Mixing One-Shots 101
So Dear Reader, you have decided to embark upon a path down which there will surely be no return, once the first steps have been taken. The Dark Art of Mixology. Bwaahaahaaa....ahem.
It can seem daunting at first. I know you've probably done a spot of Google research and baulked a little at what you've read! Percentages, measuring, syringes and potentially toxic substances etc ( all things you thought you'd thankfully left behind in Science class back in your old school days, never to be repeated again ) and on the face of it, it all seems a little...daunting.
But fear not. With a little preparation, care and attention, and most importantly a good quality one-shot concentrate of course, you are about to discover the easiest, fastest and most satisfying way to creating quality e-liquids in substantial quantities at supremely affordable prices.
Oh, but I must warn you, when you DO get the bug ( and you will! ), you'll be positively hooked! Mixing and vaping has become as much a hobby for me as it has a way to quit the evil that is smoking. As far as I'm concerned, this is no bad thing at all!
WHAT YOU'LL NEED
A one-shot concentrate ( duh...obvs )
P.G. ( Propylene Glycol ) 500ml will last you a while!
V.G. (Vegetable Glycerine ) Whatever you can afford. 1 litre is a good start
Nicotine ( if you want to vape with nicotine ) now only legally available in 10ml shots
Measuring equipment ( syringes in several sizes are most commonly used ) 5ml, 10ml will suffice for now, and I also find a 100ml large syringe is great for dealing with the P.G/V.G
A bottle / container for your final mix.
A good Mixing Calculator ( I use "POTV eJuiceCalc" available for free on Google Store for android, though others are available )
Tissues, cloths etc to mop up any inevitable drips, spills etc
That's it really.
Ok, so I'll should really point out now that nicotine is a highly toxic substance, in particular if you have in your stash any pre-TPD bottles of 72mg ( strong! ) nicotine...please be careful! Use disposable nitrile gloves, and if you get any nicotine liquid on your hands, face, eyes, mouth...please wash with copious amounts of water and see a doctor if you are really concerned. DO NOT MIX WITH KIDS AND ANIMALS PRESENT! They not only distract from the task at hand, but can be gravely affected with the ingestion of nicotine. Be warned. Be safe!
Anyway, I know you are all eager to begin, and I've done the serious bit, so lets begin!
Here's a typical one-shot mix scenario. You want a big lovely batch of ( one of my personal favourites ) Dough Boy. You've bought the 30ml bottle of concentrate and have all of the above to hand. What's next? Calculate what you'll need to make it, that's what! This is where the Mixing Calculator is indispensible.
Yes a mixing calculator. I could show you pages of tables and formulas for doing manual calculations. But seeing as 80% of the uk ( and nearly 50% of people worldwide ) own a smartphone, why bother?
Below are a couple of screenshots to show a typical mix for Dough Boy. I went for a 75VG/25PG mix using all 30ml of the one-shot, at 3mg nicotine. In the example, I am using the only type of nicotine generally available now, 18mg/10ml nicotine shots. These particular nic shots are 100% V.G.
So, all I had to do was plug the relevant info into the app!
Base ( the nicotine ) is 18mg
The final ( End ) mg I want is 3mg
My final amount of juice ( End Mls ) is 120ml ( which I know from experience will match perfectly the amount of Dough Boy one-shot )
Base ratio ( the nicotine I'm using ) is 100% VG, so I moved the first slider accordingly to 100% VG
End Ratio ( the final 'thickness' of the juice ) is set to my personal preference, 75VG/25PG. Decent for clouds, flavour and steep times. See second slider
Lastly, the mix ratio for the flavour(s) is added. This is easily found with the one-shot description on the Nom Nomz flavour shot website, sometimes stated as a range ( i.e. 15-25% ). This all depends on how strong you want your juice to taste and personal preference. I went for the max 25% ( Oh I like it strong! )
Below, we have a screenshot of all this information plugged into the calculator.
All info entered correctly? Click to calculate!
After the app has done it's thing, you will be presented with all the info you need to complete the mix. Lets take a look-see -
As the app says, to make 120 mls of Dough Boy, with a PG:VG ratio of 25/75 ( I know, it's arse about tit ), at a strength of 3mg, we simply need -
All the Dough Boy one-shot ( 30ml )
70ml of VG
20ml of 18mg VG nicotine shots ( thats 2 x 10ml bottles )
This one's gonna be easy peasy!!! LET'S DO IT!!!
(Note: no PG is required in this mix, as the amount needed to reach 75VG/25PG happens to be present in the Dough Boy one-shot. Virtually all one-shots will be PG based unless they specifically state otherwise )
So are we sitting comfortably? At our clutter free workspace with NO children, dogs, or partners sporting their sexiest lingerie/posing pouch to distract us? Good.
Have your final juice receptacle open and awaiting filling ( I personally am liking 120ml Gorilla Bottles, but I quite often use Boots Glycerine bottles to mix in. Did I not mention Boots 200ml Glycerine is a great V.G. stand-in until you get a larger amount elsewhere?!? Well it is.)
Now tip/squirt/squeeze all 30ml of your concentrate into the awaiting receptacle.
Measure 70ml of VG using your syringe/measuring beaker. Add to the same receptacle.
Grab two nicotine shots. Squirt into the receptacle.
Put nozzle or cap on.
And...relax. You've just made your own juice!
As you can see, it's not the actual mixing thats particularly difficult. It's more about the preparation and calculation of what you'll need for your mix. And the more you do it, the easier and faster it all gets.
So, you're sat staring at your beautiful creation. You feel chuffed with yourself and rightly so. Your next thought will likely be....."Ooooh I want to vape this, and I want to vape it NOW".
This is where you should roughly decide how long the juice will need steeping. Yup, I am a firm believer in THE STEEP!
Sometimes we are given the steep information when buying the one-shot, and it's often given with the one-shot's mix percentage on the website. If not, here's the guide I usually follow -
Mints and Menthols - Shake n' Vape!
Fruits and Confectionary - 1 day to 1 week
Cakes - 2 weeks
Creams - 3 weeks
Custards and Tobacco - 4 weeks
If your mix contains more than one of these flavour types, alway go with the longest steep.
Put your mix in a sock drawer / dark cupboard / old shoe box under the bed and leave it. I don't care what anyone else says, there are no shortcuts to steeping. Honestly, I've tried them all and it's all a load of poppycock. The Maillard Reaction has been the only way to age wines for hundreds of years. Same now goes for e-liquid.
BUT REMEMBER - all this steeping information is just a guide, not a set of hard and fast rules. A juice is ready to vape when YOU think its ready. If your custard with fruit tastes good to YOU after a few days steep or even after a good old mix and shake...crack on!
So, to all you one-shot virgins out there, I hope this little article has put your mind at ease, and given you the confidence to move onwards and upwards into the wonderful world of mixology!