Food safety and diversification of agri-food products are increasingly important. A new spirit drink produced from the arbutus fruit (strawberry tree fruit) and honey was designed, taking advantage of the best features of these two ingredients and limiting the methanol content. This work reports the first approach to its development, considering in particular its chemical composition, especially the volatile components, and sensory properties. Methanol, acetaldehyde, ethyl acetate, and fusel alcohols were quantified and identified by GC–FID/GC–MS. Sensory analyses were performed by a trained panel. Promising results were obtained, showing that the new spirit has features close to those of honey spirit. Significantly lower contents of methanol, acetaldehyde, and ethyl acetate were observed in the new spirit compared to arbutus spirit (359.0 vs. 994.4 g/hL of pure alcohol (P.A.), 20.5 vs. 25.6 g/hL P.A., and 35.5 vs. 53.9 g/hL P.A., respectively), which is advantageous from the food safety and quality perspectives. The total content of fusel alcohols in the new spirit was significantly lower than in honey spirit (261.4 vs. 388.85 g/hL P.A.). Distinct aroma and flavor profiles were examined, but only four attributes were significantly different between the these spirit drinks: dried fruits, unctuous, varnish (although at very low perception), and sweet.
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