This week I am starting to infuse the ingredients I will be using to build my flavor library.
Before creating your own flavor library, make sure to read Darcy O’Neills Warnings on Infusing Tobacco. The warnings can apply to the most seemingly harmless ingredients as well, like cherry and peach pits. Be careful when making any infusions or extractions and know the ingredients you are working with especially if you are serving these to guests.
Tips for Creating your own Flavor Library:
You can use many different kinds of ingredients for these tinctures, but if you’re planning to create bitters, be sure you have at least one or two bittering agents in the mix.
Where to get the Goods:
Some ingredients were harder to find than others – here are the places I went to gather our ingredients:
- Ethnic markets – I always try to buy spices at local ethnic markets, as they often have a great variety and really reasonable prices.
- Farmer’s markets – we’re fortunate to have year-round farmer’s markets in our area. That’s where I picked up most of the fresh items including citrus & lemongrass.
- The local Grocery store – yes, quite a few ingredients were readily available at the grocery store. Things like cinnamon, citrus and Ginger were pretty easy to find.
Storage & Containment
I used these glass spice jars for my flavor library, but you could also use any glass or other non-reactive container. (Affiliate link)
Tips for the Infusion Process:
- Make sure all ingredients are submerged under the alcohol- you don’t want rotted material to enter your infusion.
- Follow the same rules as infusions regarding storage and daily maintenance.
- Record all the weight of infused material on the back of the jars. You want to be able to recreate any of your masterpieces.
- I use old spice jars to create very small batch infusions.
- I’ve used 151 proof neutral grain spirit to extract as much flavor as possible.
Here’s a list of ingredients that we are currently infusing:
- Cinchona Wood
- White Pepper
- Rooibos Chai
- Star Anise
- Sichuan Peppercorn
- Black Peppercorn
That’s a wrap!
In a couple weeks, we’ll come back to this topic and start blending these flavors to make our own bitters and tinctures. Be sure to keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, let us know what your favorite bitters ingredients are in the comments!
How did your tinctures turn out? Is there a link for the page addressing mixing the tinctures?
Hi Leather Engineer,
The tinctures turned out fantastic and I still use them from time to time. I think I will be experimenting with other ways to extract flavors in the near future and concentrating on making a more fragrant vermouth from those extractions. I’m not convinced that using alcohol on everything is the best way to make all extractions.
Also be very careful when making tinctures of bittering agents, because a little goes a long way and can be harmful. I wouldn’t recommend tasting bittering agents at full strength extractions.
Good to know on the bitters. As for your fragrance endeavor, have you considered extracting the oils from the plants you want to use via steam distillation? Oil infusions (herbs in a neutral oil) are another option, but I’m not sure that would play well with drinks.
I’ve got a short lists of tinctures I plan on making, I’ll let you know how they turn out. Did you end up having a favorite individual flavor?
Yeah I’ve looked into using food grade essential oils for the fragrance, but I know there are some safety concerns with some oils. I need to do more research about it before I tackle that video post 🙂
As far as a favorite, I noticed that the dry spices extracted very well and the flavors were very intense. The peppercorns (black, white and Schezuan?) all turned out great as well as the cinnamon, and cardamom. The Rooibos Chai Tincture turned out to be my favorite of all though. It’s great with bourbon and rum.
Rooibos Chai sounds like a great thing to extract, the spices seem like they would make any rum more like spiced rum. Thanks for the input, I’ll add that to my list.
I have been tinkering in tinctures for a while now and yes you are right about some flavor/scent constituents not being solvent in alcohol. A great method I use to get all the good stuff out of my tinctures is to strain out the solid matter and give it a good simmer in a very small amount of filtered water. Let it cool and recombine with the alcohol. This combined mix should be allowed to rest for a few days before you attempt to use.
That is awesome advice, thank you! We are definitely going to have to try that!