Infusing Alcohol 101: From Hot Peppers to Herbs
Infusing alcohol: it's a big trend in the foodie world these days. But do you really know what it takes to infuse your booze? Ever been to a bar that served a deliciously refreshing mint mojito or a spicy margarita? Some cocktails can be so unique and fresh tasting when the liquor has been infused with a secondary ingredient.
Typically, infusions involve soaking fresh herbs, hot peppers, fresh fruit, vegetables, spices and more in hard liquor. Here's a breakdown of the top ways you can incorporate a little extra something something into your cocktail–and we should mention, infused booze makes for a great gift!
Check out our tips below to creating some of the most delicious infused alcohol!
Infusions should reflect the season we're in. In this case:
-Citrus in the summertime
-Aromatic herbs in the spring
-Spices in the fall
-Chili peppers in the winter.
Tips & Tricks to Infusing
-Rinse all ingredients–especially fresh fresh citrus–to thoroughly to remove pesticides. Of course, this doesn't really make sense for spices so use common sense
-Sanitize your vessel
-Don't get too creative or try to reinvent flavours the first time. Stick to classic combinations like cumcumber with gin, and jalapeño with tequila. You'll want something smoother with a cooler alcohol, and something punchier with a bold liquor like tequila. Go with what you think will taste good!
How Long to Let Spirits Infuse For
It can be tricky to determine how long to let each type of flavouring sit in alcohol. You should test your combinations each day as some dry ingredients like spices will reach saturation faster than fresh ingredients like herbs or citrus.
What Spirits Should You Use?
-Some kinds of alcohol take to infusion better than others, like gin, rum and tequila
-Other kinds of liquor have more of a distinct flavour and it is better not to mix with anything
-Vodka in particular takes on too much of the flavouring being used because it is such a subtle spirit. Infuse at your own risk!
Is Anything Off-Limits in Mixology?
-Whiskey can be off limits, especially if we're talking about 10 year aged single malt. Same goes with other aged liquors like tequila. Don't mess with the good stuff!