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alcohols for extracts

This is not in the speakeasy because it technically will be used to make a tasty food additive.

I'm doing an experiment. A pricey experiment as it turns out, but still an experiment that should be tasty. I'm going to make vanilla extract in Taquilla, bourbon, and vodka (control extract). Thought about moonshine (legal) but not sure, maybe rum.

I was given an unopened bottle of herradura so that is the tequila.

I know the alcohol does not need to be the best quality but I also don't think it should be skid row either.

Here's the problem, I don't drink. I have no clue what mid range drinkable vodka or bourbon to buy. Rum either, for that matter.

I've had what was called bourbon vanilla extract and liked it but considering its provenance was unknown there was no way to ask what bourbon was used.

Thoughts?
 

TexLaw

Contributor
For bourbon, go get Evan Williams Bottled in Bond. It's at least as good as many bourbons that are twice the price.
 
Everclear is the standard for extracts.
Everclear mixed with water to bring the proof down some. From what I have read, too high a proof "dries it out." which affected yield and flavor. Everclear is neutral so it would be ideal for the control group but I would have to cut it to bring the proof down. 80 proof seems to be the ideal target but 70-85 proof will work. Only one place I found mentioned anything above 85 and it included some water. The corporations all mix their alcohol with water to cut it and use steam, heat, or pressure in the process somewhere to speed it up. There are extract recipes for the instapot and crockpot. This will steep for 10 months so I am not in a rush.

If I distilled my own water I might use everclear as the control but I do not currently have a still. In the DIY world Vodka is the neutral liquor of choice because the proof is right as well as the neutral taste and smell.

My goal is to build on the flavor of the vanilla with the bourbon, taquilla and something else.
 
This will steep for 10 months so I am not in a rush.
My experience making botanical tinctures is that you may want to explore shorter steeping times. If you go too long you're getting chlorophyll and even lignins that not only taste awful but pretty much cover up what you're after. Flavour components are pretty soluble.

One of the best methods I've learned is to finely divide your dry botanical material and then put it in a glass jar and toss it in the freezer for 24 hours. Stick a bottle of anhydrous ethanol ("Everclear" if you're in the US) in the freezer with it for 24 hours. After 24 hours, pour the anhydrous over the botanical matter, stir for two minutes, and then filter through either a Buchner funnel or two layers of coffee filter. (One is cheap and almost everybody has them; the other is expensive and rare and fiddly but you get to talk like a real scientist.)

Then you have a tincture that can be diluted if you wish, or you may treat it as a wash and either proceed to vacuum distillation (which reclaims most of the anhydrous solvent) or to low-heat evaporation (which loses all of the solvent). From that you have more or less -- depending on process and duration -- concentrated extract that you can use as you wish.

In the DIY world Vodka is the neutral liquor of choice because the proof is right as well as the neutral taste and smell.
The problem with vodka (or other diluted spirit like tequila, whisk(e)y or rum) is that it has water in it. The water changes how things extract, and interferes with trying to concentrate the tincture. It's better to do the extraction with pure solvent, then dilute the product.

If you just want to spice up some booze, put some stuff in the bottle and stick it in the fridge overnight.

O.H.
 
There's a place to look for tips/advice which not everyone might be aware of. With the legalization of marijuana in some states (with more to come), there's a TON of interest in extracts these days. Home growers will harvest and smoke the flower. Then they will take the leftover trim to make extracts. Different methods, alcohols, etc. It's a blooming (pun intended) hobby. May want to seek advice there. Just don't be boiling butane in your kitchen :).
 
There's a place to look for tips/advice which not everyone might be aware of. With the legalization of marijuana in some states (with more to come), there's a TON of interest in extracts these days. Home growers will harvest and smoke the flower. Then they will take the leftover trim to make extracts. Different methods, alcohols, etc. It's a blooming (pun intended) hobby. May want to seek advice there. Just don't be boiling butane in your kitchen :).
Back in the earlyish days of the internet the only place to find free and easy to understand information on hydroponics was pot growing sites. Talk about a great open source of information and super helpful people, even though I was growing strawberries, lettuce and tomatoes in my classroom.

@Old Hippie thank you for the info but what I am doing is not medicinal at all. I will file the info away for when I try to do something else. What I plan to do is standard practice for anyone doing vanilla extract. From what I have learned, too high an alcohol proof will make a terrible vanilla extract no matter how you do it. Even the commercialized brands, small to large, water down their cheap grain alcohol to lower the proof to the proper extracting amounts. They heat it or pressurize it, or both to speed it up, thus making an inferior product. The better product is done slow with a better quality alcohol.
 
I have made both ie med and cooking ex.Keep the alcohol above 40 and it won’t go bad on you. It’s not a cheap hobby, but it does pay off.
Ie I take herb 1 cup to 4 cups alcohol let set six weeks and bam you made stuff that sales for 15 an floz

Bourbon and other aged booze goes together.They both have a lot same flavor profiles.

There’s no bourbon in that, it’s just the name..

It can be done with vegetable glycerin

 
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