And the Liquid Blending Process Used to Make Flavored Spirits
For a long time, those that enjoyed distilled spirits had a relatively small list of variations: whiskey (bourbon, scotch), vodka, rum, gin, tequila, etc. Yes, there were hundreds – if not thousands – of mixed drinks and cocktails that could be made from them, but each type of distilled spirit shared a common, recognizable flavor profile from brand to brand because of the common ingredients from which they were made. Unique, often subtle flavors could be introduced via aging processes.
This landscape existed for many, many years until about 2-3 decades ago. Then a disruptive force hit the distilled spirits market – added flavoring. Unlike aging processes, added flavorings are separate ingredients that are blended into finished spirits. Added flavors are usually much more pronounced in the final product than flavors produced by aging.
I recall the first wave of flavored spirits consisting mainly of vodkas, and there seemed to be relatively few options in the beginning. However, the popularity of flavored spirits got a major boost when Absolut Citron, a lemon-flavored vodka, was used in the Cosmopolitan. The “Cosmo” became THE mixed drink of the 1990’s.
An explosion of flavored spirits soon followed, and you can now find a dizzying array of flavors blended into distilled spirits of all kinds. Flavored vodkas are the most common (smoked salmon vodka anyone?), but you can now also find coconut tequila and chocolate bourbon.
Flavored bourbons are especially relevant with the Kentucky Derby fast approaching (May 7th). However, while the Mint Julep is the official cocktail of “The Run for the Roses,” traditional recipes do not use flavored bourbon. They consist of straight bourbon, simple syrup and mint.
Some may say its blasphemous to drink anything on Derby Day other than a Mint Julep, but if you’re hosting or attending a Kentucky Derby party, maybe it’s time to try something a little different by using a flavored bourbon in your Mint Julep. If you’re especially daring, you may even consider a flavored bourbon concoction other than a Mint Julep.
Interested in trying a cocktail with flavored bourbon at your Kentucky Derrby party? Here three of our favorite flavored bourbon cocktail recipes that you may want to consider for your Derby Day activities. They’re followed by an overview of the typical liquid blending process distillers use to make flavored bourbons (ProQuip industrial agitators are used by several distillers in their blending process).
3 Flavored Bourbon Cocktail Recipes for Your Kentucky Derby Party
Maple Mint Julep
- 2 oz. Maple Bourbon (available from several brands)
- 1 oz. Simple Syrup
- 8-12 Mint Leaves
Muddle the mint and simple syrup in the bottom of a Mint Julep cup. Fill the cup with crushed ice and add the bourbon. Stir the drink until a frost forms on the outside of the cup. Top with crushed ice, garnish with mint sprig.
Peach Bourbon Iced Tea
- 2 oz. Peach Bourbon (available from several brands)
- Unsweetened Iced Tea
- Sugar (if needed)
Fill glass with ice. Pour peach bourbon over ice. Fill remaining glass with tea and stir. Add sugar to taste.
Blackberry Bourbon Lemonade
- 2 oz. Blackberry Bourbon (available from several brands; other berry flavored bourbons can be substituted)
- Fresh Blackberries
Fill glass with ice. Pour blackberry bourbon over ice. Fill remaining glass with lemonade and stir. Garnish with several fresh blackberries.
The Liquid Blending Process for Flavored Bourbons
Distillers typically use a liquid blending process to make flavored bourbons. The process includes adding the flavor to a straight bourbon that has already been distilled and aged. Both are at room temperature, as is the mixing tank and surrounding environment.
The typical liquid blending process begins by adding the bourbon to the mixing tank. The agitator is started and brought up to full speed. The flavor is then added via hose or container through the top of the tank. Blending time varies based on the size of the mixing tank but is typically only several minutes. Once thoroughly mixed, the blended bourbon heads to the bottling line.
Typical mixing parameters for making flavored bourbons (and other flavored spirits) can be found in the table below.
|Number of Impellers
|Number of Impeller Blades
|Agitator Mounting Position
For More Information
For more information on the Kentucky Derby and flavored bourbons, we recommend a Google search (our expertise is tank agitators). If you need help with your liquid blending application, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 330-468-1850.
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