By Marcia Simmons
Infusing spirits means putting stuff in a jar, pouring liquor on top of it, and waiting. That’s really all there is to it.
Whether you want to make basil vodka, jalapeno tequila or mango rum, the general process is the same:
DIY Infused Spirit
Put equal parts spirit and flavoring item in a glass jar, seal the jar, and shake it. Let the infusion steep anywhere from one to seven days, depending on how quickly the ingredient imparts its flavor and how intense you’d like your infusion to taste. Sample daily. Strain out the solids through cheesecloth. Bottle and store as you would any other spirit.
You can make as little or as much as you want. I like to experiment with a variety of flavors in small batches in eight-ounce Mason jars.
Vodka is the easiest spirit for infusing, because it pairs well with literally any flavor. Don’t limit yourself, though. Just remember that stronger-tasting spirits, like whiskey and Cognac, may need longer steeping times. You may even want to let it sit for weeks to get a really bold infusion. If you like, you can download a handy PDF infusion cheatsheet by clicking the link below.
|Download the Cheatsheet PDF
Right click to save the PDF to your desktop. Directions on downloading PDFs.
After the jump, we’ll talk about making cocktails with your infusion!
All images by Jackson Stakeman
Here are some of my favorite infusion combinations:
- Bourbon with cherry, fig, or peach
- Vodka with basil, fennel, or bell peppers
- Gin with chamomile tea, tomato, or cucumber
- Rum with banana, mango, or pineapple
- Tequila with blood orange, jalapeno, or strawberry
You can turn a classic cocktail into a DIY masterpiece by using your infusion – for example, a martini made with lavender gin or a Manhattan made with apple-vanilla bourbon.
It’s strawberry season, so here’s an infusion from my book, DIY Cocktails, and a recipe to use it in. Enjoy!
Strawberry-Infused Tequila Reposado
1 part tequila reposado
1 part chopped strawberries
Steep for about five days.
Tequila Fresa Punch
1 1/2 ounces parts strawberry-infused tequila reposado
1/2 ounce triple sec
3/4 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce lime juice
2 ounces grapefruit soda
1 dash orange bitters
Sliced strawberries for garnish
Shake all ingredients except the soda and strawberries in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into chilled old fashioned glass with several ice cubes. Add the soda on top of the strained liquid. Garnish with strawberries.
About the Author:
Marcia Simmons is the co-author of DIY Cocktails and contributing editor at Drink of the Week.