How are food flavors made?

  • #1
I'm curious, in many flavors used in food (such as vanilla extract and other "natural flavors"), ethanol is used as a solvent to extract the flavors. Is this ethanol synthetic ethanol, or do companies normally get it from the wine/beer industries?
  • #2
Whichever is cheaper.
  • #3
Curious question, because I understand the US has a ban on synthetic ethanol for alcoholic beverages. I never understood if that was to protect the industry, or to protect us from all becoming lushes on cheap booze.
If you are seeking to extract something for it's smell, you probably won't desire the additional beer / wine smell. So, an unmixed / uncut distillate would probably be a good choice. Ever-clear or a well made uncut moonshine comes to mind. Sometimes a third party is useful for collecting the desired fragrance and transporting it to the alcohol. For example, using oils to strip the essence from flowers, and later, pouring the oil over alcohol and allowing it to migrate.

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