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Heat infusions

As mentioned in my previous post, we are opening a restaurant with a Tiki beverage concept [please don't check for grammar mistakes or alike - I really try to keep you in the loop - though haven't got the usual time, to write up a perfect piece].
Due to the fact, that it was revealed not so long time ago, that the concept is changed to Tiki and the a rather busy holiday season, I could not prepare the infusions for Falernum, Allspice Dram and alike.

However I am pretty good in putting 'a' and 'b' together...

There is a version in the internets, which features to blend the ingredients for an allspice dram. Neat and interesting.
Further Dave Arnold's rapid cavitation infusion would be also a way to go.

Now the first concept usually works quite well. However the liquid is a bit cloudy - it is quite difficult to strain the blended pieces of botanical as well.

And also the second concept works - however through rapid cavitations, aromas usually are far lighter [especially when it comes to hard spices].

I could not find a lot about heat infusion... Heat what?
Well - this concept supposed to be the most obvious one [besides of the normal time honored infusion at room temperature]. Guess what a cup of tea is [and even coffee works through the same principle]?
Heat is definitely accelerating infusions - and while I like to keep heat from delicate botanicals like fruit and herbs, heat infusion are perfect for all kind of dried spices!

A cinnamon vodka infusion is dark amber only within 2 hours at 65C - and extremely cinnamon'y. Same applies for basically all other spices.

Now you could question, that if you put a spirit with some spices on the stove, it will evaporate.. and all the expensive and precious alcohol is gone [or at least one part].
Slowly, slowly my friend. We could use the sous vide method!

While spices don't necessary need an exact temperature [I am sure, that at different temperatures, different "volatiles" are extracted at an accelerated rate - though still - it is far less delicate as other things, which you sous vide] - the "bag in a water bath concept" is really great for infusions - nothing can evaporate and the liquid inside will be flows freely at nearly the same temperature in the bag.

Though - who ever tried to vacuum seal alcohol, might have experienced a bad surprise: spillage!
Either way, you used a professional vacuum machine, which pulls a quite hard vacuum, which brings any liquid easily to a boil at room temperature [and boiling liquids usually spill in the machine] - or you have at home a vacuum sealer, which can't process any liquid content in bags.

For the professional environment, you either way take the bible thick instructions of your machine and program a soft vacuum... or the easier way - just stop the vacuum process after a couple of seconds - hence the bag is automatically sealed at low pressure. You might have still a little air inside, but this will be ok - and with every time you are using the machine, the better you get...

At home - you can use the awesome Soup n'Sauce bags. They are made out of quite rugged plastic, you can stand them, even if only liquid is inside. The plastic is made for heating up things in it. The seal is nice and tight. And it is really easy to remove air out of them. win-win-win-win!
I would even prefer them towards a chamber vacuum sealer!

What is the procedure? 

  1. Add the alcohol [rum, vodka, gin etc] into the bag
  2. Add your botanicals [crush them for more surface - but never pulverize, because then it will be very tough to filter the end product]. 
  3. Remove as much air as possible out of the bag. 
  4. Throw the bag into the water bath for 2 to 10 hours [depending on which botanical, the quantity and how concentrated you would like to have your infusion]. 
  5. Take it out [you don't need to rapid chill it - there are no microorganisms like botulinus, which survives alcohol AND heat!].
  6. Strain it [my favorite way is the Buchner funnel - but I am sure, that if you are as insane as Jamie Boudreau you even prefer an expensive wine filter].
  7. Finish / bottle it. 

No - not finish him - finish it!


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