Infuse Your Spirit
– Personalize Your Bar with Your Favorite Flavors –
Infusing spirits is a hot trend in mixology. Infusing spirits is the practice of combining various types of alcohol with fruits, herbs and even tea leaves to create your own unique flavored spirit.
Vodka is popular to use for infusions because of its neutral characteristics. Rum, tequila, gin and bourbon are also great, but more careful consideration must be given to selecting complimentary ingredients because these types of spirits have very distinct flavors of their own.
“Infusing is a pretty simple process and it’s exciting to make your own creation,” said David DiGregorio, Executive Chef of Osteria Via Stato Restaurant in Chicago where they serve a Pear Red Chile Grappa that is popular with customers. “We’ve been infusing for some time now and our customers love the results. Some of the infusions are best served neat while others taste better mixed.”
Fruits rank at the top of the list of ingredients most widely used for infusing. Peaches, lemons, oranges and pears are among the more popular fruits.
Infusions are so popular at Washington DC ’s Poste Bar that they have their own herb garden filled with rosemary, thyme, mint and tomatoes located off their patio bar lounge. The famed Waldorf Astoria in New York offers both bar and restaurant customers its flower – infused Victorian Lady, which incorporates lavender- infused gin in its recipe.
Infusing is an artistic and innovative process; you can be as imaginative as your palette will allow. The Distilled Spirits Council offers these general guidelines for getting started with home bar creative expression:
- You’ll need a large glass jar that has an airtight lid; 750 ml 80 proof (40% ABV) bottle of your chosen spirit (vodka recommended for beginners); and fresh herbs, fresh fruit or fresh spices that will serve as your flavoring ingredient.
- 2.Wash fresh ingredients thoroughly.
- Citrus fruits should be cut into slices; Porous fruits such as pineapples should be cut into thick chunks; Tea leaves should be left whole; Peppers should be left with the stem.
- Fill your jar with the flavoring agent (see chart below for suggested quantity) and then add the spirit leaving enough air in the jar so that you can shake contents when covered.
- Cover with lid, tighten, shake and let stand at room temperature.
- Infusion time varies, so shake and taste a small amount until you get your desired flavor.
- Once infused to your taste, strain using a double layered cheesecloth and pour into original bottle.
Remember when serving cocktails that a standard drink of regular beer (12 ounces), distilled spirits (1.5 ounces of 80-proof spirits) and wine (five ounces) each contains the same amount of alcohol. The Distilled Spirits Council encourages adults who choose to drink to do so responsibly and in moderation. A 750 ml 80 proof (40% ABV) bottle of spirit makes 17 drinks.
Preparing Various Ingredients for Infusions