I used the peel of two lemons and about 2 tsp of honey.

That combination intrigues me. Although at this point, the 3 I want to do are:

1) Jolly Rancher, because it's interesting to me how the taste would come out

2) a Spanish flavor oriented one, because if I do bring one to the paella shindig in Chicago, this would be the one to bring

3) an Asian fruit one, because I'm Asian (Chinese, because no Asian actually thinks of themselves as Asian, although there are no "Chinese fruits" really)

on that last one the following have occured to me:

durian, jackfruit, mango, longan, lychee

I've googled it, but I may be limited to what I can find locally.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Durian should be interesting! I ate it in Thailand and am not sure I would again! :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Herb:

Before you go plowing head on into stinky or possibly not tasty Asian fruits (depending on ripeness, of course) why don't you try:

1) Jolly Rancher of your choice

2) Asian = Lemograss/Ginger flavor, or at worst, Mandarin Orange or Lychee

3) Spanish = Tough call. I'd go with a Dulce de Leche type infusion, although how to achieve that with a neutral spirit is a mystery to me. Perhaps melting Kraft Caramels in vodka of choice? Or maybe Seville Oranges???

Perhaps sticking to those things that are "predictable" might be a better bet in some cases.


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

2)  Asian = Lemograss/Ginger flavor, or at worst, Mandarin Orange or Lychee

ginger is appealing. lemongrass not so much, at least for me.

Perhaps sticking to those things that are "predictable" might be a better bet in some cases.

but that's not so much fun!

at any rate, with less "predictable" flavors that I'm trying for, I would probably do smaller jars, so as to risk less.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the bell pepper sounds realy nice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
how about pandan?  it might make a nice infused vodka and look cool to boot.

regards,

trillium

sorry, what is pandan?

I answered this same question in a PM but here it is for any other interested readers.

it's an herb/plant leaf used a lot in south east asian (malay, thai, vietnamese, singaporean for sure, not sure about laos, cambodia etc) cooking. it gets used for savory (hainanese chicken rice in s'pore for example) and a lot in sweet (all the nonya/straits chinese sweets, ice kecang, and my favorite, chendol). It gives off bright green liquid and smells a little like vanilla and a little like good jasmine rice steaming. It looks like giant blades of grass. It gets sold seasonally in the fresh veg part of a se asian grocery and is stocked in the freezer year round. Here's a pic

pandanus.jpg

regards,

trillium

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here in northern Finland they have a vodka (Terwasnapsi) infused with pine tar. Quite sweet.

They also have one with black sweets (liquorice?) dissolved in it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you'll get much better results, no matter what flavor you want in the end, if you use grain alcohol instead of vodka. It's been my experience that the nearly pure alcohol is better at getting the flavor out of whatever you're soaking (in my case, citrus peels), and you can dilute it to whatever proof you like.

Jim


olive oil + salt

Real Good Food

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

jakal: My favourite beer brewery uses Sitka Spruce tips as flavouring. So I'd guess pine tar would be very interesting.

Jim: You mean the likes of say grain alcohol Everclear at 191 proof?????? Yikes! Those bring back the hairy buffalo days of an early, and underaged, collegiate dorm life! That stuff will melt your throat lining as you drink it! :laugh:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I made a ginger infusion recently that I liked a lot. I added probably a tablespoon or more shredded ginger to about 12 ounces of (I believe) Smirnoff vodka. Let sit in the refrigerator about two weeks, agitating occasionally. Then strain off the infusion and discard the ginger. Cheesecloth or coffee filters work well for that.

This adds a great essence of ginger to whatever it's added to. The lemon grass idea sounds good too. I'd love to hear recipe ideas for cocktails using a ginger infusion to go along with Asian food. I've had a mental block when it comes to creativity on this but I really enjoy the following drink with any meal involving soy sauce and rice:

Ginger Cocktail (please don't ever call this a ginger martini :hmmm:)

1 ounce vodka

1/2 ounce ginger infusion

1/2 ounce dry vermouth

garnish with a sprinkling of roasted sesame seeds

Substituting sake for dry vermouth works well too.

Rodney

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I brought back a grappa infused with fraises de bois. They were left in the bottle too. Nice way to make them last when the season's so short.

Has anyone ever tried rhubarb?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
A zillion years ago (more like 10) I was living in Hoboken and my best friend was a bartender (now known as The Fisherman). An older Eastern European gentleman talked his ear off one afternoon about some grass they put in vodka and how he couldn’t get it in the US, but had it mailed from Poland.

A few weeks later he gave my friend an envelope with dozens of long strands of grass that he called bison grass (which led to the name “Buffalo Booze” for the finished product). He gave me some and we each put a few strands in bottles of Absolut and stuck them in our respective freezers. We just left the grass in the bottle. The result was a fresh, herbal taste that I loved. His ran out sooner than mine, so we were able to taste it over months and it continued to improve.

If you know any older Polish gentlemen, see if they can get you some bison grass.

The vodka flavored with bison grass is called Zubrovka. It is very popular in eastern and western Europe. It was illegal for some time in the US, due to a carcinogen in the bison grass. A Russian and a Polish version have been allowed to be imported again in the last couple of years.......sans the grass, but with the same flavor. I used to get the bison grass at a natural foods store in Berkeley before the ban and made my own version using a moderate priced vodka.

Remember the Zubrovka scene in Maugham's "The Razor's Edge" (book and movie)??


Bill Benge

Moab, Utah

"I like eggs", Leon Spinks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Herb:

My new Scandinavian cookbook has a recipe for a Lemon Mead in it. Interested? :cool:


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

How about some wormwood? Opps that would be in the direction of Absinthe.... *sigh*

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello All-

This my first post. So, I'll say Hello! Now I'll address the post.

I have been doing Vodka (Stoli) and Pineapple for quite a few years now. I got the idea from "The Capital Grille". They have a drink called the "Stoli Doli". When I drink them there, they seem to let small pieces of the fruit (pulp) remain. When I make at home I have this glass jar (quite large) that I use. I think it's hexagon or octogon. One of those shapes with more than four flat sides. It has a metal spout at the bottom. I cut the top and bottom off the pineapple and then shave the sides so that just the fruit is left. Then, cut into 1/2 - 1" slices. The thicker slices hold up better. I then lay the round slices flat on the bottom of the jar, fill with Stoli vodka and refrigerate for 24 hrs. The spout does tend to get clogged up with pulp. So, if I'm doing for a party I'll use several glass jars (so I can make more at a time) which don't need a spout and then (after soaking in fridge for 24 hrs) strain through cheese cloth or a sieve.

It's better to use pineapples that are just shy of ripe. This way the fruit is firmer and you don't end up with a little bit of vodka with a lot of sweet fruit juice. I like the flavor and touch of sweetness without the thick syrup.

Until later...

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome, Keith! Have you thought of using a screen on the inside of the bottle so the spout doesn't clog up?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Elyse-

I do have a screen down there. But, the flow grandually slows down. Depending on how much energy I feel like putting into the party, I might use it. But, I also have numerous glass containers that have been strained. The large container with the spout is about two gallons. And, when done well, looks really good with the thick slices placed in an even pattern that fills the jar.

P.S. I got the idea of displaying the jar with pineapple slices from "The Capital Grille" also. They have one on their bar. It really looks good. Great conversation piece. Not so much of a conversation piece for me any longer. Most of my guests have already seen it.

Until later...

Keith

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And it has begun!!

Thursday before I went to bed, I started the first 2.

The first two flavors are: habanero and watermelon Jolly Rancher.

I ended up going with Smirnoff 100 proof, as KatieLoeb recommended to me the higher alcohol content would be helpful.

I did go with more flavoring than recommended above, 3 habanero peppers for 800ml.

I used 5-6 Jolly Ranchers for the watermelon.

The 3rd one will be star anise, I just have to put it together.

I am very concerned about oversweetening the vodka with that one.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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.