Cocktails & Spirits 16

Vodka vs. Everclear infusions: the science of dilution

Selectra | Sep 6, 201009:04 PM

I have been puzzling over the arguments between making infusions with vodka and with Everclear.
One argument is that alcohol is a better solvent for some flavours, so the higher concentration of alcohol in Everclear extracts more of these flavours. Another argument is based on the idea that flavours are carried along with water that is osmosing into the alcohol from whatever you are steeping (www.guntheranderson.com). I don't have the background to know which, if either, of these ideas is correct.

One aspect which I haven't seen anyone discuss yet is the impact of dilution. In order to make a liqueur of a given strength (say 20%), from an alcohol base that is 40%, you halve the concentration of both alcohol (good) and flavour (bad). If you make the same liqueur from an alcohol base that is 80% (for easy math) you quarter the concentration of the alcohol (good) and the flavour (even worse).

Are the infusions from Everclear really so much stronger that even after 2-2.5 times as much dilution they still have more flavour than a vodka infusion?


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