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Old 02-04-2015, 03:40   #346
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Re: Tonic syrup (trials 2 & 3)

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
A few questions:

Are you mixing the syrup with soda water right in the glass, or beforehand?
I mix it in the glass. I found if I put the tonic in before the soda water it frothed up badly, so now I add gin then soda then the tonic and ice. Stirring seems unnecessary.

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
What proportions are you using? I put in about three tablespoons and realize it was probably a bit too much.
I use 1 tablespoon (20ml or ⅔ shot) of tonic syrup to two shots of gin and about two shots of soda water. In summer I sometimes prefer a longer drink and I would then add a bit more tonic and soda.
Edited to add: Maybe it is closer to 3 shots of soda water. Total soda/tonic is about twice the a amount of gin. I eyeball that.

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Would it make sense to bottle this stuff in smaller bottles with no air in them? Would they last longer that way, do you think?
I don't know that it would affect longevity much, but I think the flavours would hold better if there is less air space in the container. Also store it somewhere dark and cool.

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I wonder if it would make sense to try making a tincture out of the Cinchona, using vodka instead of boiling water? Wonder what that would taste like?
When I was making lemon extract a week ago I had exactly the same thought . You probably have no interest in the boat recipes thread, but NornaBiron recently posted a recipe for making lemon, almond and vanilla extracts. The lemon one is brilliant (just vodka or gin and finely grated lemon rind soaked for about 5 days, drained and filtered) and while making it I pondered on whether this technique could be incorporated in the tonic recipe.

The problem is that the bark needs to be boiled. Desperately so. The cold soaked stuff was just awful compared to the boiled. So water is needed there (alcohol boils off so is wasted). A bit less water could be used, but less will then be extracted from the bark as the mix will be more concentrated. The lemon rind is currently going in that liquid, so no extra water is being used. I think just about the best is being extracted from the ingredients as is, soaking in alcohol would not benefit.

If citrus is likely not to be available, then making a lemon/lime extract is a perfect way of preserving it. The flavour of this is superb. This would mean all the ingredients would store indefinitely on board. Tonic syrup wherever and whenever you want it .

What would increase longevity of the tonic syrup in general is adding more gin (or vodka) at the end. I used half a cup of gin to help preserve the mix. You could up this significantly (even 50/50). It is not a waste of alcohol as you would simply use less gin when mixing then. Most flavoured alcohol mixes improve with standing a month or two and I would guess this tonic mix would do the same.

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How can I preserve the lemongrass for the next batch -- freeze it? What do you think? I could vacuum seal it I guess, and freeze it.
Freezing is an excellent way of preserving it and if vacuum sealed it will last for months (6 at a guess). Or wrap it in plastic cling wrap in the quantity it will be used and pack in a glass jar and freeze that. This will also help stop freezer burn, although not as well as vacuum sealing.

The other alternative is to chop it up and soak it in gin or vodka. I have never tried this, but it should extract the flavour very well and preserve it at the same time.

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The only thing I don't like about the taste is that I think there is about double the right amount of citric acid -- a really strong acid taste which overpowers the other elements a bit. Maybe I didn't measure right. Did you have this, or not?
I thought the citric acid was about right. I used cup. If this didn't taste right to you, just reduce it next time.

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Old 02-04-2015, 03:53   #347
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Re: Tonic syrup (trials 2 & 3)

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
...NornaBiron recently posted a recipe for making lemon, almond and vanilla extracts. The lemon one is brilliant (just vodka... and finely grated lemon rind soaked for about 5 days, drained and filtered)...
Add some simple syrup and you have Lemoncello! I actually steep my lemon peels for several weeks.
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Old 02-04-2015, 04:02   #348
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Re: Tonic syrup (trials 2 & 3)

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Add some simple syrup and you have Lemoncello! I actually steep my lemon peels for several weeks.
I was thinking when I made it that it was by far the best Limoncello I had ever tasted as is . I don't really like sweet drinks and with not being watered down this was so intense! It would be fantastic served frozen.

I made Limoncello in Sicily some years ago and used strips of peel as you do, leaving it for several weeks. Next time you make it try very finely grating the rind and only leaving it about 5 days. By then the best has then been extracted from the lemon. I found the flavour significantly better doing this than when I used long strips of peel. It will of course then improve if it is just left to sit for a few weeks. I guess sugar syrup can be added before or after the maturing time.

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Old 02-04-2015, 04:21   #349
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Re: Gin Tankage?

This is how the lemon extract looks.

It is crystal clear and would retain this clarity even with sugar syrup added if you want to make classic Limoncello out of it. The short soak with max surface area of the rind exposed extracts the flavour super quickly with no resulting cloudiness .

Dockhead, I think you would get a similar result using fresh lemongrass if you didn't want to freeze it for use in tonic syrup.
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Old 02-04-2015, 06:22   #350
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Re: Gin Tankage?

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
This is how the lemon extract looks.

It is crystal clear and would retain this clarity even with sugar syrup added if you want to make classic Limoncello out of it. The short soak with max surface area of the rind exposed extracts the flavour super quickly with no resulting cloudiness .

Dockhead, I think you would get a similar result using fresh lemongrass if you didn't want to freeze it for use in tonic syrup.
OK. Should I soak it and then throw away the lemongrass? Or just leave it in there? What do you think?
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Old 02-04-2015, 08:34   #351
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Re: Gin Tankage?

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OK. Should I soak it and then throw away the lemongrass? Or just leave it in there? What do you think?
I think I would follow the standard Limoncello principle and leave the lemongrass soaking for a month or two, then discard (it is fairly tough like rind peel). There should be next to no flavour left in the organic material after that. I have done the same with fresh chilies with success.

To get the most out of it, make sure the lemongrass is clean and dry then give the stalks a bit of a bash with something heavy like the handle of a big knife (this will help release the oils) and cut them in thin slices.

Quantity is a bit of a guess, but perhaps try a couple of stalks per half cup of vodka or gin. After the month is up, drain the alcohol with a tea strainer and filter it with a coffee filter. The life of this should then easily be a year, maybe two years. Use half a cup of the liquid per batch of tonic syrup, substituting this for the alcohol I threw in to help preserve the mix. Add this at the very end with the sugar syrup.

If you wanted to take a shortcut, add lemon and lime rind as well with the lemongrass, but maybe bump up the alcohol then. These extraction methods work best if the volume of alcohol is reasonable compared to the quantity of organics.

This would make preparing a batch of tonic syrup a breeze and would require no fresh ingredients .

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Old 02-04-2015, 09:05   #352
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Re: Gin Tankage?

I wondered if lemongrass extract was available commercially and I found this:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lemongrass-e...ngrass+extract

4 for 5ml, but only 1 drop is needed per 200 ml of liquid. If suitable, using it would be an easy shortcut.
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Old 02-04-2015, 12:59   #353
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Re: Gin Tankage?

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Originally Posted by Seaworthy Lass View Post
I wondered if lemongrass extract was available commercially and I found this:

Lemongrass extract (Holy Lama Spice Drops: natural spice extract, natural flavouring & natural essence): Amazon.co.uk: Grocery

4 for 5ml, but only 1 drop is needed per 200 ml of liquid. If suitable, using it would be an easy shortcut.
I'm afraid I'm fixed for life with lemongrass! I took my remaining stock, bashed it, chopped it up, and put it to steep in vodka.

I have about 700ml 1 liter of the syrup from the first batch -- at 20ml per drink, that will last for a while -- 35 50 cocktails.

I am having my second delicious cocktail from this recipe just now. I greatly reduced the dose of syrup -- from 3 or 4 tablespoons (o.d., I know), to one tablespoon, in a somewhat larger drink than what you make. I use 75ml of gin. So this is a smaller dose of tonic syrup than what you use as a proportion, but it seems good to me. The excessive citric acid taste is gone, but the drink is still plenty bitter enough, with a delightful astringency to the taste. A bit less of the woody taste, I'm afraid, but it's still mega delicious.

It is recognizably "tonic", but more bitter, less sweet, and vastly more aromatic. This is the best thing to come out of my galley in a very long while.
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Old 02-04-2015, 13:26   #354
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Re: Gin Tankage?

So I'm having one more of these, and this time I have increased the tonic to 1 1/2 tablespoons -- so about the same as your proportion.

I guess this is just about right. It's quite bitter and incredibly aromatic. The sugar is almost undetectable; just enough to round out the taste -- like the slightest sugar content in a really good Bordeaux. This is the platonic ideal of a G&T. I will never be able to drink store-bought tonic again, which seems like a joke now -- a miserable ersatz imitation. A bigger difference than the difference between some crappy instant coffee, and a really good espresso.

By the way, quinine is an alkaloid, and I get some definite drug-like effects from it. Not any kind of druggy rush, but I feel my body responding to it. Whether this is a good thing or not, I do not know.
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Old 02-04-2015, 18:56   #355
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Re: Gin Tankage?

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This is the platonic ideal of a G&T. I will never be able to drink store-bought tonic again, which seems like a joke now -- a miserable ersatz imitation. A bigger difference than the difference between some crappy instant coffee, and a really good espresso.
Now you see why I wrote this when you asked a few weeks ago how it tasted :

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Chalk and cheese .
Dramatically better. Sinfully so really, I rarely have two G&T's because of the sweetness and this will lead me to temptation .
Want my marmalade recipe? It will spoil you for life from the store bought imitation .

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Old 23-04-2015, 10:52   #356
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Re: Gin Tankage?

Feedback on trial #3 (the first one usable for G&Ts, see post #342):
Six weeks later only about a cup is left. I have been meaning to make another batch for a while now, as this one seems to be slowly improving with time.
It has been unrefrigerated. It has remained essentially crystal clear but a slight sediment accumulated at the bottom that tended to get a little stirred up when the tonic was poured, so a couple of weeks ago I simply let it sit a couple of days and carefully poured all but the last couple of tablespoons through a coffee filter in a funnel again. No sediment has reoccured.

Batch #4 was made today.
Alterations:
I added a teaspoon of crushed dried lemon verbena and half a teaspoon of dried coriander seeds and bumped up the sugar to one cup. Instead of adding fresh citrus rind I used half a cup of the lemon/lime extract I made a month ago (rind of 2 citrus in this amount). This was excellent. Without the fresh rind the mix filtered very quickly. This was speeded up even further by filtering via 2 funnels with coffee filters. Before adding the gin I filtered this again, producing a gloriously clear final product, slightly paler than the first batch.

(Citrus extract: Very finely grated rind of 4 limes and 4 lemons soaked in 2 cups of gin or vodka for a week then strained and filtered with a coffee filter.)

Apart from the beautiful flavour of the citrus extract, the added bonus is that it can be made easily at leisure in bulk when citrus is plentiful, it should keep just about indefinitely and it considerably speeds up the process of making the tonic.

I can't specifically pick out the lemon verbena and coriander in this batch, but it is even better than the first.

Dockhead, if the citrus extract is any indication, your lemongrass extract should be fantastic in this syrup.

Batch #4 with sunlight streaming through:
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Old 23-04-2015, 11:37   #357
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Re: Gin Tankage?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post

By the way, quinine is an alkaloid, and I get some definite drug-like effects from it. Not any kind of druggy rush, but I feel my body responding to it. Whether this is a good thing or not, I do not know.
30 years ago, I used to drink Tonic with quinine with ice. One day after a lot of it, I developed quinine Diathesis and had to lay of tonic for a few years. I have desensitized now but still avoid quinine in tonic if I can. Quinine was only added for malaria 'prevention' in India. Its strong stuff and can make a susceptible person quite ill.

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Old 29-04-2015, 22:15   #358
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Thumbs up Re: Gin Tankage?

If you are coming from UK ta Baltic sea, buy gin for northbound trip from Germany. Then visit in Tallinn, Estonia to buy gin for southbound trip.

This shop deliveres all drinks front of your boat, credit cards accepted, I have used it several times. Next time: May 15th from Helsinki to Tallinn to buy beer and hard alcohol for the summer needs

SuPerAlko spirits and tobacco shop at Viinarannasta.ee - Spirits, alcohol, vodka, liquor, cognac, brandy, whiskey, beer, wines, liqueurs, cigarettes, drinks
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Old 30-04-2015, 00:12   #359
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Re: Gin Tankage?

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By the way, the olives I used are just divine. I put three into my martini .....

SWL
For shame!!!

All reputable martini drinkers know that a zest of lemon, squeezed over the surface of the martini (so the essential oils coat the surface) is the ONLY correct garnish.

Tisk. Tisk.

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Old 30-04-2015, 00:15   #360
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Re: Gin Tankage?

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If you are coming from UK ta Baltic sea, buy gin for northbound trip from Germany. Then visit in Tallinn, Estonia to buy gin for southbound trip.

This shop deliveres all drinks front of your boat, credit cards accepted, I have used it several times. Next time: May 15th from Helsinki to Tallinn to buy beer and hard alcohol for the summer needs

SuPerAlko spirits and tobacco shop at Viinarannasta.ee - Spirits, alcohol, vodka, liquor, cognac, brandy, whiskey, beer, wines, liqueurs, cigarettes, drinks
Hot tip; thanks!

Last year I did this in Vyborg. I never would have thought that you could consider booze in Russia "cheap", but it sure is compared to Scandinavia!
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