While wine and beer may seem intuitive additions to many recipes, including distilled spirits may seem less so. Yet this can be a highly effective way of elevating flavor – this is due to alcohol’s ability to bridge between fat- and water-soluble molecules, allowing aromatic compounds in one to escape through into another.
Distilled spirit contains numerous aroma compounds, and their concentration can be measured using headspace solid phase microextraction (HS-SPME). This extraction technique offers versatility; you can compare its effectiveness against standard extraction methods for various alcoholic beverages like liquid-liquid extraction (LLE), solid phase extraction (LST) or stir bar/headspace sorptive extraction (SBSE/HSSE).
Aromatic compounds found in spirits are volatile substances that evaporate at low temperatures, and our nose can detect these volatile aromatics at parts-per-billion levels. Because HS-SPME can capture these molecules in pure alcohol/water mixtures, this tool provides a great method of characterisation.
Distillers of gin and whiskey typically add ingredients with strong aromatic properties to their base spirits to enhance flavor before the distillation process, giving customers the ability to customize their drinks to their own specifications.
Liqueurs are typically made with neutral spirits that have been heavily flavored with herbs, fruits, or spices to give a uniquely distinct and identifiable taste profile.