Some of these tips and tricks are paraphrased from the thread DIY Master Techniques - Flavor Add-on's (EM, VW, BW, MTS, ACV, ect) on ECF.
I've had great response from the wonderfully sarcastic members of ECF. It's much aprreciated! I don't pretend to know everything, and I am very open to feedback!

A word before you begin

Many of these notes are anecdotal, and the experiences you will gather yourself, is the only truth. Some say that many of the additives will mute the flavors over time, and not enhance it. This, like the positive things, is also hearsay, and may not be what you will experience, working with them.

My intentions for creating this so called "Master Mixer"-page, was to try and gather all useful tips and tricks used by people around the web, to enhance their mixes. Many of them, I haven't tried myself.

Secret ingredients

AAA Magic Mask

From Italian makers Flavour Art, AAA Magic Mask (also referred to as MM) adds mouthfeel, while reducing acid perception without modifying pH. It can mellow out sharp notes. Be very careful with this, as it can easily ruin a mix. Add sparingly.

This additive works partially, not by modifying taste, but by modifying your taste perception.

Acetyl Pyrazine (AP)

Acetyl Pyrazine (or AP) usually comes in a 5% solution. It imparts a nutty/baked/bready flavor. Typically used to enhance tobacco flavors or bakery mixes. Use sparingly, 0.2-1% - Start by adding 1 drop per 10 ml and add to taste. Too much produces a Frito-taste.

Some find this very difficult to work with, as it can become overpowering very quickly. If you have problems working with it, try putting 2 drops in a 10 ml bottle and fill it up with PG/VG, and work with that the same way.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Increases acidity, which helps some flavors to "pop". Usually used in tobacco mixes, whereas lemon juice is used in fruity mixes.

Initally, mixes with ACV appear to have better flavor, but over time tend to have more muted flavors. Some like the effect it has on flavor though, so to counter the muted flavor, you can up the percetage a bit.

Use sparingly. Start with 1 drop per 10 ml and work from there.

Bitter Wizard

Also from Italian makers Flavour Art, Bitter Wizard imparts bitterness, removes sweetness, adds dryness. Usually used in tobacco mixes, but can be useful for more. Add 1 drop per 10 ml, and slowly work upwards as desired.

Ethyl Maltol (EM)

EM is also known as Cotton Candy. Often referred to as a sweetener, though it really isn't. At low percentages, around 0.5-1% it adds body, moisture, and reduces sharp notes. It rounds off the flavors, and brings them out a bit. In other words, it reduces flavor intensity. 1.5-2.5% it significantly reduces flavor intensity. After vaping liquids with very high EM-content, many experience a distinct loss of flavor in anything else you vape, for an hour or more.
Around 8-10%, it gives off a distinct burned sugar/cotton candy flavor, but without the sweetness of real cotton candy.

TPA/TFA sells this as Cotton Candy.

Usually comes in crystal form. To make a 10% solution, use one part EM-crystals and 9 parts PG, mix, shake until dissolved completely. Usually gentle heating speeds up the process. An easy way is to microwave for 3 seconds, shake until cooled down, and repeat until completely dissolved.

See different entries here (general), and here (10% solution).

Some prefer marshmallow to EM - See under "Sweeteners".

Ethyl Vanillin

Ethyl Vanillin is a sweetener too, it also adds a vanilla-note in your mixes. Like EM it is usually dissovled in VG or PG; use one part ethyl vanillin and 9 parts dillutant.

Used like EM, add 1-2 drops per 10 ml, and add more to taste. Normal range is 0.5-2%.

A lot of brands have this. The most popular one is from TPA.


Menthyl methyl lactate, also known as Koolada is usually in a 10% solution. If you like the cooling effect that menthol has, but don't want the actual flavor, Koolada adds that cooling effect of menthol but without the flavor. Use sparingly around 0.5-4%

MTS Vape Wizard

Also from Italian makers Flavour Art, MTS stands for Mellow, Thick, Smooth. It's an additive that is designed to contribute toward softening any acidic/sour perception, it assists in making vapor thicker, and it delivers both body and depth to any e-liquid. Suggested usage: 1-3 drops per 10 ml liquid, or 0.2-2%

Add gradually to taste, as it can also dull the flavors.

This additive works partially, not by modifying taste, but by modifying your taste perception.

Lemon Juice

Increaces acidity. Used to enhance fruity flavors and give it "that something extra". Typical dosage: 1-2 drops per 5 ml liquid.

Initally, mixes with lemon juice appear to have better flavor, but over time tend to have more muted flavors.

Malic Acid

Typically in a 20% solution. It adds a sour note. At 1-2 drops per 10 ml liquid, it tends to enhance (to "pop") fruity flavors.
At larger percentages it makes a "sour candy"-effect.

TFA/TPA sells this as Sour.

Malic and Citric Acid

Usually called "Tart & Sour" (this one is LA), is used the same way as Malic Acid, to make fruit flavors "pop". Dosage is also similar at 1-2 drops per 10 ml liquid. Higher percentages will impart a Jolly Rancher-like effect.

Citric acid is hygroscopic, meaning that it attracts and holds water. In its anhydrous from, it contains no water molecules. Monohydrate contains one water molecule per citric acid molecule.

I would use malic acid instead of citric acid.


You can buy menthol crystals lots of places. It's easy to make your own menthol liquid from the crystals. The easiest way is to grind the crystals up real fine, then fill a bottle half full (or just under), and then add your PG or VG. Shake vigoriously. Warm water bath may help dissolve it. If you use VG you will not be able to dissolve as much as with PG.

Warning: You don't want to vape this directly ;) Use as an ingredient in small quantities. If it seems too strong for you (when using recipes containing menthol), you can dillute it to your taste. Just add more PG or VG.


Saline, or saline solution, is medical grade distilled water with salt (NaCL). It's typically used in tobacco or bakery-flavors, and adds body and enhances flavors. Just like salt in foods ;) It may add a salty note to your liquid

It can be used in all flavors to enhance flavor and add moistness, test it a bit before making a big batch.

It reduces the mouth/sinus/throat-dehydration caused by VG and PG.

If you add distilled water, vodka or PGA to dillute your juice, you can try substituting it with saline. A good pointer could be that flavoring and saline should amount to 20-25% of your total volume. Though some just add 3% saline to their mixes, perhaps a bit more if you are heavy on the VG.

The medical stuff usually comes in 0.5-0.9%. Nasal cleaner for babies will do the trick also.


Smooth mellows out harsh edges of flavors, softens the high notes and provides mouthfeel, while boosting the background notes.

Several other brands have "Smooth"-flavors as well, but I don't know if it's the same.

This additive works partially, not by modifying taste, but by modifying your taste perception.


There are several types of sweeteners out there. The most common type is sucralose (like Sweetener (TPA)). There are also several types of Stevia-based sweeteners (which should be more healthy). They are mostly used in fruits, candy, and bakery flavors, and like EM a little (typically 1-2 drops per 10 ml) enhances flavors, while a bit more, like 1% and above, will add sweetness.

Marshmallow by The Perfumer's Apprentice is used like EM, for adding moistness and sweetness.

Molasses by The Perfumer's Apprentice imparts sweetness and a spicy note.

Brown Sugar by The Perfumer's Apprentice adds sweetness.

Most sweeteners brightens other flavors, and it's a good idea to start small.

Trimethyl Pyrazine

Usually in a 10% solution, trimethyl pyrazine is good for tobacco mixes. Taste notes attributed: Nutty, musty, cocoa, drying, peanut-like and raw coffee

Use sparingly! Add 1 drop per 10 ml and add to taste.

The Perfumer's Apprentice has it, others may too.

Adding Throat Hit

Most of us are suckers for a good punch in the back of the throat ;)

Flavors known to add extra throat hit:


Steeping or curing is arguably the most important part of DIY. Very few mixes are real good right after mixing. Of course there are exceptions to the rule. Regardless, most juices change over time. Even though some juices are good right off the bat, they can turn phenomenal after steeping, so try to let the process run its course.

If it's good straight away, by all means, have at it - but expect it to change. If the flavoring contains any kind of alcohol, it can be a good idea to leave the cap off for a good 24 hours. Shake your mix a couple of times a day, and leave it in a cool dark place. I usually try my new mixes after a couple of days. If it's no good, I leave it alone until it's steeped for a week, and try again. If it's still no good, wait one more week. If you're still out of luck, you can try leaving it for longer, but outlook is not good ;)

For best results, patience and time will do everything for you. The following tips are for the impatient ;-)

Steeping shortcuts

Crockpot / warm water

There are several methods to speed up the steeping/curing process. Some use a crockpot, set it for low temperature and leave their mix in a warm water bath for 2-24 hours.

Instead of the crockpot, you can put the bottles in warm water until cooled off, then shake vigoruously. Repeat ad nauseum :)

/u/simpleone234 steeped 6 mg/ml juice in a crock pot for 5 hours on high, then sent the juice to a lab for testing. The result was that the juice was now 5 mg/ml. So the nicotine breaks down a little when using heat and time.

Hot rice bath

Another method is to heat a bowl of dry rice in your microwave, and put the bottles right in the middle of the rice. When it's cooled completely shake it like you just don't care, and do it again.

Ultrasonic Cleaner

People have also reported that putting your bottles in an ultrasonic cleaner. These are commonly used to clean jewelry. You can even get an ultrasonic cleaner, with heating to make the process even faster.

The author of this ECF-thread claims that his e-liquid, normally steeped 14 days, are ready in just two days! Read another thread with steep times. Bottom line is, with the heated cleaner, 12-24 cycles of 8 minutes will simulate a three week steep.


To gently heat, you can also microwave your mixed liquid, for 3 seconds, followed by vigorious shaking until cooled down, and repeat a few times. Be careful not to leave it in the microwave for too long.

A word on coloring, opacity and gunk ;)

My personal opinion of coloring is this: It's completely unnecessary. Adding an unknown to the mix in form of a color, just because it will look more interesting is unnecessary. if you do decide to add coloring, research and add something that should be safe to vape (don't know how to check that). Also know, that the coloring will serve to gunk up your atomizer way more quickly.

As you may have noticed, darker liquids tend to gunk up your atomizers more quickly than clear liquids. By dark I don't necessarily mean coloring (we covered that), but mixes that become darker with age.

Sugary additives and sweeteners tend to gunk up your atomizer much faster. Saline may or may not act the same way.

Always be hesitant of opaque liquids. If the liquid is not completely clear (dark is ok), it's probably not a good idea to vape it, before investigating why it's opaque. Some liquids like absinthe based on aniseed (and wormwood) turn opaque when they are mixed with other liquids. But a while back we learned that a vendor added titanium oxide to achieve the same effect. That is definitely not a good idea to vape.

My mix turned harsh!

You've done a mix, and it turned out great. After a while though, the mix slowly turns harsh, as it steeps - you're getting a way harder throat hit than you used to. Chances are you have added too much flavoring. Try to dial down the flavoring, and let it steep before sampling it.

Drops per ml?!

How do I know how many drops there is to a ml? Drops are really a terrible way to measure. It's ok in a pinch though, but if you want to be precise with it, you need to work out how many drops you get per milliliter of a particular liquid. One way, is to take a syringe, pull in some air, then pull up the liquid to exactly one ml (perhaps a tiny bit more), then put the liquid the container you drip from. A pipette, dripper, bottle, bottle with needle nose etc, then it's just a matter of counting.

Another way, is to put a small receptacle on a precision scale, reset (tare) it, then just drop until you have one ml. This requires you to know how much one ml of liquid weighs.

Be sure to always have roughly the same ambient temperature, when measuring.


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