27 April 2013

Tinctures, part 1

Last fall, I made a couple of batches of bitters, using recipes from Brad Thomas Parsons' great book on the subject. Both batches came out well, but through reading the book in detail, it became apparent that the way to really customize the bitters was to make them by blending tinctures. Simply, a tincture is an infusion of one ingredient into a solvent. Bitters tend to be a blend of tinctures of bittering agents (roots, etc.) and flavoring agents (fruit, etc.). So, for this next step of my explorations, we cleared off a few shelves in the music room and put up some tinctures.

Rosemary, Juniper, Ginger, Orange, Clove, and Hibiscus tinctures.

Right now, there are about 25 jars of tinctures on the shelf. Some are woody (Cherry Bark, Arnica Root), some are leafy (Sassafras, Rosemary), and some are floral (Hibiscus, Rose Hips). I'm using different solvents for different ingredients. For lighter flavors, I use Everclear, but for thicker or woodier flavors (like the Ginger or Clove), I use a high-proof rum or bourbon. I still have a few tinctures to make, but once they're jarred up, all you do is shake them every day and wait.  The floral tinctures will be ready in a few days, but the woodier flavors will take up to a few weeks.