Figs

Figs, and their leaves

After Blanch & Shock's recent forays into making tinctures, in particular a wicked fig leaf tincture made by Mike Knowlden, I picked some leaves from a tree in my brother’s garden in Gloucestershire. Having recently bemoaned the power of the British climate to fully ripen figs, I was surprised and amazed to find hundreds of the fruits, fully ripe, of which some were probably the best I have ever tasted. Since they wouldn’t travel well, I ate as many as I could, and contented myself with a bag full of leaves. Since the freakily sunny weather is over, and I am statistically unlikely to find as good a fig from this tree again, I will concentrate on using leaves for the incredible aroma they possess.

Lavender Tincture

Lavender 
 I left four sprigs of lavender in rectified spirit (79% ABV) for five days. Somehow the purple flowers resulted in a bright green infusion and then turned brown. It smells strongly of lavender, despite looking like something completely different

Lavender

I left four sprigs of lavender in rectified spirit (79% ABV) for five days. Somehow the purple flowers resulted in a bright green infusion and then turned brown. It smells strongly of lavender, despite looking like something completely different

Juniper wood, brought back from Denmark, but foraged in Sweden. I have been bewitched by it’s aroma and have been experimenting with various methods to manifest it’s nuances in an infusion. Being a member of the   Cupressoideae      subfamily of the Cyprus, and thus related to cedar, it is reminiscent of both cigar boxes and saunas, but sweet, and nothing like the berries. I have no love for juniper berries, though I love gin. I’m not sure why this should be, but I spent many hours peeling them with the tip of a tiny curved knife when stageing in Denmark last year, and can’t help but think it has something to do with it.  
  On the left, an infusion in some pretty intense Polish grain vinegar (10% acidity). It has been infusing for around two months, and has captured a lot of the subtleties I was hoping for. It is incredibly strong vinegar, and I am hoping that ageing will soften it somewhat.  
  On the right, an infusion of wood in (Polish, again) rectified spirit (79% ABV). It is two weeks old, and the alcohol has drawn a lot of pigment from the wood (it is more pink when not being photographed under strip lights) Although this suggests promise, it is very vodka-y and to lean over the open jar to smell it is still something of a trial. Again, some ageing seems necessary.

Juniper wood, brought back from Denmark, but foraged in Sweden. I have been bewitched by it’s aroma and have been experimenting with various methods to manifest it’s nuances in an infusion. Being a member of the Cupressoideae  subfamily of the Cyprus, and thus related to cedar, it is reminiscent of both cigar boxes and saunas, but sweet, and nothing like the berries. I have no love for juniper berries, though I love gin. I’m not sure why this should be, but I spent many hours peeling them with the tip of a tiny curved knife when stageing in Denmark last year, and can’t help but think it has something to do with it.

On the left, an infusion in some pretty intense Polish grain vinegar (10% acidity). It has been infusing for around two months, and has captured a lot of the subtleties I was hoping for. It is incredibly strong vinegar, and I am hoping that ageing will soften it somewhat.

On the right, an infusion of wood in (Polish, again) rectified spirit (79% ABV). It is two weeks old, and the alcohol has drawn a lot of pigment from the wood (it is more pink when not being photographed under strip lights) Although this suggests promise, it is very vodka-y and to lean over the open jar to smell it is still something of a trial. Again, some ageing seems necessary.

Juniper wood 
 Gathered by   Tage R  ø    nne , a Danish woodsman. I have a small amount left, of which this batch I am going to roast (30 mins, 120C) and leave to infuse in 79% alcohol to make a tincture.  
  
  
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Juniper wood

Gathered by Tage Rønne, a Danish woodsman. I have a small amount left, of which this batch I am going to roast (30 mins, 120C) and leave to infuse in 79% alcohol to make a tincture.