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Does anyone have any detailed knowledge on the process details for Tuzemak? I know it is made from sugar beets in Czech, and from what I can glean even the "best" brand is caramel colored. But it has a vanilla cream nose, and I wonder if it is oaked at all, details about the wash, etc. Post here or contact me directly, thanks.

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Tuzemak is yet another one of the indiginous Easter European infused liquids. The word itself means "local". it's nickname is "Czech Rum". It got this name because the producers wanted to try to ride the popularity of rum by coloring it to look like a wood matured rum, and then labeled it "rum" although technically it isn't. Yes ... It is made from sugar beets, was traditional fermented with bread yeast in about 4 days.

It was then distilled to around 70-75% ABV. Then a portion was used to make a tincture by adding vanilla beans and anise as the base flavoring, but each producer usually added other spices to differentiate. After sufficient extraction, the flavored portion was filtered and dosed back into the rest until it reached the desired flavor profile. Then it was diluted to drinking strength to between 40 and 45% ABV.

That is all I know, there is little info on this one as the locals drink most of it up! The only time I've had it was while I was there. I tried a number.... they were all cheap... I don't think there is such as a super premium one!

They ranged in flavor from "industrial-solvent to throat scorching hot and astringent. The ones in the middle of the pack were best, about 40-42 %ABV and had a smooth vanilla character, very slight diacetyl followed by an anisey-licorice note. In some I thought I could taste somethings reminiscent of bay leaf, verbena, woodruff, grains of paradise, and in one case cilantro ! (one of the soapy-solventy ones.)

I think the field is wide open to experiment with. Even they don't all make it the same! The base for it is a wash that is handled just like gelatinizing potatoes then converting the starches into fermentable sugars via enzyme action either through adding malt or fungal derived enzymes. It would be as messy and labor intensive as using potatoes as well!

Eric Watson


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