Alcoholic Beverages

  • Thread starter adoado
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  • #1
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Hello all,

I have had trouble preparing Frangelico. For those who have not tasted Frangelico, it's simply a hazelnut liqueur, served on the rocks with ice. Here is my dilemma (and it's relation to organic chemistry):

When I go out and buy it, it's incredible, yet when I made it at home on ice, it's not the same. The only difference is the size of the ice cubes. So this got me wondering, how does the presence of water affect the drink?

I have only studied the basics of organic chemistry, but I came up with a reasoning I was hoping could be discussed and tested against all you organic chemists out there :tongue:

Alcohol has a hydroxy group (OH) which makes it hydrophilic; as such, it is miscible in water. My idea is that the alcohol bonds with the water, effectively 'mixing' the drink. This dilutes the taste of alcohol and makes the drink less thick.

Hence, the ice simply 'thins' the alcohol? So larger ice cubes implies slower release of water, in turn implying the alcohol stays 'thick' (and unpalatable) for longer.

Can anyone validate this idea?

Cheers!
Adrian G.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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The viscosity of the drink definitely affects how it tastes and the overall "harshness" of it. This is why many alcoholic beverages taste so much smoother when cold.

You're also right about the ice cubes: greater surface area, as by crushing, leads to more rapid melting for the same mass of ice.

Now, how this all fits together to affect the taste, I do not know! Your logic is sound, though. Time to design an experiment!
 
  • #3
Borek
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Just remember to design the experiment and rigid procedure BEFORE starting experimenting.

I wonder if temperature of the ice doesn't play a role as well.
 
  • #4
chemisttree
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Water content is known to open up the taste profile of liquors like scotch whiskey so I suppose it's true for liqueurs as well. Try leaving the iced drink on the counter for 5 minutes before serving, pay 6-7 dollars and a little for the tip, have a good-looking neighbor serve it and don't clean up after yourself.

I'm guessing it's going to taste better.

Don't use the ice from your fridge either. It picks up food odors (garlic, onion, unmentionable stuff that should have been thrown out weeks ago, etc...) There aren't any food odors flavoring the ice at your local bar. Buy your ice at the grocery store and get to know that good looking neighbor.
 

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