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  1. #1
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    The Fake Whiskey Challenge

    Here is something I have been meaning to try and I'll make it an invitation to the group to try it along with me. I want to develop a credible faux bourbon from ingredients that are easily obtained, and by that I mean obtained in any supermarket, not at a home brew store. I'm thinking of things such as simple syrup, vanilla, caramel, liquid smoke and I don't know what else. You start from a base of vodka. Whatever you create, you have to be able to replicate it. There has to be a recipe anyone can make. Then we share them, make them, try them, and use that knowledge to improve our own.

    It will be like a Wikipedia of fake bourbon recipes.

    The point? To punk Jim Murray, of course.

    This is no stupider than a lot of my other ideas.

  2. #2
    Connoisseur
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    Re: The Fake Whiskey Challenge

    No homebrew store? So oak cubes are out, huh? Hmmm...I like this idea. Count me in.

    Regards,

  3. #3
    Bourbonian of the Year 2002 and Guru
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    Re: The Fake Whiskey Challenge

    No actual wood, not actual whiskey, no pre-made "whiskey essense." We're looking for 100% artificial ingredients.

  4. #4
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    Re: The Fake Whiskey Challenge

    Well, this isn't available at a grocery store, but it's similar in concept to liquid smoke, and I would think it would be useful in this sort of project: http://www.stompthemgrapes.com/Oak_O...k_Extract.html

    Perhaps there's an easy way to get tannins from white grape skins w/o getting too much color or grape/wine taste?
    -Dan

    Who stole the cork from my breakfast?

  5. #5
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: The Fake Whiskey Challenge

    This has been done before (in the 1800's), see the first few recipes at http://www.pre-pro.com/recipe.htm

    If you scroll down, recipes are given for rye oil and bourbon oil (they're based on fusel oils). These would not meet the challenge test which stipulates no essences, but I mention them for their historical interest.

    The recipe which uses rum, prune juice, the St. John's stuff (which is carob) sounds promising.

    Of course this is just to add to the discussion, and I too am interested in what people might come up with. Tip: consider using maple syrup, which has a flavor akin to some of the elements of a good bourbon - and it comes from a tree. In fact Grade No. 5, made with maple syrup as the syrup element, might come pretty close to some bourbons.

    Gary
    Last edited by Gillman; 08-16-2008 at 08:20.

  6. #6
    Bourbonian of the Year 2011
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    Re: The Fake Whiskey Challenge

    Corn syrup however might be better, since it would impart some of the corn taste typical of most bourbons. Or maybe use both that and maple syrup for the sweetening element.

    Gary

  7. #7
    Connoisseur
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    Re: The Fake Whiskey Challenge

    I've been thinking about this all day.

    Yes, Gary, I think corn and maple syrup in concert for the sweetening would be great. Other sugar syrups such as molasses, sorghum, and demerara syrup could serve a purpose as well, since the sweetness of bourbon is so complex and can incorporate all of these elements. I think date sugar isn't a bad idea, either, but we're talking minute quantities of all of the above.

    Dried fruit seems like a good way to add cherry, raisin, plum, and apricot flavors without adding juice or nectar, and the infusion of these flavors would probably be more subtle than that from whole fruit or juice. I also seem to recall a post by Chuck about picking up tamarind in Beam black: tamarind paste is very complex in flavor and might help meld the fruit and sugar notes.

    I think the barrel wood flavor remains the toughest part. Putting some burnt sugar in would help give the impression of char, and vanilla helps give the impression of oak, of course, but I'm not sure if liquid smoke provides the right taste: it smells like the wood used to make it, so I guess if you bought some not-too-flavorful chips for smoking, say applewood, and made your own liquid smoke, you'd be getting closer, but it might be too smoky.

    Dan, the oak essence and pure grape tannin - no grape flavor, just tannin - are available at homebrew stores, but these would probably both be out too since they're not artificial or grocery store ingredients.

    One final thought: corn oil might help with mouthfeel and flavor, in tiny quantities, if we had a way to keep it in suspension with the liquid.

    I hope to have some time to play with this in the next couple of weeks. We've got a baby due in September, so it'll be some time after that before I can try anything else.

    Edit: Ooh, brainstorm, what about marshmallows charred over a flame? You'd get a whiff of smoke, sweetness, and char all in one, and you could let those infuse in the mixture...

    Also, I think corn roasted in its husk might be an interesting addition, the husk adding the sometimes grassy element of especially young whiskey and the corn providing a grainy corn counterpart to the corn syrup character. Alternatively, a handful of crushed Post Toasties corn flakes might do the job just as well.
    Regards,
    Last edited by TBoner; 08-16-2008 at 12:52.

  8. #8

    Re: The Fake Whiskey Challenge

    Way to go, Chuck. Though y'all may never know what I come up with, you may have prompted my first-ever purchase of vodka (though it may come in the form of 190-proof Everclear, or the like). Oh, wait -- I may still have some GNS that Gary left with me after Doug's first 'do' in January. Yea, I won't have to buy any!
    Last edited by TNbourbon; 08-16-2008 at 14:29.

  9. #9
    Disciple
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    Re: The Fake Whiskey Challenge

    Interesting ideas. I'm guessing that whatever we come up with will be far more expensive than actual bourbon.

    How is liquid smoke not artificial?
    -Dan

    Who stole the cork from my breakfast?

  10. #10
    Connoisseur
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    Re: The Fake Whiskey Challenge

    It's real smoke and water vapor collected in condensed form, distillate of charcoal in a sense. It is artificial in a sense, I guess, but there's no requirement for or prohibition against artificiality, only a requirement that the impression of whiskey be artificial (i.e., not made from bourbon distillate and/or oak). Liquid smoke is definitely usable in this challenge, since you can get it most anywhere, including may gas stations.

    Regards,

 

 

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