Determination of the power of produced vodkas and tinctures.
- Used concentrations
Alcoholic strengths used in tinctures
The limit concentration of the spirit we flood the fruit is 70%. Stronger spirit truncates proteins and prevents the extraction of many valuable ingredients. Pharmacists, when preparing plant extracts, use such a concentration of spirit. This allows many organic compounds to dissolve, essential oils, resins and dyes are released. The sugars contained in the fruit combine with alcohol, and alkaloids and glycosides are often found that have pharmacological significance. However, various types of salts and colloids responsible for turbidity and undesirable taste do not dissolve. Pouring fruit with alcohol of specific strength, the content of juice is taken into account, whether we will pour it again, how sweet and how strong the tincture should be. A good tincture is essential, the taste of fruit should be in the foreground, alcohol or sugar cannot dominate. A kilo of fruit is usually poured with one or two liters of alcohol with the right strength so that they are completely immersed. The above calculator will help you choose the right ingredients. To get a spirit with a power of about 70%, you need to mix a liter of 96% spirit with a liter of vodka, adding a second liter of vodka we get 60% spirit. By mixing a liter of spirit with a liter of water we will obtain a spirit with a power of about 50%. When mixing spirit with water or vodka, there is a contraction phenomenon: a slight decrease in the volume of mixed ingredients.
- Alcohol maceration
Maceration of fruit for tincturesThe most common macerable raw material is fresh or dried fruit, but other parts of the plant are also used: flower petals, leaves or roots. They are poured with alcohol to extract the desired substances so that the tincture has the right taste, color, aroma and health properties. A typical proportion is 1 to 1.5 liters of spirit with a 50-70% strength per 1 kg of fruit. The more juicy the fruit, the stronger the alcohol used for maceration should be. Dried fruits are generally flooded twice because the substances they contain are more concentrated. For the first flooding, we usually use about 50% spirit, and for the second one vodka. The maceration time depends on the type of raw materials used, alcohol strength and temperature at which the maceration takes place. It can be from several hours to several months. The most valuable and tastiest ingredients are released relatively quickly, too long maceration can significantly worsen the final taste of the tincture. It is generally accepted that maceration should last about a month. We macerate in hermetically sealed vessels, which reduces alcohol loss. The higher temperature accelerates the extraction, which is why we place the jars with tincture in a warm place, in addition, we shake them every few days in order to dissolve the plant substances in alcohol faster and more accurately.
- Sweetening of tinctures
Adding sugar or honey to tincturesMost often it is only after the pouring that we pour sugar over the fruit or pour over boiled and defrosted sugar syrup. In this way we can recover the alcohol that remains in the macerated fruit, we also have better control over the final sweetness of the drink. Do not exaggerate with the sugar content of the tincture. While a small amount emphasizes the taste of the fruit used, too much significantly attenuates the taste experience. In addition, each fruit contains at least a few percent of sugars, and this should be taken into account when planning the digestibility of the tincture. When calculating the strength of the drink, remember that a dissolved kilogram of sugar increases the volume of the setting by 0.6 litre and accordingly less weakens the strength of the tincture. Honey is a very valuable component of tinctures. However, depending on the amount and type of honey, it may change or even dominate the taste and aroma of the tincture and extend its ripening period. In order to obtain a clear beverage containing honey, we need to decant it beforehand, i.e. boil it and collect the scum from the top. Heating the crystallised honey makes it return to liquid form. However, it is better not to heat the honey above 40° Celsius, then it does not lose its valuable health properties. However, one should reckon with the impossibility of fully clarifying the tincture. Honey is at least 25% less sweet than sugar.
- Aging of tinctures
Maturing and storage of tincturesAfter combining individual tinctures, adjusting the strength and dryness of the drink, we place the tincture where we can ensure its coolness and limited light access. From time to time we look to assess the progress of self-clarification. If the tincture clears well, we can decant it into smaller ridges or target bottles. By the way, we check how the taste, bouquet and perceived power of the tincture have changed. Let's remember that in a few months the tincture will reach maturity and appear sweeter, have a richer aroma, and the sharpness of the spirit will disappear. The final sediment can be filtered through a coffee filter and drained separately. The combination of several such tips of tinctures and stopping for automatic clarification often has a surprising effect and delights with a bouquet of aromas and a wealth of flavors. High gravity bottles are perfect for gravitational clarification. Leaving deposits on the bottom of the tincture for too long adversely affects its quality. Proteins break down, various types of compounds are formed with questionable aromas and flavors. If we want to age a specific tincture through the slow access of air, we can pour it into a clay demijohn. Remember that over time some of the "percentages" will evaporate. However, most often the tinctures are poured into dark bottles, tightly corked and varnished to keep the aroma and color as long as possible. Not all tinctures are better the older they are. They can lose their natural color, lose a lot of taste. Sometimes aeration slightly improves the taste of such a tincture.