e Liquid Flavour pairing

e Liquid Flavour Pairing - Getting Creative

March, 2015 – Updated April 2018

Experimenting and blending complementary flavours, whether they be e liquids or concentrated flavours for DIY, is for me the most enjoyable aspect of vaping. Well, aside from vaping that is. It’s the creativity I love, and quite frankly many vapers feel the same.  

Sailing into Naples, Italy, was a life-changing experience for me. The images, aromas and cultural impact still linger and perhaps always will. Little did I realise that this would ultimately alter the course of my life. Over the past 30 years, I’ve enjoyed a passionate relationship with both foods and wines, and have worked in both industries. At 12, my Mother sent me to my first cooking school, so it’s kind of in my blood.

“Food glorious food I say”.

To be a good cook, chef or baker, requires a 50/50 balance of technical and creative skills. Making e liquids is very similar. There certainly is a correlation to foods, wine and beverages.

Surfing the net for recipes is easy, but why not put your creative mind to work and see what’s possible. There’s a science to how we perceive flavour and taste, however, focusing on pairings and awakening our creative side can bring interesting and satisfying discoveries.

What’s the difference between Taste and Flavour? Learning the difference will make you better at cooking and yes, mixing e juice too.

  • Taste refers to the senses inside our mouth and tongue- Any of the 6 sensed characteristics: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, umami and fat
  • Aroma occurs inside our nose and includes aspects relating to our sense of smell
  • Flavour is when taste and aroma converge- The combination of compounds and aromas from natural ingredients – Raspberry, Vanilla, Basil, etc.

These videos are from The Big Think YouTube Channel. 

The Pairing of Flavours

The science of food flavouring is fascinating. Did you know that it takes –

  • 300 compounds to create food with the flavour of a ripe strawberry?
  • 400 odd volatiles to contribute to the aroma of tomatoes!
  • The chemical ethyl butyrate is one of 30 compounds that are typically found in orange juice

When trying to simulate the taste of chocolate, for example, flavorists will use substances that individually taste and smell like potato chips, cooked meat, peaches, raw beef fat, cooked cabbage, human sweat, dirt and other distinctly un-chocolate-like aromas. In fact, in some cases, it can get quite weird.

Certain strawberry and vanilla flavours are derived from the glands found in a beaver’s backside. Oh, I’m not sure I wanted to know that! And here I thought the secret to good food/flavour was utilising fresh natural ingredients. Silly me.

A list of pairings

I saw on the ECF forum and thought it would be useful.

Allspice pairs well with: apples, beets, cabbage, caramel, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, coriander, ginger, juniper, mace, mustard, nuts, nutmeg, onions, pears, pumpkin, root vegetables, yams.

Almond pairs well with: apple, apricot, banana, caramel, cherry, coffee, fig, honey, orange, peach, pear, plum

Anise pairs well with: apples, beets, caramel, carrots, chocolate, citrus, cinnamon, coconut, coriander, cranberry, fennel, figs, fish, garlic, peaches, pomegranates, pumpkin

Apple pairs well with: caramel, cardamom, chestnut, cinnamon, cranberry, currant, ginger, hazelnut, mango, maple, rosemary, walnut

Apricot pairs well with: almond, black pepper, caramel, cardamom, ginger, hazelnut, honey, orange, peach, vanilla, plum

Asian Pear pairs well with: almond, apple, black pepper, cinnamon, ginger, honey, macadamia, nutmeg, raisin, vanilla

Banana pairs well with: caramel, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, ginger, hazelnut, honey, mango, molasses, papaya

Blackberry pairs well with: apricot, black pepper, cinnamon, citrus, hazelnut, lemon, other berries, peach, plum

Blood Orange pairs well with: almond, cardamom, chocolate, cinnamon, clove, fig, ginger, honey, other citrus

Blueberry pairs well with: other berries, cardamom, mango, lemon, hazelnut, ginger, fig, lavender, other citrus

Butternut Squash pairs well with: sage and rosemary, either of which can be used fresh or in dried form. The warm “pie spices” of nutmeg and ginger are a good match for butternut squash, both underlining and balancing its sweetness. For a savoury approach, consider cumin. Chillies provide sweet-and-spicy flavor combination. The naturally sweet taste of butternut squash is enhanced when paired with fruit, such as fresh and dried apples, fresh pear, orange juice and dried cranberries.

Cardamom pairs well with: apples, bananas, beans, caramel, citrus fruit, coconut, ice creams, nuts, mango, allspice, almond, cardamom, chili, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin, curry, dates, fennel seed, ginger, mustard, paprika, pears, pepper, star anise, turmeric, saffron

Cherry pairs well with: apricot, black pepper, chocolate, citrus, nectarine, peach, plum, vanilla

Chestnut pairs well with: apple, caramel, chocolate, coffee, pear, vanilla

Chocolate pairs well with: oranges, nuts, Allspice, almond, aniseed, cinnamon, clove, curry leaf, fennel seed, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, mint, nutmeg, onion, vanilla

Cinnamon pairs well with: allspice, apples, bananas, cantaloupe, caraway, cardamom, clove, cacao, chilies, caramel, cauliflower, chocolate, corn, curries, coffee, coriander, cranberry, cumin, dates, figs, ginger, mint, nutmeg, grapes, oranges, peaches, pears, winter squash, star anise, sun-dried tomatoes, tamarind, turmeric, vanilla

Clove pairs well with: allspice, apples, beets, bay leaf, cakes, cardamom, cacao, carrots, chocolate, citrus, coriander, cumin, curry, fennel, ginger, mace, nutmeg, orange, peaches, pineapple, pumpkin, red cabbage, star anise, tamarind, turmeric,vanilla

Coconut pairs well with: Allspice, banana, basil, black pepper, Brazil nut, caramel, chocolate, citrus, cumin, curry leaf, garlic, ginger, guava, lemongrass, passionfruit, pineapple, sun-dried, tomato, turmeric, vanilla

Cranberry pairs well with: apple, chocolate, cinnamon, citrus, mango, mint, pear

Currants, Black and Red, pairs well with: cassis, chocolate, citrus

Elderberry pairs well with: apricot, fig, honey, lemon, mandarin, other berries, peach, plum

Fig pairs well with: almond, black pepper, cinnamon, citrus, hazelnut, pear, vanilla

Ginger pairs well with: allspice, almond, anise, apple, apricot, banana,basil, berries, Brazil nut, caramel, carrots, chives, chocolate, cilantro, cinnamon, citrus,cloves, coconut, coriander, cranberry, cumin, curry, dates, fennel, grape, hazelnut, passion fruit, peach, pear, pineapple, plum, nutmeg, onion, peaches, pears, pepper, pumpkin, raisins, turmeric, vanilla

Grape pairs well with: chocolate, citrus, fig, honey, ginger, raisin

Grapefruit pairs well with: basil, black pepper, caramel, citrus, mint, rosemary, thyme, tropical fruit, vanilla

Guava pairs well with: citrus, lime, coconut, huckleberry, kaffir leaf, pineapple, strawberry, tropical fruit

Hazelnut pairs well with: apple, apricot, banana, berries, caramel, cherry, chocolate, citrus, fig, mandarin, peach, pear, plum

Jicama pairs well with: acidic fruits and juices such as lime, lemon and orange juice. Red pepper and hot pepper sauce, avocado, cilantro, cucumber and grapefruit.

Kiwi pairs well with: apple, banana, berries, cherry, citrus, coconut, mango, tropical fruit

Lemon pairs well with: apricot, berries, black pepper, cardamom, cherry, citrus, ginger, nectarine, peach, plum, prickly pear, tropical fruit

Lime pairs well with: apple, berries, cherry, ginger, papaya, plum, strawberry, tropical fruit

Lychee pairs well with: citrus, ginger, gooseberry, tropical fruit, vanilla

Mandarin pairs well with: cardamom, cherry, chocolate, cinnamon, coffee, fig, ginger, nutmeg, tropical fruits, vanilla, star anise

Mango pairs well with: apple, banana, berries, caramel, citrus, coconut, melon, tropical fruits, vanilla, cinnamon

Melon pairs well with: berries, citrus, lemongrass, lemon verbena

Nutmeg pairs well with: allspice, asparagus, cabbage, cardamom, carrots, cinnamon, cloves, coffee, coriander, cranberries, cumin, ginger, mace, onion, peaches, pumpkin, thyme, vanilla

Orange pairs well with: almonds, basil, berries, brandy, cherry, chocolate, cilantro, cinnamon, coffee, cranberry, fig, ginger, grape, hazelnut, mint, nutmeg, persimmon, pineapple, vanilla

Pear pairs well with: almond, apple, caramel, chestnut, chocolate, cinnamon, citrus, ginger, hazelnut, vanilla, walnut

Pineapple pairs well with: basil, caramel, cilantro, coconut, macadamia, rosemary, tropical fruit

Plum pairs well with: almond, cinnamon, citrus, chestnut, black pepper, hazelnut, honey, vanilla

Pomegranate pairs well with: apple, citrus, cucumber, mint, tropical fruit (yummy with vodka too)

Prickly Pear pairs well with: citrus, lime, tomatillo, tropical fruit

Raspberry pairs well with: apricot, cinnamon, citrus, ginger, lemon, nectarine, other berries, peach, plum, rhubarb, thyme, vanilla

Rose water pairs well with: saffron, cardamom, jasmine, almonds, pistachios and coconuts.

Rosemary pairs well with: apples, asparagus, basil, citrus, cranberry, fennel, garlic, grains, mushrooms, marjoram, onion, oregano, parsley, thyme, tomatoes

Sesame pairs well with: citrus, garlic, ginger, thyme

Strawberry pairs well with: apple, black pepper, chocolate, citrus, coriander, mint, rhubarb, vanilla

Walnut pairs well with: apple, apricot, banana, caramel, chocolate, cinnamon, nectarine, peach, pear, plum, rum

Pairings that possibly have a molecular basis

Chocolate and caraway (or: sauerkraut, aquavit etc.)
Chocolate and sage
Chocolate and tobacco
Chocolate, peanut and Merlot vinegar
Chocolate and red wine
Mint and mustard
Parsnip, pear and vanilla
Minced meat and caramel
Orange and butternut squash
Apple and lavender
Onions, cinnamon, olives and caramel
Cocoa and mushrooms
Stilton and rhubarb

chanterelle and apricot
Hazelnut and nutmeg
Honey/caramel and truffles
Sweet white wine and pea shoots
Cranberries and pistachio
Semolina pudding and red curry
Parmesan mousse
Olives, dried figs and brie
Onion, garlic and coffee
Chestnuts and praline
Tomato and strawberry
Asparagus and violet
Potato, coffee and capers

I’ve always found that being creative is not only satisfying, but for me at least, necessary. One of my favourite ways of doing so revolves around cooking and experimenting with ingredients, and at times in unusual or non-traditional ways. Mixing flavours provides me with a similar satisfaction, and allows me to further explore and develop unique e liquid mixes.

At times it keeps me up at at night..

From the table,

It’s all about the juice..

Some information from this blog is credited to
Flavor network and the principles of food pairing

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