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Old 12-02-2015, 15:04   #286
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Re: Gin Tankage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
What I am very much more interested in is the tonic. I am awaiting a shipment of Cinchona bark, cut, to start experimenting. Among other things, I am looking forward to being able to control the sweetness -- store-bought
tonic is too sweet for me as a rule. I am just about certain that home-tonic is going to be a whole universe better than store-bought, even Fever Tree.
Me too .

While waiting (difficult, as I have the patience of a gnat ), I have done a little reading to see how ingredients and techniques vary. My aim is for a mix that has a complex but fresh flavour, is not overly sweet or perfumed, with just the right amount of bitterness.

I've listed the ingredients of seven recipes in the spreadsheet attached. A quick glance will show how quantities vary. For this first trial I will not use the maximum amount of citrus, as I am planning to very finely grate it rather than using peeled strips or zest. The greater surface area should mean less is needed and the flavour should be better.

These are the links to the recipes:

Jeffrey Morgenthaler » How to Make Your Own Tonic Water
Homemade Tonic Water - Imbibe Magazine
http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2...ne-syrup/?_r=0
Homemade Tonic Water
Lottie + Doof » Quinine Syrup
Homemade Tonic Water for the Ultimate Gin and Tonic - Pinch and Swirl
DIY Tonic Water: Use It for Personalized Gin and Tonics All Summer Long : Bay Area Bites

The extraction techniques vary dramatically - recipes specify anything from simmering 20-30 min (and possibly in addition letting the mix then sit 2 days), to simply soaking for 3 days in cold water. Boiling has the advantage of quick and better extraction, but it can denature delicate aromatics and at the same time can bring out deeper bitterness. Cold soaking just doesn't extract as well though.

I've decided to hedge my bets a bit and give it a little kick start by using boiling water instead of cold initially (think of making tea), then when cool, adding the citrus and soaking as long as needed. I will taste a couple of times a day before filtering.

SWL
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Old 12-02-2015, 15:21   #287
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Re: Gin Tankage?

OK, the Cinchona arrived. So the experimentation will start in due course

I'm looking forward very much to the results of research by CF's own Head Chef Par Excellance, SWL, followed by the issuance of the CF officially approved tonic recipes
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Old 12-02-2015, 15:31   #288
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Re: Gin Tankage?

The use of 'artisanal tonic syrup' is emerging as a new trend. In searching for recipes, I found a few commercial options, one released last year in Australia:

About | Blood Moon Tonic

It has been marketed well.

A number are produced in the US. Interestingly, I did not find any made in the UK.
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Old 13-02-2015, 02:09   #289
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Re: Gin Tankage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
OK, the Cinchona arrived. So the experimentation will start in due course

I'm looking forward very much to the results of research by CF's own Head Chef Par Excellance, SWL, followed by the issuance of the CF officially approved tonic recipes
Dockhead

I'm expecting that you will arrange numerous taste tests for our sail to the Baltic this spring.

All in the interest of science, of course
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Old 21-02-2015, 13:52   #290
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Re: Gin Tankage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
Me too .

While waiting (difficult, as I have the patience of a gnat ), I have done a little reading to see how ingredients and techniques vary. My aim is for a mix that has a complex but fresh flavour, is not overly sweet or perfumed, with just the right amount of bitterness.

I've listed the ingredients of seven recipes in the spreadsheet attached. A quick glance will show how quantities vary. For this first trial I will not use the maximum amount of citrus, as I am planning to very finely grate it rather than using peeled strips or zest. The greater surface area should mean less is needed and the flavour should be better.

These are the links to the recipes:

Jeffrey Morgenthaler » How to Make Your Own Tonic Water
Homemade Tonic Water - Imbibe Magazine
http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2...ne-syrup/?_r=0
Homemade Tonic Water
Lottie + Doof » Quinine Syrup
Homemade Tonic Water for the Ultimate Gin and Tonic - Pinch and Swirl
DIY Tonic Water: Use It for Personalized Gin and Tonics All Summer Long : Bay Area Bites

The extraction techniques vary dramatically - recipes specify anything from simmering 20-30 min (and possibly in addition letting the mix then sit 2 days), to simply soaking for 3 days in cold water. Boiling has the advantage of quick and better extraction, but it can denature delicate aromatics and at the same time can bring out deeper bitterness. Cold soaking just doesn't extract as well though.

I've decided to hedge my bets a bit and give it a little kick start by using boiling water instead of cold initially (think of making tea), then when cool, adding the citrus and soaking as long as needed. I will taste a couple of times a day before filtering.

SWL
Cinchona bark is safely landed at Cowes, and will be posted to obscure Greek islands tomorrow.

Now trying to assemble the other exotic ingredients -- not simple here on the Isle of Wight . . . might have to wait until a London expedition later this week . . .
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Old 25-02-2015, 16:06   #291
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Re: Gin Tankage?

Now I really understand why they call the sitting room on a boat the saloon.

I will never understand why some call it the salon. Unless its being used for fancy haircuts.

Sent from my SGH-T989 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 09-03-2015, 08:33   #292
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Tonic syrup (trial 1)

Cinchona bark has arrived. Many thanks Dockhead . I have been looking forward to experimenting.

I have just started mixing up my first batch. The quantities I used are in the last column of the table I attached a few posts back, so an easy comparison to other recipes is possible. I didn't play much with the ingredients. No need to reinvent the wheel .

I did, however, alter the processing a little. Some recipes suggested boiling the mix for up to half an hour, some just soaking for several days in cold water. The quantities used did not seem to relate to the technique. I decided to combine most of the dry ingredients and poured boiling water over to help extract the flavour. I will wait until it is cool before adding the citrus and therefore maintain the freshness.

I will also grate the rind finely - some recipes suggested grating, some using long thin strips of zest, others using wide peel. I didn't go for the maximum number of citrus, but went for a technique that gives the greatest surface area to extract the most from it.

More than half the recipes I found included the citrus juice, so I will also.

These are the full details:

TONIC SYRUP (trial 1)

4 cups boiling water
cup (= 29g = 1 ounce) cut cinchona bark
2 stalks lemongrass, chopped finely (I substituted 2 tablespoons of dried, as fresh was unavailable. I know it will suffer a bit for this)
4 whole allspice berries
3 whole cardamon pods
tablespoon dried lavender flowers

teaspoon salt
cup (56g) citric acid
2 lemons, finely grated and juiced
2 limes, finely grated and juiced
1 orange, finely grated and juiced

Sugar Syrup (to be added after soaking and filtering)
1 cup natural cane sugar (it is the light brown stuff with crystals slightly larger than granulated sugar, but smaller than raw sugar)
1 cup boiling water
Just mix the sugar and water and let stand until it dissolves. There is no need to heat this.

cup gin (I am planning to add this to help extend the life - the citric acid is a natural preservative, but recipes suggest the life is apparently only a couple of weeks even if refrigerated)

----------------------

I combined the first 6 ingredients in a large glass jar.
When cool I will add the next 5 ingredients.
I will shake the mix every few hours and taste test it at the same time to see how it is developing. It will be interesting to see how it changes with time.

When it has developed sufficiently, this is what I plan to do:
- Strain to remove the bulk of the solids
- Pour through a paper coffee filter placed in a funnel
- Add sugar syrup to taste (I doubt I will need any more than a cup, as I don't like sweet drinks, so I will only mix this amount initially)
- Add gin
- Bottle and refrigerate

The ingredients initially mainly floated. It was quite mesmerising watching them drift slowly to the bottom of the jar. Seeing me bobbed down with my nose just about glued to the jar, the comment from my better half was: "Do you think maybe you've been on the water too long?"

I will add a note to this post later indicating how long I left it soaking and how much sugar I ended up using.

Any of the botanicals used in making gin should blend well here. In future batches I will have a play adding a small amount of some of these eg rose petals, cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg, lemon verbena etc. Lots of taste tests coming up . I suspect very little extra will be needed, as I think the cinchona and citrus should dominate.

SWL

This is how it looks while soaking in the boiling water waiting for it to cool before adding the citrus etc:
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:19   #293
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Re: Gin Tankage?

Dockhead, did you manage to source all the ingredients?
If not, lavender and allspice are readily available here and I can post you some.

I can also provide links to purchase the products from Amazon UK (mostly free delivery in the UK)

SWL
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:51   #294
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Re: Gin Tankage?

I ordered all the ingredients from Amazon UK to be brought out to me in Egypt so I could also have a go at making tonic and everything arrived except the lavendar :-(

Better start looking for that next time we go ashore.
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Old 09-03-2015, 09:59   #295
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Re: Gin Tankage?

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Originally Posted by NornaBiron View Post
I ordered all the ingredients from Amazon UK to be brought out to me in Egypt so I could also have a go at making tonic and everything arrived except the lavendar :-(

Better start looking for that next time we go ashore.
You'll be back in Greece soon I presume? You need to look for what they call a "Traditional Store" here. I am happy to post you some if you can't source any .

SWL
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Old 09-03-2015, 11:28   #296
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Re: Gin Tankage?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
You'll be back in Greece soon I presume? You need to look for what they call a "Traditional Store" here. I am happy to post you some if you can't source any .

SWL
Thanks but we'll be back in Crete by the beginning of May, I'll go scrumping ;-) or there're great shops in Ag Nik that will have some. We can't get limes here in Egypt either, so I'm probably better off waiting 'til I get back to Spinalonga.

When you e-mailed saying you were going to experiment with tonic I thought 'we obviously have great minds 'cos so am I'! I'm planning to use the Pinch and Swirl recipe.

Can't wait to find out how yours is.
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Old 09-03-2015, 14:27   #297
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Re: Gin Tankage?

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Originally Posted by NornaBiron View Post
When you e-mailed saying you were going to experiment with tonic I thought 'we obviously have great minds 'cos so am I'! I'm planning to use the Pinch and Swirl recipe.
The recipe I used was very close - I am using boiling water just on the dry ingredients initially and decreasing the amount of citrus (but adding the juice as well as most of the recipes do), as I am grating it more finely.

I have already shaken the jar a couple of times and had a couple of taste tests (there may not be much of the mix left by the time time it has finished soaking LOL). First impressions are that the citrus is very powerful. The bitterness from the cinchona is already coming through.

This is how finely I grated the rind:
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Old 11-03-2015, 10:11   #298
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Tonic syrup (trial 1)

Trial one was not a great success.
On the bright side, there is a lot of room for improvement .

I stopped soaking at the 48 hour mark as the flavours have not been continuing to develop for the last eight hours or so. The mixture is just getting cloudier. I strained initially with a sieve, then finer tea strainer, then coffee filters (plural as they very quickly clogged up and the filtering proceeded only drip by drip). I ended up adding cup of the sugar syrup after filtering (most recipes had a minimum of syrup made with two cups of sugar).

So, what was wrong with the final result?
Well, it simply didn't taste like tonic. Worse still, it didn't taste like I wanted tonic to taste.

It was fruity. Really fruity. And the lavender and lemon grass were extremely pronounced. I think they should be subtle, adding to the complexity, not in your face. The cinchona flavour was a bit odd, but that may just be a case of adapting my taste buds to a different type of bitterness.

Changes I am making next time:
- Way less citrus. Definitely no juice at all. No orange either - I don't want my G&T orange flavoured. I'll reduce the citrus to just the rind of one lemon and lime.
- Way less lemongrass and lavender.
- I will use ordinary granulated white sugar, not cane sugar. I don't want caramel tones in my G&T either.
- I'll see what difference it makes boiling the bark.

Although not a success, the first batch wasn't a complete failure. It is nice syrup to add to soda water to make a non sweet fruity drink, it just isn't tonic. Also interesting sipping it straight up (good alternative to an alcoholic drink).

I'll mix the next lot up later tonight. After making the first batch I have a better idea of quantities needed, but what of technique? The ingredients are a very mixed lot and their needs vary dramatically. Why do all recipes process them together? Why not extract the best from each ingredient individually?

Finely grated citrus rind only needs half an hour or so and lukewarm water is best. Stewing for days is not good. Lemongrass and lavender need near boiling water and a 10-15 minute soak. Steeping them for any longer produces a bitter result (first hand experience ). Cold water certainly isn't best for them. Tea made with cardamom and allspice are not given long soaks either, but they are tougher and may benefit from a short amount of boiling - I need to check that out.

I don't know what is best for bark, but I doubt very much a cold soak is optimal. This is a major part of the tonic, so along with the citrus it is critical to get this right. Logically, the first thing to do at this stage is to compare a cold soak to boiling the cinchona and test it out without any other ingredients interfering. I am planning to mix up two batches to isolate the effect of cold soaking vs boiling the cinchona alone. Adding boiling water rather than cold would be a third alternative, but I don't really want to mix up three batches.

Yes, there may be some interaction between components that mean extraction is better when combined, but I really doubt this is significant here, so I will ignore this . There are so many variables to test, that I just can't cover them all so I need stab a guess at what may be most effective.

SWL
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Old 14-03-2015, 01:16   #299
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Tonic syrup (trials 2 & 3)

WOW! What a difference between soaking the cinchona in cold water and boiling it. Not subtle at all!

I soaked one lot of bark in cold water for 64 hours, then deciding it had had enough time soaking, I boiled up a second batch for 30 minutes (using an extra cup of water, as I knew a fair bit would be lost to evaporation).

Firstly, the appearance was very different. The one soaking for almost 3 days had become murkier with each shake and the colour was orangy-brown with just a tinge of red. The boiled lot was crystal clear with a brighter reddish colour.

The difference in smell could instantly be identified before the taste test. Miles nicer for the boiled lot. There was also a dramatic difference in taste between the two. The underlying bitterness was about the same, but the rest of the flavours were rounder and richer when boiling. And the flavour was "right" (ie what my taste buds expected in tonic, the other was quite unpleasant in comparison). You really need to try this to appreciate it.

Boiling wins hands down!
I processed the rest of the ingredients optimally for each, as mentioned in my previous post. This worked well and was not onerous.

The recipe may need a bit of playing with still (I'll experiment to see how much boiling is ideal), but the result is good as is. I will wait now until I have used up this lot before making any more. I think at this stage the ideal method and exact quantities are up to individual tastes, so just experiment and see what suits you. Lots of botanicals used in gin could probably successfully be added in small quantities to add a subtle complexity to the mix.

I also think if you don't want to fuss with sourcing and storing a lot of ingredients, simply cinchona, lime and/or lemon rind, citric acid and sugar syrup would make a perfectly acceptable mix if the technique outlined below is used. This would roughly reproduce the original ingredients used by British officers in India to make quinine palatable and I think would still give a vastly better drink compared to sugary bought tonic that doesn't have any depth to it anyway.

In the quest for a perfect tonic, I have now deviated significantly from the technique used by half dozen other recipes found online. Here is the method I used :

TONIC SYRUP (trial 3 - best by far)

5 cups water
cup cut cinchona bark
3 whole cardamom pods, split open and seeds scraped out
4 whole allspice berries, bashed with a hammer
1 teaspoon dried lemongrass
teaspoon dried lavender flowers
cup citric acid
teaspoon salt
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
Finely grated rind of 1 lime

Sugar Syrup
cup ordinary white sugar
cup boiling water
(you may need more, as most recipes called for at least 2 cups of sugar)

cup gin (to increase the keeping quality)

- Bring the water and cinchona to boil, simmer 30 minutes
- Meanwhile mix the sugar and boiling water together and put aside to dissolve and cool
- When the cinchona is nearly done, throw in the cardamom pods & seeds plus allspice and continue simmering a few minutes
- Take off heat, cool a few minutes, add lemongrass and lavender and leave 10-15 minutes (definitely no longer).
- Strain using a sieve then a tea strainer
- Add the citric acid and salt and stir to dissolve
- When lukewarm, add the finely grated lime and lemon rind
- Let sit half an hour or so, strain with a tea strainer, give it a few minutes for any sediment to sink to the bottom so that it doesn't clog the paper filter early, then filter using a coffee filter and funnel
- Add sugar syrup to taste (I used not quite all the sugar)
- Add half a cup of gin (optional) and bottle.

Dockhead, thanks not only for the bark, but for initially posting the idea of making tonic syrup.

Cheers all .
SWL
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Old 14-03-2015, 06:43   #300
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Re: Tonic syrup (trials 2 & 3)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
WOW! What a difference between soaking the cinchona in cold water and boiling it. Not subtle at all!

I soaked one lot of bark in cold water for 64 hours, then deciding it had had enough time soaking, I boiled up a second batch for 30 minutes (using an extra cup of water, as I knew a fair bit would be lost to evaporation).

Firstly, the appearance was very different. The one soaking for almost 3 days had become murkier with each shake and the colour was orangy-brown with just a tinge of red. The boiled lot was crystal clear with a brighter reddish colour.

The difference in smell could instantly be identified before the taste test. Miles nicer for the boiled lot. There was also a dramatic difference in taste between the two. The underlying bitterness was about the same, but the rest of the flavours were rounder and richer when boiling. And the flavour was "right" (ie what my taste buds expected in tonic, the other was quite unpleasant in comparison). You really need to try this to appreciate it.

Boiling wins hands down!
I processed the rest of the ingredients optimally for each, as mentioned in my previous post. This worked well and was not onerous.

The recipe may need a bit of playing with still (I'll experiment to see how much boiling is ideal), but the result is good as is. I will wait now until I have used up this lot before making any more. I think at this stage the ideal method and exact quantities are up to individual tastes, so just experiment and see what suits you. Lots of botanicals used in gin could probably successfully be added in small quantities to add a subtle complexity to the mix.

I also think if you don't want to fuss with sourcing and storing a lot of ingredients, simply cinchona, lime and/or lemon rind, citric acid and sugar syrup would make a perfectly acceptable mix if the technique outlined below is used. This would roughly reproduce the original ingredients used by British officers in India to make quinine palatable and I think would still give a vastly better drink compared to sugary bought tonic that doesn't have any depth to it anyway.

In the quest for a perfect tonic, I have now deviated significantly from the technique used by half dozen other recipes found online. Here is the method I used :

TONIC SYRUP (trial 3 - best by far)

5 cups water
cup cut cinchona bark
3 whole cardamom pods, split open and seeds scraped out
4 whole allspice berries, bashed with a hammer
1 teaspoon dried lemongrass
teaspoon dried lavender flowers
cup citric acid
teaspoon salt
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
Finely grated rind of 1 lime

Sugar Syrup
cup ordinary white sugar
cup boiling water
(you may need more, as most recipes called for at least 2 cups of sugar)

cup gin (to increase the keeping quality)

- Bring the water and cinchona to boil, simmer 30 minutes
- Meanwhile mix the sugar and boiling water together and put aside to dissolve and cool
- When the cinchona is nearly done, throw in the cardamom pods & seeds plus allspice and continue simmering a few minutes
- Take off heat, cool a few minutes, add lemongrass and lavender and leave 10-15 minutes (definitely no longer).
- Strain using a sieve then a tea strainer
- Add the citric acid and salt and stir to dissolve
- When lukewarm, add the finely grated lime and lemon rind
- Let sit half an hour or so, strain with a tea strainer, give it a few minutes for any sediment to sink to the bottom so that it doesn't clog the paper filter early, then filter using a coffee filter and funnel
- Add sugar syrup to taste (I used not quite all the sugar)
- Add half a cup of gin (optional) and bottle.

Dockhead, thanks not only for the bark, but for initially posting the idea of making tonic syrup.

Cheers all .
SWL
Cool! I can't wait to try it.

I'm travelling a lot these weeks -- just back from a week in Cannes and Nice and on my way to Finland for another week. I'll order the ingredients for delivery from Amazon to coincide with being back on the boat about a week from now.

Kudos for the R&D, SWL Can't wait to try it out. How would you compare it with store-bought tonic?
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