"Bring forth unto us a beverage! Thy beverage shall depend upon one
or more ingredients that thou makest yourself. Beyond that decree, you may
voyage to the edge of the Earth or beyond."
- Barring a few of the stronger spices, tinctures are generally prepared in a 5 or 4:1 ratio of Spirit:Spice.
- Tinctures take a while to make, generally-speaking about two weeks of maceration, though certain spices & herbs require more time, even in high-test spirit. Color is a good indicator - when the color of the liquid has deepened to match that of the herbs & grows no darker in hue, you're likely good to go.
- Scent is also a good indicator - when you can detect no alcohol fumes overpowering the aroma of whatever you've infused, the tincture is more or less ready. Taste can be used here too, but be sure to only sample the tiniest of tiny amounts to avoid blowing a fuse in your taste buds. Bitter or spicy tinctures are recommended against sampling undiluted.
- If you'd like your tinctures at a milder final proof, feel free to dilute them with water. However, to avoid diluting the flavor, you'll want to allow said water to infuse in the washed spices for about a week before you strain & add it to your original alcohol base.
To get started, here are handful of tinctures which are much-valued in my kitchen & bar (for a full list of the tinctures I've currently got on hand, check out the "Behind the Bar: Tinctures & Bitters" sidebar on the right):
Tincture of Iranian Saffron
4 oz. Neutral Grain Spirits
1 Teaspoon: Iranian Saffron threads
Combine ingredients in an airtight container for eighteen days, agitating gently each day. Should be a delicate, clear reddish-pink in color. When ready, fine-strain to remove all solids & bottle. Give 1 drop of this a try in a Pisco Sour, or two drops in a Silver Fizz.
Tincture of Black Cardamom
2 oz. Black Cardamom, seeds only
8 oz. Neutral Grain Spirits
Combine ingredients in an airtight container for three weeks, agitating gently each day. Should be a slightly opaque, smoke-hued color. When ready, fine-strain to remove all solids & bottle. Give 2 drops of this a try in a Sidecar or Tom Collins.
Tincture of Wormwood
2 oz. Wormwood
8 oz. Neutral Grain Spirits
Combine ingredients in an airtight container for three weeks, agitating gently each day. Should be an opaque, deep dark green in color. When ready, fine-strain to remove all solids & bottle. Give this a try in Darcy O'Neil's researched reproduction of the infamous Green Swizzle or the handful of other antique recipes what call for "Wormwood bitters".
Tincture of Scotch Bonnet
7 oz. Neutral Grain Spirits
2 whole Scotch Bonnet peppers, seeds only
1 Tablespoon: Scotch Bonnet pepper, julienned
Please be extremely cautious when working with these peppers, wearing gloves & being careful to avoid contact with your eyes or mouth. Combine ingredients in an airtight container for sixteen days, agitating gently each day. Should be clear with a very slight, almost ominous, oily orange tint. When ready, fine-strain to remove all solids & bottle. Give this a (careful) try as the spicy element in a wicked Bloody Mary - sub 2 drops in for your favorite hot sauce.
Cheers, enjoy & sorry again Doug!