Let’s take a break from recent events and talk about something fun for a change. I’m sure we’ve all had our fair share of e-juices and even pondered changing the flavor or wondering if adding another flavor would make the e-juice really shine. For the last week, I’ve been spending a lot of time making my own e-juice. I’ve been doing this long enough to know what makes e-juice. You have your nicotine, PG, VG, and flavoring. It seemed really simple in my mind but by the end of the week, I’ve found a new respect for e-juice mixologists.
I placed my order from several different websites with about 30 different flavorings as I wanted to try a variety of flavors instead of using the same one over and over. For the most part, everything came in a small glass vial. After doing some research, one of the main reasons they come this way is some of the flavorings are alcohol based and can melt some of the plastic bottles.
Although it’s really nice and professional looking to have a bunch of glass bottles, it was also very annoying as I had to transfer the flavorings from the glass vials via a syringe or pipette. I knew exactly wanted to make for my first e-juice. Strawberry and banana seemed very simple at the time, but considering how many different banana and strawberry flavorings are out there as well as the combinations, it seemed very overwhelming.
Very first thing I did was a little math. I knew I didn’t want to make more than 10ml worth of e-juice and I didn’t want the flavorings to exceed 10%; which meant I need 9ml worth of diluent or my base. Now I know a lot of vendors deal with pure nicotine and mix it themselves to cut down on costs. But this is also very dangerous as I was at home doing this in my dining room table.
I went with the safer route and ordered my base (VG) to have 3mg of nicotine premixed in it. I choose 100% VG as I have a PG allergy. You can pick whatever ratio you guys are used to using in your e-juices as well. Another reason why I did this was I didn’t want pure nicotine around the house either. The VG with the 3mg nicotine came in a tub that unscrewed from the top.
I knew going in that measuring the precise amount would be crucial especially if I made a recipe I wanted to replicate in the future. This is why I ordered a boat load of syringes and a few with larger gauges as VG is very thick in room temperature. As I said before I was shooting for 10% flavoring so in a 10ml bottle, I needed 9ml worth of base (VG). I took the 10ml syringe, pulled 9ml of VG out of the tub, and put it in the bottle. That was the easy part.
Let’s bring up the math again, I have 9ml out of a 10ml bottle full of VG and so I’m looking for only 1ml of flavoring. I wanted strawberry banana e-juice so 0.5ml of strawberry and 0.5ml of banana. Easy enough, right? I thought so too but as I was extracting 0.5ml of strawberry flavoring the bottle slipped and flavoring spilled out of the glass vial. Cleaning that up was the easy part, but getting the scent of strawberry out of the table was near impossible. These are concentrated flavorings and extremely strong to begin with but when the flavoring gets soaked in, it doesn’t come out. In fact, it has been a week and my table still smells like strawberries! I learned from my first mistake and this time I wrapped a small towel around the banana flavoring glass vial, this way if it spilt the towel will soak up the flavoring instead of the table. Thankfully I didn’t make another blunder and was able to add the banana flavoring into the e-juice bottle I was creating. So I got my base, my nicotine, and my flavoring. I’m done, right? Nope, not even close.
When I looked at the bottle, I saw that the e-juice wasn’t clear or see through like the e-juices I bought from retailers. In fact, it was cloudy and very similar to a bottle of oil and vinegar. Long story short, it wasn’t completely homogeneous yet that is the flavoring hasn’t bonded with the base completely. I shook it for what felt like a good 30 minutes and it was still very cloudy.
At this point, I decided to add a heat source so the flavoring can bond with the base. Originally I thought about putting it in the microwave, but that didn’t seem like a good idea as the bottle was so small. Instead, I filled a tall glass with hot water and put my bottle of e-juice in until the water cooled off. I repeated this process about three times before the liquid in my bottle stopped being cloudy and became clear. I let it cool down a bit and tried it out. I wasn’t impressed at all with my hard work and labor. The e-juice was quite bland with how I made it, but it was my first try and I’ve learned quite a bit since then.
Throughout the week, I tried different variations of this simple recipe without much luck. After doing a bit of research, I realized that a sweetener is sometimes added to bring out the flavorings as well. Often the flavorings alone aren’t sweet enough in e-juice for vaping purposes. Other helpful tips I found were instead of doing the hot glass of water method I was performing, filling a slow cooker with some water and let the e-juice bottle sit for a few hours works much better and more consistent as there is a constant non-varying heat source. This method is actually called steeping or curing the e-juice.
Although it has been a frustrating week, I have learned quite a bit and am not ready to give up yet. I have a new found respect for e-juice manufacturers as I tried a week to get my simple recipe right and it still doesn’t taste great. Mixologists must spend a lot of time perfecting their recipe before it goes on the market. A lot of time and heart is spent developing their recipe and considering they have to wait for the flavorings and base to mix completely before trying it, it is truly a painstaking process. Next time you by e-juice and second guess or complain about the price, keep in mind the person who made it put a lot of time and effort into developing the recipe correctly so that you can have the best vaping experience possible.