10 principles of homemade tinctures – how to make tinctures


When you make homemade tincture alcohol extracts almost completely the active substances contained in herbs and fruits, and also preserves them perfectly. What is important is the power of used alcohol. 

How to make tinctures at home, what ingredients choose, how to sweeten them properly to make sure that they will last for long and be crystal clear? Keep reading 🙂

Preparation of tincture is not difficult, it is enough to take a handful of fruits or herbs, pour alcohol over them and leave them for some time. Once you gain practice and experience, you can modify the recipes by making your own original tinctures.

Just follow those 10 principles and you should be fine!

1. Prepare the fruit you want to make a tincture of. 

Use fresh, good-quality, washed and dried fruit. If you do not drain them thoroughly and then dry them, there will be a lot of water in the tincture. If there is even a small speck of spoilage on the fruit, do not use it, even after cutting it.

Fruits for tinctures

2. Freeze the tart and bitter fruit for a short time. 

When you make tinctures of blackthorn, rowan, juniper or rose – it is worth putting the fruit in the freezer for a few hours. This will improve the taste of the tincture and make it easier to extract.

Frozen fruits

3. Stock up on glass airtight jars with tight closures. 

You will also need fine sieves, coffee filters to filter the infusion (you can use gauze, cotton or linen cloth), bottles with a closure for storage, and beautiful decanters for serving ready-made tinctures.

Jar for tincture

4. Learn the art of seasoning. 

Choose the best quality spices, unground: vanilla sticks, pieces of cinnamon bark, saffron threads, nutmeg and whole ginger root, anise, allspice, bay leaves, peppercorns. Add spices carefully – they emphasize the taste of the fruit, not suppress it.

Seasoning for tincture

5. Be patient, the tincture must gain strength.

In the first stage (it lasts from several days to several weeks), when alcohol extracts valuable compounds from the raw material, it should be stored in a warm but dark place. Later, after filtering and bottling, it is better to keep it cool.

Serving tincture

6. Check that the tincture is perfectly transparent. 

To make it clear, after straining the raw material, you have to pass it several times through paper filters (e.g. for coffee). After each straining, the tincture should rest for several hours. During this time, plant particles will fall to the bottom, which will remain on the filter at the next pouring,

How to filter tincture

7. Don’t drink the tincture right away. 

The secret of the wonderful taste of the tincture is its long aging time – at least 3 months, preferably longer. Tinctures are like wine – the older the better.

How to store tinctures

8. Don’t experiment if you are just starting your adventure with tinctures. 

Follow the recommendations. Use only the ingredients and in the exact amounts indicated in the recipe. When you will have more experience it will be the time for your own ideas 😉

9. Never take shortcuts with sweetening  

Only use sugar syrup, not sugar, to sweeten tincture if required by the recipe. For example using brown sugar can make tinctures less transparent.

10. When water is used in the recipe, do not use distilled water. 

You will make the mistake of believing that the quality of your tincture will be better if you use distilled water. Do not reach for it because it has no biological value. The best solution for making tinctures is spring or mineral water. You can also use boiled tap water if it is good in your location. 

Recommened edequipment – what you may need to have to make such tincture at home

I hope that you have found my article useful. Below I’ve gathered all items that I am using when making my tinctures, some of them, like airtight jars, are necessary, some are just handy, you do not need to have them all to be able to make a good tincture.  

recommended tincture equipment
Tincture equipment examples
  1. Airtight jars.
  2. Mortar for herbs – granite.
  3. Mortar for herbs – stainless steel.
  4. Funnels for filling bottles.
  5. Large bottles, dark glass.
  6. Medium bottles, dark glass.
  7. Small bottles with dropper, dark glass.
  8. Cloth for tincture filtering.
  9. Coffee filters for tincture filtering.
  10. Alcohol meter to check how strong is your vodka/spirit.
  11. Tincture press for better extraction.

    Here you can also find a more detailed post with list of equipment that might be useful.

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Damian from PolishTinctures
Best regards from Kraków!

If you are looking also for other recipes, check out my blog – I have written about almost 100 other tinctures, use the search option below and you might find what you are looking for:

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