; have you ever tried to use it as an ingredient for your cocktails?

The resin in the most specific use of the term is a hydrocarbon secretion of many plants, particularly coniferous trees. Resins are valued for their chemical properties and associated uses, such as the production of varnishes, adhesives, and food glazing agents. They are also prized as an important source of raw materials for organic synthesis, and as constituents of incense and perfume. Plant resins have a very long history that was documented in ancient Greece by Theophrastus, in ancient Rome by Pliny the Elder, and especially in the resins known as frankincense and myrrh, prized in ancient Egypt. These were highly prized substances and required as incense in some religious rites. 

There are many different types of resins that you can use:

Benzoin

It is a balsamic resin obtained from the bark of several species of trees in the genus Styrax. Benzoin is a common ingredient in incense-making and perfumery because of its sweet vanilla-like aroma. Benzoin is used in cosmetics, veterinary medicine, and scented candles. It is used as a flavoring in alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, baked goods, chewing gum, frozen dairy, gelatines, puddings, and soft candy.

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Liquidambar

Also known as American sweetgum. Hardened sap, or rubber resin, excreted from the wounds of soft gum, can be chewed like chewing gum and has long been used for this purpose in the southern United States. Bitter in taste, aromatic, and natural in temperature.

Tolu Balsam

It is a balsam that originates from South America.  The resin is still used in certain cough syrup formulas. However, its main use in the modern era is in perfumery, where it is valued for its warm, mellow yet somewhat spicy scent. In foods, tolu balsam is used to flavor chewing gum, foods, and beverages.

Mastic (Mastiha)

It is a resin obtained from the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus). When chewed, the resin softens and becomes a bright white and opaque gum. The flavor is bitter at first, but after some chewing, it releases a refreshing flavor like pine and cedar. The mastic is often used as a spice for food. In Greece, mastic is used in liqueurs such as Chios Mastiha. A mastic flavor drink called “Mast” was also recently launched.

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Labdanum

It is a sticky brown resin obtained from the shrubs Cistus ladanifer (western Mediterranean) and Cistus creticus (eastern Mediterranean). It was historically used in herbal medicine and is still used in the preparation of some perfumes and vermouths. Labdanum resinoid has a balsamic, amber, and musky fragrance.

Tips

Resins are very often sticky to the touch. We advise you to put them in the freezer before using them and wait for them to solidify.  Doing this will make them easier to work on, especially if you decide to pound them with a mortar.

If you decide to infuse them in spirits, we recommend slow cooking with roner. Do not worry if the resin will not melt completely inside the vacuum bag. The taste will be released anyway.

Example:

Benzoin Vodka

Mix 700gr of vodka with 70gr of sugar and add 14gr of benzoin. Put everything into a vacuum bag and slow cook at 50°C until the resin is dissolved (for about 2½ hours).

Mastiha Tequila

Mix 700gr of tequila with 7gr of mastiha. Put everything into a vacuum bag and slow cook at 40°C until the resin is dissolved (for about 2 hours).

written by Diego Guazzarotti