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Cucumber Distillate


Mackenzie

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Hey everyone,

I'm hoping to gather some intel on distilling cucumber. I would like to make a small amount of cucumber distillate to add to an existing gin and/or trial some flavoured vodka recipes. We have a small copper pot still that is suitable for small-volume distillation. Hoping some of you might have some advice! Couple questions:

  • Should all parts of the cucumber get used? ie seeds, skin, and flesh?
  • Have you macerated the cucumber before distillation? If so, do you leave the cucumber in the liquid or remove before distillation?
  • What ABV do you macerate at?

My current plan is to shred the cucumber, macerate overnight in 30% neutral, remove the fruit, and distil. Any advice would be much appreciated!

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I’ve distilled cucumber a few ways. I always macerated in 100 or so proof vodka with the cucumbers good and chopped up. I sometimes even ran them through the blender. I got best results using a low temp rotovap. The rotovap is especially good with flavors that are delicate. You get a less cooked cucumber flavor that is more reminiscent of fresh cucumber. 

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Rotovap has been the best for a number of clients as it allows you to extract some of the more subtle cucumber notes, however others have had success with putting it in a gin basket. 

If you don't mind a slightly "stewed" profile, you can also do a direct boiler charge. 

In terms of what parts to use, once you start scaling up, its typically best to chop/blend entire cucumbers for efficiency in time.

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We use a 50% abv to macerate the cucumbers that have been sliced with a mandolin into thin sections and leave them to soak for 24 hours, then mix this straight into our Cucumber lime seltzer, it is not shelf stable (5 days) then it starts to taste like pickles, and not in the yummy way... but we make it in 20 L kegs and they sell out fast. The trick is scaling up...

would re distilling prevent that "pickle" taste over time I do not know. 

What would be interesting is to make a mash from cucumbers and add sugar and ferment, it may give something useful.

Good luck, please keep us posted

 

cheers

Workpress

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Macerate each part of the cucumber separately, and distill them separately.  It will be obvious which parts you want and don't want in your distillate.  Depending on the varietal, you might want only 1 part, some varietals 2 parts.  One of the  offending culprits is sulfur.  Once you know which parts you want, scale it up.

I don't love cucumber distilled at normal "distilling" temperatures, we distill it under deep vacuum on the rotovap.  I don't want that cucumber seeing temperatures any higher than it would on a warm summer day in the field.  We rotovap with solids.

There is a night and day difference in flavor of the distillate, and especially the aroma.  No stew or pickle here, clean, sweet, fresh cut cucumber.  This also applies to peppers like Serrano and Jalapeño, which also retain it's crisp, bright flavors when distilled this way.

You might find it easiest to distill out a cucumber concentrate first, and then determine how much liquid volume you need to add to get the flavor profile you are looking for, as opposed to trying to figure out how to do a single-pass distillation with other components (which will almost always be a compromise if you do it at normal temp).

 

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