An Offer You Can Infuse
Flavor your own spirits to add variety to the liquor cabinet
Looking for a way to add flavor to your spirits naturally or add new depth to your cocktails?
Consider exploring the world of infused liquor. Infused liquors have been surging in popularity and can add new and exciting flavors to basic drinks.
Infusion is easiest with light, smooth base liquors such as vodka. Gin, sake and light rum are appropriate, while darker, richer liquors such as whiskey can be tricky. First-time infusers may want to abstain from using more expensive spirits before they gain a handle on infusing.
To filter out impurities from inexpensive alcohol, a home filtering device – or a repurposed coffee filter – may be used.
Once the base liquor is chosen, the next step is choosing your infusion, and that’s where the fun begins; the options are nearly limitless. Spices, fruits and herbs are some of the most common infusions, but other ingredients such as candy offer more choices.
Due Amici in downtown Columbus specializes in pepper, pineapple and limoncello infused liquor. The restaurant “tends to have more choices during the summer season, and may add fresh ingredients such as basil when they are in season,” says Jon Mackness, one of its head bartenders.
The limoncello infused vodka is a recipe Mackness helped to develop with wine-makers in Italy. The process includes peeling upwards of 90 lemons and infusing the vodka for at least two months before straining and serving the drink.
Easton burger joint Flip Side is known for its Applewood smoked bacon infused vodka, a key ingredient in its BLT Mary-tini and an optional addition to its date milkshake. The bacon adds “a savory and sweet taste” to the vodka, says bartender Kelly Fitzgerald.
To infuse, add the liquor and infused ingredient together in a clean glass jar and shake. Then leave the liquid to steep at room temperature. Steeping time varies depending on the infusion; some ingredients, such as herbs, release their flavor quickly and should not steep for more than a few days, while others need more time for the flavor to set in.
Food blog Serious Eats (www.seriouseats.com) recommends one to three days for herbs, peppers, vanilla beans, cinnamon and citrus; three to six days for melons, sweet peppers, berries and stone fruits; five to seven days for apples, pears and most vegetables; and eight to 14 days for most dried spices. When the infusion process is done, the liquid should be thoroughly strained and can be stored for up to six months.
Amanda King is a contributing writer. Feedback welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org.