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herbacidal

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

490 posts in this topic

For infusing AND for general drinking, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better value for the price than Luksosowa. Its a potato-based vodka that is about $14/fifth. Its my favorite regardless of price and I've used it quite a bit for Aquavit infusions and have always been quite happy with the final product.

Outside of the usual infusions like Caraway/Dill/Fennel/etc. combinations to come up with fairly traditional Danish (strong caraway, like Aalborg green bottle) and Norwegian (like Line), we also had good results with a coffee bean infusion.

Hal


Edited by halland (log)

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For infusing AND for general drinking, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better value for the price than Luksosowa. Its a potato-based vodka that is about $14/fifth. Its my favorite regardless of price and I've used it quite a bit for Aquavit infusions and have always been quite happy with the final product.

ya know, i bought a bottle once.

can't remember if i tasted it. pretty sure i gave it away as a gift.

too bad i didn't buy 2.


Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

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A recent bonus to purchasing Luksusova, you get a tiny jar of about a dozen peeled, preserved Luksusova, The Original Potato Vodka, Odorless Martini Garlic.

Under the name it states: "Enjoy the Breathless Martini: Luksusova Potato Vodka served ice cold with a few cloves or Martini Garlic."

Sorry Robert (my favourite Cocktail Evangelist, aka DrinkBoy) and MatthewB! :raz:

Guess that strikes one up for you Monica! (cross thread referencing)

:biggrin:


Edited by beans (log)

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If you're looking for neutral and clean, I have found only one that truly fits

that description imo: Grey Goose. I wouldn't destroy it with an infusion, however :)

For instance if you want an orange "infusion", take a frosted martini or shot glass of Ice Cold vodka (no ice) and add just a touch of Blue Curacao. Better than the commercial varieties, you can adjust to taste, and you don't end up with an entire bottle of something you may get tired of.

Variety is the spice of life :)


Texas Tequila Sunrise:

1 Bottle 100% Agave Tequila

1 shot glass, rim salted

1 lime, quartered

1 sunrise

*Pour tequila in salted shot glass. Drop in

1/4 lime. Contemplate the sunrise.

Drink until done. Repeat.

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:cool: Welcome to eG catiii!

Try a home infusion and you'll think twice about commercially distilled! I think you'd be quite pleasantly surprised. :wink:

edited to add: Sweet signature. I know all about that fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning... :raz:


Edited by beans (log)

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Hee hee..Thanks beans!!! :))) :cool:


Texas Tequila Sunrise:

1 Bottle 100% Agave Tequila

1 shot glass, rim salted

1 lime, quartered

1 sunrise

*Pour tequila in salted shot glass. Drop in

1/4 lime. Contemplate the sunrise.

Drink until done. Repeat.

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On the recommendation of this thread, I infused some vodka with a couple habeneros from my garden. I finally got up the courage to shoot a bit of it down and it is glorious. I'd placed two halved habeneros in a small mason jar with some (don't skewer me too much for this) Grey Goose I had in the freezer, and left it out for about three or four weeks.

The fruit, something I'd never picked up before in really hot peppers, is intense in the nose. The taste is strikingly fruity with a long, mellow burn. The experiment was a rousing success.

I started a jar of cranberry vodka on Thanksgiving. I'll report back any similar successes.

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Why go on buying decidedly inferior flavoured vodkas when you can make your own cheaply and easily in minutes? Fresh fruit, citrus and apple peels or herbs; vanilla, cinnamon or other spices: just drop them into a bottle of decent vodka and, a few days later, you're away. Here's a helpful website: The Danish Schnapps Page.

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This winter I've made surprisingly fresh and tangy infusions with the peel from the new oranges and lemons, tangerines, "tângeras" (a cross between a a tangerine, a lemon and a bitter orange) and "clementinas" (a sweeter, pulpier tangerine). It's important to remove the pithy, white cellulose from the peel - unless you want the extra bitterness. Grapefruit and lime were a failure (musty-tasting and acid), as were the several ambitious combinations of lemons and other citrus fruits, resulting in confusing flavours.

Next week, encouraged by the results, I'll be trying raspberries and blackberries (these take longer to infuse and need to be filtered) as well as some basic kitchen herbs (fresh basil, coriander and oregano) to use in cooking

You also can't go wrong with a whole vanilla pod or freshly plucked "malaguetas" or other small chili peppers. Although most experts recommend that one remove the peel, fruit, pod or whatever after a few days, I've found that leaving them in for up to three weeks (in a cool, dark place, supposedly - but sunshine works too!) deepens the flavour.

I boringly use the tangerine vodka with fresh tangerine juice and so on but I'm sure there are more exciting ways of serving - and perhaps even mixing - one's infusions.

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Oops. Talk about being a newbie - I just noticed that there's already a very lively thread on vodka infusions on eGullet. Can someone please delete this embarrassing attempt at a first post? Thank you ever so much!

EDIT by Jason Perlow: Threads merged, thanks!


Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

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Not embarassing! Thanks for the link. :smile:

And, welcome to eG MiguelCardoso! :cool:

Perhaps we can ask if this can be merged into the vodka thread by one of the site managers?

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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)??

Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka is available in Ontario through the LCBO. They carry bison grass vodka by two different producers - Bak's and Fabryka Wodek Gdanskich. If I remember correctly, the bottles do have a couple of blades of grass in them, but I've never tried it, so I can't say for sure. Here's what the LCBO website has to say about it...

"... absolute purity; the opening nosing presents a delightfully sweet and, well, grassy aroma that's more candy-like than fresh mown lawn-like -- with aeration, the aroma turns into a full-blown bouquet that's delicate yet assertive, nuanced yet perfumey in a floral way ... an intensely aromatic bouquet that's sweet in a floral manner, then the flavour expands in mid-palate to include atypical vodka tastes of cocoa, dark caramel and nougat. Score -- **** (out of 5). (F. Paul Pacult, Spirit Journal, June 1999)"

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Thanks, beans! I'm a great fan of your cocktail seminars - I specially like the insight into your current experiments.

This is just an update on my recent infusions. I'm very happy with my coffee bean (São Tomé Arábica) vodka - this has to be the most rewarding and instantly gratifying of all, for us beginners. I like Black Russians and White Russians but, lacking a sweet tooth, my hope is that I can dispense with the liqueurs. I've ordered freshly roasted cocoa beans too - for the Alexander family. It'll be my first gin infusion for the gin Alexander - a bit of a waste and what we Portuguese call "raining on the wet", but we'll see.

An enormous failure (though I should have known) was with whole "malagueta" peppers. I was bowled over by their red and green cuteness so (stupidly!) decided to leave in the stalks. The result, after four days: stalky vodka. Horrible! My wife extracted them from the bottle one by one - they float beautifully to the top, like lambs to the slaughter - and I removed the stalks, hoping the firepower from the open chiles will overcome the grassy, unpleasant taste.

A great French chef, Antoine Westermann, once told me that the most difficult thing in cooking was saving or rehabilitating something gone wrong. So much so he narrowed it down to two people - only one of which he'd met. So my fingers aren't crossed.

I've also infused - macerated would be more accurate - Granny Smith apples (only the peel in one; peel and pulp in another; only pulp in the third); late quince and a particular Portuguese apple ("bravo esmolfe") which has the most intoxicating perfume and the sweetest, most romantic taste. I was disappointed to find they all oxidized (though I'm using 80 proof rye Wyborowa) but, after three days, the aroma and taste are tantalizing.

I'm also doubting that fruit should be freshly plucked. What's so bad about ripened? I have a freshly plucked, gorgeous Cornice pear infused (peel and pulp) but I'm giving their brothers and sisters a few days more, to see what a little ripeness does.

Hope others here are still hanging in there! :)

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I've also infused - macerated would be more accurate - Granny Smith apples (only the peel in one; peel and pulp in another; only pulp in the third); late quince and a particular Portuguese apple ("bravo esmolfe") which has the most intoxicating perfume and the sweetest, most romantic taste. I was disappointed to find they all oxidized (though I'm using 80 proof rye Wyborowa) but, after three days, the aroma and taste are tantalizing.

A bartender acquaintance of mine infused gin with apples and cucumber and used the result in a variation of the Pimms Cup. I didn't taste the infused gin straight but it was very good in the drink.


Janet A. Zimmerman, aka "JAZ"
Manager
jzimmerman@eGullet.org
eG Ethics signatory
Author, The Healthy Pressure Cooker Cookbook and All About Cooking for Two

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Thanks, beans!  I'm a great fan of your cocktail seminars - I specially like the insight into your current experiments.

:blush:

Thank you for your very kind words MiguelCardoso. :wub:

I've also infused - macerated would be more accurate - Granny Smith apples (only the peel in one; peel and pulp in another; only pulp in the third); late quince and a particular Portuguese apple ("bravo esmolfe") which has the most intoxicating perfume and the sweetest, most romantic taste.  I was disappointed to find they all oxidized (though I'm using 80 proof rye Wyborowa) but, after three days, the aroma and taste are tantalizing.

I'm also doubting that fruit should be freshly plucked.  What's so bad about ripened?  I have a freshly plucked, gorgeous Cornice pear infused (peel and pulp) but I'm giving their brothers and sisters a few days more, to see what a little ripeness does.

Those sound fantastic and what a lovely gift.

Heck, here's an original idea! :biggrin: The New Yawkers have their elyse Burger Club, Chef Fowke's a Chef's Beer thread inspired a home beer brewing club, why not an Infusion Club? [isn't there a Pizza Club too?]

What worked; what didn't. Suggestions, ideas and ones that didn't quite work as well as expected. And recommendations on how to serve or mix the end result! :cool: The thread is already here, for some time now, and there appears to be a fair bunch of eG'ers that infuse.

A silly or worthwhile endeavour?

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I think it's a wonderful idea, beans! It's too late this year but perhaps next year we can organize an I-Swap whereby members can ship out their better infusions to each other. I understand that there are a few restrictions in the U.S. to sending booze in the post but perhaps a small, cologne-size bottle would be OK?

Tomorrow morning I'll be getting the very last strawberries of the year; freshly plucked raspberries and some new Chilean cherries. The Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture issues a very complete weekly report of all the crops and imports, with very reliable details on condition, scarcity, price and sales - so it's a cinch to order correctly, as my local greengrocer goes every evening to the big professional MARL Lisbon market. Here's the URL just out of curiosity: http://www.min-agricultura.pt/oportal/extc..._03/MENU_03.HTM. You just choose the latest week from the drop-down menu. Fascinating stuff!

Do you have a similar service in the States and Canada?

All the very best, beans - thanks again for your kindness and enthusiasm! :)

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Oops, I forgot to add the link to your highly enlightening and entertaining cocktail seminar which is a must for all infusionistas.

Since I'm here again, I'll add that I'm going to take the experimental road with those cherries I'll be receiving in a couple of hours. One, I'll do the Russian way, with crushed cherry pits (36, no less, say the very creditable Vodkaphiles!). The second, just with the pulp. And a third I'll make with a combination of cherry pulp and a few crushed pits. I know that sour cherries would have been better, but I can't get my hands on any right now. One of the most popular drinks in Portugal is "ginjinha" (a little like the Danish Cherry Heering), which are sour cherries steeped in "bagaço" (grappa).

I'll report back on the results.

I should add an update on my several dozen infusions: in no case have I seen any advantage in removing the fruit/seeds/pods/whatever. The flavour just keeps growing and, with the citrus fruits, the very delicate mustiness which results is a feature, rather than a bug.

Cheers!

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Miguel, you mention that you don't need to take the fruit out of the infusion. I've seen commerically infused alcohols with fruit still in the bottle but figured that it was treated with something to prevent it from going bad.

So I guess it is safe to assume that fruit can stay in the alcohol indefinately without any loss of quality or spoilage? If that is the case, I'll be leaving the cranberries I currently have in a jar of vodka rather than straining them out.

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I've seen commerically infused alcohols with fruit still in the bottle but figured that it was treated with something to prevent it from going bad.

The fruit in the bottle -was- treated with something to prevent it from going bad. Alcohol. :biggrin:

-Robert

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Since I'm here again, I'll add that I'm going to take the experimental road with those cherries I'll be receiving in a couple of hours. One, I'll do the Russian way, with crushed cherry pits (36, no less, say the very creditable Vodkaphiles!). The second, just with the pulp. And a third I'll make with a combination of cherry pulp and a few crushed pits. I know that sour cherries would have been better, but I can't get my hands on any right now. One of the most popular drinks in Portugal is "ginjinha" (a little like the Danish Cherry Heering), which are sour cherries steeped in "bagaço" (grappa).

Infusing booze with sour cherries is popular in the US too. It goes by the name "bounce" and is usually done with bourbon and some extra sugar. After years of experimentation, we like including the pits, but not crushing them, and leaving the cherries lightly smashed as opposed to pulverized.

regards,

trillium

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I think it's a wonderful idea, beans! It's too late this year but perhaps next year we can organize an I-Swap whereby members can ship out their better infusions to each other. I understand that there are a few restrictions in the U.S. to sending booze in the post but perhaps a small, cologne-size bottle would be OK?

On a quick note -- thank you again MiguelCardoso. Your kind words cause me to :blush:

I'm thrilled that an eGCI class inspired another. I'm elated that infusing has occurred. :wub:

Regarding the shipping of an alcoholic/spiritous beverage. Rats! I've exhausted most shipping venues regarding this matter so as I may simply send a lovely bottle of Woodford Reserve to one within the United Kingdom. ( He's my inspiration, so what's with a little ole bottle gift for the holidays?? Hmmm. Guess I'll have to hand carry on the next visit.....)

In short, it is not legally cohesive. There are highly regulated rules on legally licensed liquor business to buisness, depending upon state. :wacko:

Durn!!!!![/]

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Come on eG! How about this thread being the Infusion "club"????

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Count me as a member of the infusion club!

Of late I've developed a bit of an unhealthy obsession with infusing vodka. This weekend I started three more and new ideas keep popping into my head.

I'm using small mason jars (12 ounces, I think) for the infusion and am hoping to find some decorative bottles for storage after the infusion is complete. Anyone have any ideas for a source for such bottles?

Right now I have the following in the works.

1. Cranberry--This has been in the jar for about two weeks and still needs quite a bit of time. I poked about a handful of cranberries pretty enthusiastically with a fork before pouring in the vodka, figuring this would speed the process along. The vodka is a beautiful red color but the flavor hasn't developed much yet.

2. Lemon Lime--Zest of two limes and two lemons. Started two days ago and it is already extremely fragrant.

3. Lemon--I'm making this for a friend whose love of lemons has given him the nickname..."Lemons." Zest of three lemons. Again, started two days ago and it is well on it's way.

4. Cranberry Lime--Based on one of my favorite mixed drinks (vodka and cranberry with a twist of lime), this one is also a gift. Figured the green and red would make a nice Christmas-colored gift. However, the red from the cranberries (small handful) has already dyed the zest (two limes) red. Smells great, though.

Plenty more to come I'm sure. Next on the docket...ginger and red chile?

--Edited because "infusioning" isn't a word.


Edited by mjg (log)

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Count me as a member of the infusion club!

Let's keep this Infusion Club idea alive!

Of late I've developed a bit of an unhealthy obsession with infusing vodka. This weekend I started three more and new ideas keep popping into my head.

No such thing! :raz:

I'm using small mason jars (12 ounces, I think) for the infusion and am hoping to find some decorative bottles for storage after the infusion is complete. Anyone have any ideas for a source for such bottles?

I really like that you do small and a variety of batches. :cool: Sometimes I feel like a 750ml or a litre is the project when in fact I ought to shoot for a litre bottle that can be divided into subparts for the flavour of the moment. Thanks for that idea. :smile:

As far as bottles, I've hunted the web for craft store types as I was giving my home infusions away for holiday gifts. My local craft stores sort of came up short on this too, so the web was it.

Try the local store as well as a good Googling, but this is one that I previously bookmarked:

http://www.save-on-crafts.com/mediumbottles.html

This was one source I didn't order from, but have a variety of shapes and sizes I found appealing in this endeavour.

[i did have two other web sources that I ordered from a little over a year ago, that seems to no longer be on the web.... :unsure: Tough business and/or economic atmosphere these days, eh?]

I've also purchased those 4 pack mini bottles of white or red wine which I've used for both cooking and collecting small bottles for the infusion giving/sharing purpose. With much soaking, (and don't forget to save the metal, flimsy bottle screw cap) the labels eventually peel off and with the assistance of a funnel I will pour a small gift portion and make some fun, custom labels (if my printer is in a good mood) and glue them to my sparkling gem like gifts. :smile:

Right now I have the following in the works.

1. Cranberry--This has been in the jar for about two weeks and still needs quite a bit of time. I poked about a handful of cranberries pretty enthusiastically with a fork before pouring in the vodka, figuring this would speed the process along. The vodka is a beautiful red color but the flavor hasn't developed much yet.

2. Lemon Lime--Zest of two limes and two lemons. Started two days ago and it is already extremely fragrant.

3. Lemon--I'm making this for a friend whose love of lemons has given him the nickname..."Lemons." Zest of three lemons. Again, started two days ago and it is well on it's way.

4. Cranberry Lime--Based on one of my favorite mixed drinks (vodka and cranberry with a twist of lime), this one is also a gift. Figured the green and red would make a nice Christmas-colored gift. However, the red from the cranberries (small handful) has already dyed the zest (two limes) red. Smells great, though.

Plenty more to come I'm sure. Next on the docket...ginger and red chile?

--Edited because "infusioning" isn't a word.

Those are all delicious. Even more so as you created them. Post back with some of the favourite ways you enjoy these. :cool:

Yup, I think I like this Infusion Club idea. And the diversity! Not limited by merely VODKA!! I'd love to learn more about those bourbon ideas (inspired by one slkinsey) or rum ideas via Varmint. :cool:

Think of the summer herbals!

Since I adore picking and creating preserves, jams and jellies -- this is after all yet another preservation of the enjoyment of ___________ [fill in blank with seasonal flavour of choice] for future use and fits right into the enthusiasm I maintain for this sort of kitchen fun. :wub:

The minimal effort and fantastic rewards....

WOW!

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I've also purchased those 4 pack mini bottles of white or red wine which I've used for both cooking and collecting small bottles for the infusion giving/sharing purpose.

That is an excellent idea. We gave away little bottles of wine as wedding favors when we got married in October and I think we still have quite a few leftover bottles sitting around. I'll have to empty them out (into my stomach, of course) and get 'em soaking.

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