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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Natural food dye

Does anybody have any clever ideas on how to color a Campari/Aperol-ish liqueur red without resorting to artificial food coloring? I've tried beet dyes, but the chemical in beets that cause the colors are very sensitive to changes in pH and temperature, so I end up with a snot colored liqueur in the end. Carmine is made from beetles, and my partner is a vegetarian, so that's out. What's left? I don't want to abandon the product because I can't get the color right.


Reply:

Sensient colors and Roha are basic in natural colorants. The challenges are stability/solubility in ethanol as well as regulatory status. You may also try Sethness Caramels. They have reddish caramels and are very familiar with TTB regulations.


Reply:

Hibiscus flowers? They have a brilliant deep red/purplish color. If you were to do a super short maceration with them (5-10 minutes) using an infusion bag you could probably impart some lighter red color without drastically affecting the taste of your liqueur. I can suggest some suppliers if you want?


Reply:

Sam,

It took me forever to get back to you. Hibiscus has been working great, although our test batch is only a month in. Thanks for the great suggestion!


Reply:

Hibiscus is beautiful. But it is not stable when exposed to sunlight or heat. It will fade to light orange over time. But if you don't need long color-fastness, it is a good choice. But it is not flavor-free. You will get a strong hibiscus flavor (which could be desirable) with deep coloring. Traditionally used for absinthe rouge.


Reply:

Sensient colors and Roha are basic in natural colorants. The challenges are stability/solubility in ethanol as well as regulatory status. You may also try Sethness Caramels. They have reddish caramels and are very familiar with TTB regulations.