so the recipe came out nicely... but it was a bit unique compared to anything I'd ever done.
Tastes great and here are my observations. Try it and let me know your thoughts.
Again, from earlier posts, here is the recipe and source I used:
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... =11&t=5150
- 2 Oranges, use zest and juice
- 4 cups grain alcohol (my birdwatcher's neutral is 94%ABV)
- 4 cups full cream milk
- 3/4 madagascar vanilla bean
- 4 cups powdered sugar
This yielded three 750mL Jars at a strength of 38% ABV
looking ike this:
So I let it macerate 8 days refridgerated, shaking every day. The flavor was surprisingly EXCELLENT but the consistency was very very bad. I initially tried a coffee filter to separate and it was too fine. Most of the sludge just sat in it after a few moments of dripping and it clogged up. So I swapped the coffee filter out for a single ply of paper towel in my strainer and agitated it. Much better, though still not fast. I had to swap out the paper towel halfway through each jar - meaning I used a new paper towel in the strainer at the beginning of each jar and replaced the clogged paper towel halfway through each jar too. I scraped off the curd collected into another jar before discarding the spent towels.
Here is what I got after filtering two jars with the third unfiltered jar for reference:
As you can see, even though I tried to salvage some of the curd, there was quite a bit of loss due to the filter(s) soaking up liquid and curd. I'd guess 400-500mL volume lost. Not only that, but the separated liqueur was quite cloudy and I now had no idea what the alcoholic proof was and no way to directly measure it. The taste was still of oranges and cream and quite good... but it was STRONG. The drink had noticeable heat in the throat and was quite flammable. I did some dilution testing and arrived at the determination that the newly filtered drink was about 110 proof (remember, it started at about 38% ABV).
To help solve the difficulty filtering problem I decided to let the third jar sit undisturbed in the refrigerator for about 5 days. To my surprise, it settled even more clearly than my original filtration. Even the bottled of filtered liqueur had settled sediment and was cleared. So I decanted both the jar of mixture and the previously filtered liquor and put both the decanted liqueurs though a final coffee filter step. Not only was this much easier than my first filter attempts, but letting the fat/curd settle resulted in much less product loss, too.
(Left) Sediment settling out of filtered liqueur ... (Center) Completely separated after 5 days ... (Right) Easy to Decant:
The liqueur was now quite clarified but still had a great orange-vanilla-cream flavor. Although the high ABV was noticeable which made prolonged sipping less enjoyable. It tasted exactly like a orange-flavored extra strong limoncello. Good flavor and quite stiff... but I'm aiming for a "Panty Dropper" here. The only way to cure the obnoxiously high ABV% was dilution. I figured either water or orange juice was the only reasonable solution. So I first tried to dilute with fresh squeezed OJ down to 40% in it and it came out quite fantastic. It gave the drink a rich orange color. It does not taste like 40% at all but despite actually being about 40% it still tastes way better and less boozy than your typical 50/50 OJ-Vodka screwdriver drink (which is comparatively quite weak).
This Orange Creamsicle rivals some good apple pie in terms of drinkability and smoothness and sneaky-high proof.
Panty Dropper... Achieved.
Undiluted 110 Proof Liqueur on left, Final drink at 40% in center, recovered curd (right).
Conclusion: Next time don't bother with filtering the mixed maceration. Rather just let it settle out before decanting. THEN filter it just once and temper to drinking proof using high quality pulp free OJ. I suppose if you wanted to keep a clarified final liqueur without having to temper to 80% using OJ, you could simply start off by diluting your neutral accordingly at the start - aiming for a maceration around 27.5% ABV