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Fruit flavoured Gin

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We are looking to produce a fruit flavoured gin for the summer.  I am planning on using the compound method to produce a strawberry flavoured gin and don't mind picking up a bit of a pink colour.  Wondering if there are any tips regarding producing this type of gin - filtration requirements, stability of the colour and flavours, sweetening?

Thanks for your help

 

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@Ant  Care must be given to stabilize fruit color. The shade of lovely pink from the strawberry will likely degrade to an ugly shade of yellowish brown rather quickly

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Thanks Mr_Whiskey,  how am I best to stabilize the color?  I have the ability to protect from oxidation during storage and bottling but not sure if there is any other options.

 

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Yeah, that's a sticky wicket.  Stabilization of natural colors is a tough problem without simple solution.  This isn't just in distilled beverages, this is across all food and beverage products.  Find a simple solution to make natural colors as true, bright, and lasting as artificial,  and you'd be a billionaire.

The red in strawberries is because of a class of chemicals called anthocyanins, attached a paper that has good background with some strategies on how to extend shelf-life.

Cortez_et_al-2017-Comprehensive_Reviews_in_Food_Science_and_Food_Safety.pdf

Probably the easiest is going to be ensuring absolutely minimal oxygen exposure, which is going to require you to purge tanks and bottles with CO2 or Nitrogen.  Eliminate all exposure to light.  Store as cool as possible.  Use small amounts of Citric or Lactic acid to drop pH and enhance stability.  EDTA as well, but now you are getting into the realm of needing a food scientist to help develop a protocol.

I've heard red is particularly challenging, since it's so unstable and easily goes from pleasing red to off-putting brown in just a few shades.  Alcohol does nothing to preserve the color.  Cochineal/Carmine used to be the go-to natural red, but even that's got a negative connotation these days (apparently people don't like to eat bugs).  If you've ever eaten a packaged food product with red strawberry puree in it (think strawberry yogurt), you've eaten strawberry puree that used carmine to enhance the color and provide longer-term color stability.  Starbucks strawberry frappucino?  For a long time it was carmine - until people flipped out.  I'd rather eat bugs than artificial red dye, but that's just me.

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If you *really* want pink.  Consider vapor distilling the strawberry and use a stable commercial carmine for coloring (with label disclosure).  Color is an important part of the experience and enjoyment of eating and drinking.  You can control the color to get exactly what you want, and will better batch consistency.  You would be using all natural products to do it.  This isn't any less artful or craft, in fact I would argue it's even more so.  It'll yield a better product, with a better perception and experience of the product, with better long-term stability, and happier customers.

Why? It's probably going to be easy for you to keep it red on the store shelf, but it's going to go brown in the liquor cabinet at home.  I don't know about you, but I tend to keep bottles around a while.  A consumer that buys a premium product only to find it's gone brown?  Sorry that's not appealing, it's "gross" and it "went bad".  Probably not going to be a repeat buyer.  It's one thing to be able to sell it out of your tasting room, and explain to the customer that the product contains no natural color stabilizers, needs to be kept cool and dark, and consumed as quickly as is reasonable, but you have zero control once that product leaves your hand.  I wouldn't want someone judging me based on a muck-water brown spirit in a bottle, because someone left it in a hot car in the sun for a week.

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