This section is from the book "A Treatise On Beverages or The Complete Practical Bottler", by Charles Herman Sulz. Also available from Amazon: A Treatise On Beverages.
It is prepared by mixing the various additional extracts, essences, tinctures or ethers, as indicated for the preparation of extract of ginger ale on a preceding page, with the original ginger extract, and distilling it with or without pumice or glass sand. For an example we append the following Formulae, which also can be varied in proportion and constituents to suit the taste.
Extract of ginger, one pint (or weak tincture, four pints, strong tincture two pints); lemon essence, cone, four drachms; rose essence, cone, two drachms; ginger-oil essence, cone, four drachms; essence of oenanthic ether, two drachms; acetic ether, one drachm.
Tincture of ginger (strong), two pints (or weak tincture, four pints, extract, one pint); tincture cinnamon, two ounces; tincture cardamom, two drachms; tincture cloves, two ounces; acetic ether, one drachm; extract of raisins, one ounce; essence of pineapple (artificial), one drachm; essence of ginger oil, cone, four drachms.
To both the formulas, a dash of tincture of capsicum may be added if desired. Even tincture of ambergris and tincture of musk, as already mentioned, are admitted to these combinations for the purpose of fixing the aroma more permanently, for which these perfumes are noted. We are not able to give definite directions as to the quantities that should be employed of the latter, as it naturally varies with, the strength of these tinctures, the strength of the ginger-ale extract to which it is added, and the proportion which is used of the latter to flavor a certain quantity of syrup. For an approximate calculation, we might say that about two drachms of tincture of ambergris and from 15 to 30 grains of tincture of musk, prepared in such a strength as directed by the Formulas appended in this work, will be the proportion to one pint of ginger-ale extract.
Pour the mixture of these various extracts, essences, etc., into the distilling apparatus heated by steam or over a sand bath, as illustrated in a preceding chapter, and distil until about two-thirds or three-fourths of the liquid are received. The balance draw off and use for the next operation.
A quite general method is to add to the mixture of those various liquids, especially if it looks turbid, some pumice or glass sand, shaking it, then to pour the whole (liquid and powder) into the retort, and to distil. The powder will combine with resinous, etc., matters which might separate, precipitate them, and clarify the liquid within the apparatus.
We call the attention of the carbonator to the necessity of using only the alcoholic extracts and essences when distilling or rectifying is resorted to; the "water-soluble" preparations should never be distilled, as distillation would simply distil of their more volatile ingredients, and separate them from the less volatile, thus concentrating the essence again.
Undoubtedly the distilled or the so-called rectified ginger-ale extracts, if prepared in accordance with the directions given, are quite an excellent preparation. The principal effect of the distillation (whether distilling direct the macerated drugs or the mixture of various essences, etc.) is the combination of all the various flavors to an agreeable harmonious whole. No single flavor is afterwards distinguishable; all are united, combined. To produce this same effect without distillation, the ginger-ale extract has to be prepared in advance and stored for a considerable length of time, when the same harmonious combination should take place and be obtained. These many combined flavors support each other in bringing their agreeable aromas before us, and form by distillation or age a united flavor. We find in all trades where combined flavors are employed, such as the perfumery, liquor, etc., that all combinations of flavors improve by age or distillation. Unfortunately the process of distillation or rectification is not the proper process to pursue in improving the valuable ginger-ale extract. By this distilling method we get decidedly a very pure de-resinized product of very fine aroma, mild, but with the ginger principles left behind it. In directing to prepare ginger in soluble essence we have demonstrated that we want to get rid of some of the resin which causes so much trouble in the preparation of beverages. We want to get rid of the most troublesome part, but not of all. Resin is an acrid principle of the ginger, and we should save as much of it as possible, and try to get as much in solution in the beverage as can be combined with it, and at the same time keep it clear. But this distilling process unfortunately (or, as others take it, fortunately) separates the ginger just from this acrid principle, of which we ought to save. It is a fact that we can strengthen the distillate in ginger aroma, by adding some essence of ginger oil, but the product does not represent what it pretends to do. viz.: to represent the active principles of the drug we seek for.
In regard to the miscibility or solubility with water, we must apply the same treatment to the distilled or rectified preparations as we do to the non-distilled ginger-ale extract. The distillate is highly concentrated, although free from resin, but not quite miscible with water. When therefore the manufacturer sends out his products for "water soluble" they must have been reduced. He sells the distilled, but reduced product, as his "distilled or rectified ginger-ale extract," and it will decidedly yield a bright and clear beverage, the strength depending on the degree of reduction of the distillate, and on the quantity used for flavoring the beverage. However, we can see no necessity for the car-bonator buying or preparing these distilled extracts.
If he will prepare and combine in a proper manner, and in the proper proportions that will suit his customers best, a ginger-ale extract without distillation or rectification, as we indicated on the preceding pages, and if he prepares this home-made extract in advance, and allows ample time for the union and combination of the aromas, and, furthermore, when he makes his preparations "water soluble," as we laid out the directions for, he will have ginger-ale extract, although not so mild as the distilled or rectified one, but stronger in principle and representing more closely the actual properties of the drug. We base this our opinion on practical experiments, in spite of some manufacturers' contrary assertions.
However, we put the advantages and disadvantages of both, the un-distilled and distilled preparations, before our readers, and leave it to themselves to decide their favorite preparation, which will be entirely a matter of individual taste. Yet we have to call our readers' attention to some fraudulent practices in regard to the "distilled or rectified ginger-ale extracts of commerce".The least of them are really distilled or rectified. Not many manufacturers go to that trouble; some extract the drug by percolation, exhaust the residue by steam, and call it "distilled".
We leave it now to the intelligent carbonator to lay out his plan in regard to the manufacture of ginger, whether to use manufactured or home-made, extracted or distilled flavors, and to put up and combine a formula to meet the taste of his customers.