Blending Liqueurs and Refining Recipes
The Complexity of Liqueurs
When it comes down to it, Liqueurs can be complex flavor medium. They require the patience of beer brewing with the precision of building cocktails. With liqueurs like amaro using a plethora of ingredients all playing with their own set of rules we’re not going to nail a recipe the first time. We don’t have an IBU equivalent for gentian root and degrees lovibond fail us in determining color when we use ingredients like cochineal or butterfly pea flowers.
Blending for Perfection
In order to refine a recipe, we can and will make batch after batch. Rather than going into it blindly, we can use the tools around us to refine our liqueurs and our ideas.
I’ve recently been working on heavily fruited amaro recipes, one of which is a strawberry aperitivo. While the liqueur turned out drinkable, it was overall a little sweet for my tastes. my options for correcting this for my next batch are to add less sugar, or to increase the bitterness to balance out the overall flavor.
As a hardcore liqueur maker I have a plethora of finished liqueurs at my disposal that can be used for blending purposes. to correct my strawberry aperitivo recipe I decided to blend it with my Open Source Base Amaro recipe.
To find a blend that works for my tastes I worked in small increments. I generally will blend a few samples with a total weight of 10 grams. I will then evaluate the blends from least to most intense to prevent palate fatigue.
After deciding on the liqueur blend I want to go forward with, it’s as easy as scaling up my proportions, But what about for my next batch of liqueur?
The power of recipe standardization is not to be underestimated. By keeping a standard build within my recipes (starting out with 700 g of base spirit at 50% ABV) makes combining my recipes for my next batch much easier. (as well as good note taking!)
For the final blend I went with 90% of my Strawberry Liqueur and 10% of my Open Source Base Amaro. Since both recipe have the same standard of 700 g base spirit and 50 ABV, it’s as simple as combining my recipes based on this 9:1 ratio.
By being very precise with our recipes and blending techniques we are able to refine complex recipes very quickly. We have a branching off point for our next batch with very precise ingredients and sugar, water, and alcohol ratios.
for extra precision with the alcohol percentage of a blend we are able to use the following equation.
(ABV1 x Blend Percentage 1) + (ABV2 x Blend Percentage 2) = Final ABV
So for the example with this recipe we’re dealing with a Strawberry Liqueur with a 24% ABV representing 90% of the total blend, and a Base Amaro with 30% ABV representing 10% of the total blend. Plugging these units into our formula should look like:
(24 x 90%) + (30 x 10%) = 24.6% total ABV
So go on and get out there and play around! Let yourself go wild with your recipes and refine with precision!