Development of a novel alcoholic spirit from the New Zealand native plant Cordyline australis
The main objective of this study was to systematically research the variations in the production process of a tequila-like spirit from Cordyline australis (ti kouka) stem. The potential future outcome is the commercial production of a tequila-like with a geographical distinctiveness arising from the fact that ti kouka is a New Zealand native plant in the same way the agave lily, from which tequila is prepared, is a native of Mexico. The two plants are botanically closely related. The production option in this research was a conventional fermentation of added fructose in the presence of comminuted stem, followed by distillation. First, batch fermentations with fructose at 150 g L-1 were done to evaluate the technological potential of Cordyline australis as fermentation juice. Next, reflux of Cordyline australis stem in fructose model system was used to study the resulting Maillard reaction products by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Finally, the chemical properties of the final spirit were be profiled by solid-phase microextraction-gas chromatography- mass spectrometry (SPME-GC-MS) and gas chromatography flame ionization detector (GC-FID) compared with four commercial spirit products to show similarities and differences. A distinctive spirit was produced with similarities to tequila.