Thursday, October 15, 2015

Adventures in Alternative Soap Making Liquids: Whiskey Soap!

Whiskey in soap!? Yup! I'm a big fan of sprucing up regular soap with liquids other than just distilled water. While I keep my soaps primarily vegan, I still manage to spice things up from time to time using liquids in my soap like coffeehandmade almond milkrose wateroat milk, and even beer.

Recently I had the opportunity to sell my soap at a fundraising event that was held inside of a local winery and a whiskey distillery. My table setup was inside the distillery, 2bar Spirits. I had the opportunity to visit with the owner, Nathan Kaiser about his distillery and the process. It turns out that 2bar is the only distillery in Seattle that makes its own bourbon from start to finish right here!

Selling soap at 2bar Spirits in Seattle.

Boiling down the bourbon into a syrup to
remove the alcohol. 
So what does this have to do with making soap, you ask? We got to talking about soap making, and Nathan was kind of enough to give me some of the char from the whiskey distillation process. I figured if I could make soap with activated charcoal, why not try whiskey char?

First, I boiled the whiskey down to a syrup to remove the alcohol. I know, it's a horrible thing to do to such tasty bourbon. I only used the bourbon for 20% of my soap making liquids, and did a small test batch, so rest assured that only a small amount of bourbon was harmed in the soap making process.

I ground up the whiskey "char"
by hand with a mortar and pestle.
I added the bourbon to my soap batter, half expecting what we soap makers like to call "soap on a stick." It's a fun little euphemism for when an additive to your soap batter thickens it to a point that you can no longer stir it and it clings to your spoon or stick blender. Thus, soap on a stick. We hate it when that happens!

I was pleasantly surprised that my soap stayed fluid, so I was able to implement the next part of my plan. I had already ground up some of the whiskey "char" in my trusty mortar and pestle. The char was still a little bit wet because it was from a fresh batch, so I don't think that I ground it up as finely as I would have liked. I added the ground char to about half of the batch of whiskey soap, and voila! 

Since this was such a small test batch, I only made about two bars of each soap iteration. Now I'm anxiously awaiting a good cure (about four weeks) so that I can try it out!

Bourbon Soap!

As for other alternative liquids to try in soap, I really want to try wine next. It's been reported to have some benefits to the skin, although how much it benefits the skin in skincare products is really debatable. I also have plans to try out some coconut milk in my soaps. What alternative liquids would you try in a skincare product?

P.S. If you're a bourbon aficionado, I highly recommend 2bar. These days I'm a lightweight, but before I had kids, I used to drink Manhattans like they were soda, so trust me when I say that I know a good bourbon when I taste one!


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