Some time ago I was reading a Bon Appétit Magazine and came across an awesome article about infusing liquor with fruits or vegetables at home. At that time I was working as a Bartender and was looking to up our bar’s game a bit and this bit of pure gold was just the trick. Pretty soon we had all kinds of specialized drinks available to go with our seasonal menu. I especially loved our bacon infused bourbon, which we used to make Manhattans and Old Fashioneds and our jalapeño infused silver tequila which we used to make spicy Margaritas.
Now let me just say that this technique is so simple that you will probably slap your forehead when I finish telling you how it’s done.
Here is what you want to do, grab a reusable glass jar, a bottle of your favorite booze and a fruit or vegetable you want it to taste like.
Next, you want to cut up your chosen fruit or vegetable, if necessary, and remove any pits or seeds. Seeds and pits will make your infusion taste bitter. The only time I suggest leaving in a few seeds is if you are doing a jalapeño infused tequila, because that is where the heat comes from. Also, make sure to use gloves if you are removing jalapeño seeds, because nothing burns as badly as hands that have been rubbed with jalapeño seeds and oils.
After you have cut the fruit or vegetable, put as much as you like into the jar then fill to the top with your liquor. Close the jar and put it in a cool, dark place.
Once a day take your jar out and give it a shake. Let it sit for as long as a few weeks; the longer you leave it sit the stronger the flavor of your infusion, then strain and serve. Simple, right?
Some of the flavor mixes I suggest are:
Berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, cranberries, etc.) and Vodka
Citrus and Vodka
Cherries or Raspberries and Jameson
Cherries and Sailor Jerry
Jalapeño and Lime Tequila
Bacon and Woodford Reserve Bourbon (For this you want to use bacon fat and let that sit on the liquor then strain.)
Roasted Pumpkin and Spiced Rum
One last suggestion, don’t eat the fruit or vegetable after it has been sitting in the liquor. As much as your liquor absorbs the flavor of your fruit, your fruit absorbs the liquor. I once tried a cherry at a friend’s urging and let me tell you, I wanted to vomit. It was disgusting!
I have given these out as gifts for the holidays and have gotten some rib busting hugs from the friends that received them. You can dress up the jars with a little ribbon and gift tag explaining the contents, or spray paint the lids with glitter paint to make them “purty”.
Give it a try, then let me know what you think!