Mixology = Mixology is another term for mixing drinks or bartending and a Mixologist is another term for a bartender or bar chef. Mixology is generally accepted as a slang term for a refined and in depth study of the art and craft of mixing.
Merriam-Webster's dictionary dates mixology to 1948 and defines it as: "the art or skill of preparing mixed drinks" ~about.com~
What is needed
You can use old e-liquid bottles, or get some from the vendor or even ebay - Depending on what size you need.
Syringes are for precise measuring of the nicotine / PG & VG / flavourings.
Marker and Sticker labels are for liquid name & nicotine strength (highly recommend the latter).
Ratios, Diluting & Mixology 101
Before starting the flavouring mixing you can make the nicotine base ready. Most often it is sold in higher mg then what you could even vape straight up. In this case we will use the Platinum Ice as an example that you can get 30ml and in 1l bulk at 54mg (5,4%).
Most likely you've stumbled upon 70/30, 50/50, 80/20 and Full PG or VG ratios when purchasing pre-made liquids. This is to indicate the PG/VG ratio of the mix. You can do the same in DIY as it's just basic math.
- Ginger's e-juice 80/20
- Vermillion River 70/30
- Nordic Vapours 70/30
- WizMix 70/30
- FSUSA 50/50
- Pipe Sauce VG 98%*
*The tobacco bases come from Flavors Apprentice and are not USDA organic and may result in small amounts of PG. VG in itself is real syrup so most often it has to be diluted with distilled water, alcohol or little pit of PG and thus the mixes are quite popular. In some cases (cartomisers) can't really handle high or pure VG liquids that well due to the filling type and the thickness of the e-liquid.
I personally prefer using 50/50 NoNic as a base, then adding the flavourings and the nicotine. This way the mix will have a nice vapor production as there is a good amount of VG in it.
So to dilute your 54mg nicotine first halve it - for 30ml of Nicotine use 30ml of PG/VG or VPG (50/50mix). If you decide to use VG on that you will get as an end result 60ml of 27mg VPG Base.
For 30ml of ready made eliquid you will end up using anywhere between 5 (1.5ml) to 25% (7,5ml) of flavourings. This is all up to the flavour strength and what you want. "Taste is subjective" TPA for example does not give any rations for this specific reason. One customer may like 5% and the next one wants 20%. I generally go for around 10-13% flavourings and for 30ml that would be 3-4ml. The bottom line is - make what you like. In the beginning it will be trial & error. I gave up % calculations on flavourings long time ago and nowadays I just go with my nose. If it smells good -> it's ready.
(Using the 27mg VPG we made earlier) 1,5ml flavouring and 28,5ml of base would result in 30ml @ 21,98mg 3ml flav / 27ml base = 30ml @ 20,82mg 7,5ml flav / 22,5ml base = 30ml @ 17,35mg
If one flavouring is too dominating, add a bit more of the other or dilute the mix with PG/VG. If the flavour is too weak - add more.
There's calculators for mixing and even recipes in the internet. All you need to enter is nicotine mg you have, what mg you want and how much flavourings you're going to use.
Here's just few examples : http://ejuice.breaktru.com/ https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.boggi.esig http://www.ecigvape.com/#anc_calcs http://www.eliquidcalculator.com/#home http://www.todmuller.com/ejuice/ejuice.php And many more.. Just Google e-liquid calculator / DIY e-liquid calculator
BUT.. You can also do that manually. And it's not even that hard :)
Math A (how much is needed) : total ml / ( nicotine mg / target mg ) Where mg is the strength of the nicotine (not %)
Example : We have the 27mg we made and we're going to make 30ml of e-liquid and we're aiming for 10mg/ml. 30/(27/10) = 11,1ml of nicotine needed
Math B (what strength) : (mg*amount/total amount) Where mg is the strength of the nicotine (not %) and amount is ml *20 (1ml is 20drops).
Example : We have the 27mg we made and we're going to make 30ml of e-liquid and we're aiming for 10mg/ml. (27*220/600) = 30ml of 9,9mg (222/600 would result in sharp 10)
I myself prefer using the latter math as I already remember roughly the amount I'm going to need to make X-strength. And for my DIY's it's more about knowing what I just made, not what I'm going to make.
Steeping is a craft of it's own. Some do it for premium liquids as well (even most cases it's actually recommended). So if your e-liquid bottle (purchased or DIY) is missing it's flavor or color that you were used to -> try steeping. Steeping in general is a process for evolving the liquid. Nicotine liquids react to heat, air and light (this is why liquids in a tank may change their color) - some do it faster then others.
Option 1 (slow - days) Open an e-liquid bottle and place it in direct sunlight / warm location for few days (up to a week even).
Option 2 (fast - hours/days) Fill the sink or a bowl with hot (or boiled) tap water and put the e-liquid bottle in. You can change the water few times if you like. Do note that really hot water may shape your bottles (it's plastic after all).
Option 3 (super fast - minutes/hours) Ultrasonic cleaner (yeah.. I said that). So in an ultrasonic cleaner you have the hot water and high frequency sound waves to agitate the liquid and presto - Basically an all-in-one option. In some cases only few cycles will do the trick (3-8min) but that is really up to the user. If you wish do 5.. or 10.
How to tell a part an good ultrasonic cleaner and not so good one? As this is what makes the difference in the end result. Yes you can get one for 5$ from China but they ain't ultrasonic. Most likely they have a small rotating motor for it to 'shake' a bit. So to test yours, get a piece of tinfoil and dip it in your ultrasonic cleaner. In just seconds the tinfoil piece should get holes in it.. Bigger and smaller ones.
Here is some pictures from my last DIY batches (friday 12.4 vs wednesday 17.4, so 5 days steeping) The one's without a cork are from the 5days old batch.
NCOT - Stock up
"Best before" for eliquids / nicotine is around 1year. To extend the lifespan of your eliquids, for example lets say you've purchased 500ml or more and there is no way you'll get trough them in a week.. Or even a month. You naturally want them to taste good and have the nicotine when you vape them. For longest preservation, number one place would be something cold, like the refrigerator. And if you don't feel comfortable keeping them where you store your food as-is, put them in a box with a lid before storing them in your fridge. Oh and there's always those mini-fridges ;)
If you have children in your house, the fridge might not be the best place for this - nicotine is a poison and kids like everything that's even remotely interesting looking (red, green and purple liquids for example).
Only thing that you will lose over time when storing your liquids is the nicotine strength. Naturally the flavor will also decrease over time if stored in room temperature, direct sunlight and open cork (way faster then it would in a fridge).
Nicotine test from the internet shows that it takes around 5 weeks for an 35mg eliquid to lose 1mg, 7 weeks for 2mg when it is open cork - in sunlight - room temp. Compared to cork closed (same location) it takes 8weeks to drop 1mg. 8weeks Cork closed in room temp there's no change in the mg and same is applied to refrigerator test (only that in there the liquids will keep the mg even longer).
When handling and storing e-liquid please be careful. Nicotine is poisonous and is not recommended to be digested. In some cases it can also cause irritation if it is in contact with skin. Even though e-liquid is stored in child-proof bottles you should still keep the bottles out of reach of children, animals and anyone who is not actively using the e-liquids. You should also make sure the cap is on properly and sealed before storing. You can also opt for NoNic products if you wish.