Let's talk about tinctures...
Tinctures have myriad forms, but the scope I will be discussing will be for the purpose of
infusing alcohol for fun mixed drinks. I heard this term as an ingredient to a beverage and had no idea what it was, so as with most
things I don't know, I decided to investigate. Plus it just sounds like some "old timey" coolness to me!
In terms of pharmacology, a tincture is a process by which medicine is extracted from a plant in an alcohol solution. As for a mixed drink,
a tincture seems to be an ever-growing, highfalutin (and natural) flavoring for mixed drinks.
This whole process makes me think of that hilarious Smirnoff commercial with Joel McHale and the fussy bartender, I die every time because
that pretentiousness is so true and prevalent, but it's funny and I support it because I like yummy things.
The tincture process that I first heard of was done in a whipping siphon, but in my research I found that
you may also do a maceration type method where you let your ingredients steep anywhere from 3 weeks to 6 months.
I needed another excuse to personally own a whipping siphon, aside from
fresh whipped cream, so I decided to go with this method and perhaps the fact that it only takes around 2 minutes.
At a high-level, the siphon method forces a high-proof alcohol into the cells of your natural ingredient with the N20 cartridges
and then when you release the gas from the canister the alcohol is also released from the ingredient, acting much like a sponge.
And you are left with an alcohol flavored with whatever herbs or other natural ingredients that you added.
We don't do a lot of mixed drinks, we are more of a beer and wine house, so I decided to go with something basic and chose mint as
we also conveniently had some left in our garden. There seem to be many different techniques, but the most common approaches I found were as follows...
1 cup of a high-proof grain alcohol like Everclear or Bacardi 151 (and yes a little tincture goes a long way so don't be scared)
Herb, citrus or spice (I went with 1 cup of mint, but it will be a personal preference and I am sure the more the merrier)
Other ideas I had were ginger and vanilla bean to start simple.
1 Whipping Siphon
2 N2O Canisters
Add 1 cup of alcohol to the siphon.
Tear up herbs or dice other ingredients and also add to siphon.
Secure siphon lid and activate N2O canister and gently swirl.
Wait one minute.
Remove first N2O canister and add the second (do not remove siphon lid).
Activate second N2O canister and shake vigorously for 1 minute.
After one minute, leave siphon standing upright in sink and release gas.
*Some people suggested positioning a glass over the nozzle and another under the angled glass incase liquid escaped,
but with 1 cup it did not occur.
Strain liquid through a fine stainer, like a tea strainer into storage bottle
I plan to create a minty beverage this weekend, so I will share my concoction then!