For the most part, I’m not a big spirit sipper, I prefer a local brew or a tasty glass of vino. But when I do drink spirits, it’s not the gin and tonics or ginger and bourbons that I slammed in college. These days, I prefer a mixology special, something with as much forethought as the meal its paired with at the time. However, these cocktails can be pricey at restaurants so infusing your own spirits and making them at home is a great idea. With artsy infused spirits, you can come up with so many cocktail recipes.
Have you ever noticed that many of the high-end flavored liquors taste like a medicinal Jolly Rancher? For natural homemade flavor, you'll need to make your own. There’s no limit to the concoctions that you can come up with in the kitchen and making them is a cinch. Think of all the yummy cocktail recipes.
Be creative but thoughtful. Vodka has a subtle flavor so it can be mixed with a host of ingredients while complex bourbon isn’t so forgiving. Try and keep your combinations to less than three and think about flavors that already appeal to you.
Choosing Your Ingredients
You can taste test an infusion before you waste a whole bottle by muddling a small bit in a glass. Choose organic fruits and vegetables so that pesticide residue doesn’t become a permanent ingredient in your infusion. Wash fruits and vegetables, roughly chop if necessary, and leave small fruits like cherries and berries whole. Don’t muddle your produce.
Here are some more tips for infusing your own spirits:
-For citrus, the zest is the part you want to use.
-Delicate fruit like raspberries will only last a week or so.
-Taste frequently until the infusion is to your liking. Once ready, strain and filter.
-Spice infusions are really simple and especially festive.
How to Infuse Your Own Spirits
2. Add to a spotlessly clean mason jar and cover with your preferred spirit.
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3. Combine the mixture and let set in a cool, dark place.
4. Shake daily.
5. Strain and filter using a fine mesh tea strainer or cheesecloth into a festive bottle.
Here are some of my favorite flavor infusions to mix with yummy cocktail recipes:
-Dill and Celery Spiced Vodka (Perfect for a Bloody Mary. Use dried spices for this.)
-Watermelon Infused Tequila
-Lemon Lavender Gin
-Cherry Infused Whisky
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Image: Brian Child