The production of a potable alcoholic spirit from New Zealand dairy proteins, lactose and whey ethanol
With the alcoholic beverage market growing globally, there is always the potential for new and innovative products to gain market share. One of the ways in which alcoholic beverages can be marketed is the geographical exclusivity where a drink, or more generally a food, comes from one location. The aim of the research was to produce an alcoholic spirit derived solely from milk components on the basis that the dairy industry, although not unique to New Zealand, is nonetheless strongly identified with New Zealand. The original aim of the research was to use caseins, whey and lactose to generate flavours through the Maillard reaction that are suitable for flavouring whey ethanol. However, products derived from the reflux of dairy components were all opaque, difficult to work with, and regarded as unattractive for flavouring an alcoholic spirit. Hence amino acids instead of dairy proteins were reacted with lactose to produce suitable Maillard reaction products. Seventeen amino acids screened produced a wide range of colours from colourless to dark brown, and aromas ranging from non-existent to sweet and flowery. Four amino acids that were suitable for preparation of Maillard reaction products that could be used in spirits included alanine, leucine, phenylalanine and valine. A preliminary trial showed that Maillard reaction products when introduced into spirits increased in colour intensity with time. Spirits incorporated with Maillard reaction products of each amino acid were then stored for 0, 5, 10, 15 and 30 weeks. The spirits were assessed by 60 consumers for intensity of aroma with time and overall liking of aroma. Spirits prepared using flavours derived from the Maillard reaction of lactose and leucine, and phenylalanine were liked significantly more than other amino acids.