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Jun 13, 2013

ManMade Guide: Step Up Your Homemade Cocktails with Your Own DIY Infused Spirits

Studies have shown that a well-stocked liquor cabinet increases the chance of feeling awesome (studies conducted by ourselves over the weekend). This includes having several custom, home-infused spirits: one bottle suddenly has multiple options and flavor profiles.

How to infuse your own spirits

And? It's craaaaazy easy. The results produce a subtle, aromatic, next-level cocktail or highball. No perfume-y, candy martinis here: just straight, clean and fresh deliciousness.

How to infuse spirits

 

TOOLS AND INGREDIENTS:

  1. Spirit of your choice: we recommend starting with vodka, as it's tasteless and can be infused with any ingredient. Other great choices include gin, white rum, and brandy.
  2. Infusing aromatics: these are the ingredients used for flavoring. Common ingredients include: citrus peel, juniper berries, pink peppercorns, cinnamon, etc.
  3. Clean glass container: avoid using metal or plastic as this can alter the flavor or even cause a nasty chemical reaction that will leave your spirit tasting like pennies. You can use the bottle your liquor came in, a mason jar, etc...
  4. Fine mesh strainer: use it to strain the final product. This will help you catch any bits that fell apart during the process.

How to infuse spirits

 

STEPS:

  • CLEAN. Wash the glass container and give a final rinse with hot boiling water. This will eliminate any contaminants, oils, or sticky stuff.
  • CRUSH. Give your ingredientes a good pounding... You can crush them by hand, a mallet, a heavy skillet, mortar and pestle, or a rolling pin - just make sure they're coarse. You don't want tiny pieces floating around your booze. NOTE: When using delicate ingredients like herbs or vanilla, don't crush, just use as is.
  • MIX. Pour the spirit in a clean glass container and add flavoring ingredients. Close with a tight lid. Give it a gentle shake.
  • INFUSE. let the mix sit at room temperature (away from the sun) for about 1 week, then take a little sample and taste it. If needed, add a few extra days. In average, 2 weeks should yield the best results. NOTE: an exception must be made with extremely spicy/fragrant ingredients like peppercorns and chilies. For all of these, test after 4 days.
  • STRAIN. once ready, strain infused spirit through a fine mesh and store in a clean glass container with a lid. Refrigerate to keep it fresh.

That's it! You can serve the infused liquor straight on the rocks or you can use it as a base for tasty cocktails. Want a few recipes to get you infusing? Here are 3 that are perfect for the summer:

1: Habanero-infused Tequila

Ingredients:

  • Tequila añejo or reposado
  • 1 habanero chile split in half

Follow steps above (infuse for 3 days max or you'll need to call the fire department). Can be sipped on it's own or mixed in a margarita.

2: Rosemary Bourbon

Ingredients:

  • Bourbon
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs

Mix ingredients and let it sit for about a week. This delicious infusion is great when used in a mint julep or a fresh whiskey sour. Best served chilled on the rocks (highly recommend using these whiskey stones).

3. Vanilla Coffee Vodka

Ingredients:

  • 1 Vanilla pod split in half
  • 1/4 cup of coffee beans
  • Vodka

Mix all ingredients, let it sit for 2 weeks. This combination tastes similar to Van Gogh espresso vodka, but it's way more affordable. Enjoy it on martinis and white russians.

Now that you know how to infuse spirits, go get that liquor cabinet ready for all of your summer affairs and let us know if you come up with a recipe of your own.

Cheers!

 

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Tim on Nov 23, 2013:

Try strawberry basil vodka, that's my personal favorite.  However, I've found that the basil shouldn't sit in the vodka for more than a few days or it becomes overpowering.  Great ideas here, can't wait to try the habenero tequila. 


Gee on Jun 15, 2013:

The Roseberry Bourbon sounds interesting.  I must have a go at this as I definately want to feel awesome!


 


Gabriel on Jun 15, 2013:

That sounds delicious, and truly dangerous! Thanks for sharing the tip about sanitizing blueberries ;)


Ben on Jun 13, 2013:

Blueberries (or really any other berries/fruit) are another great addition.  I recently brewed a blueberry ale, and to sanitize the blueberries, I soaked them over a weekend in vodka.  The resulting blueberry vodka tastes amazing...and dangerous (it tastes like juice; you can't taste the alcohol)!