Infuse Your Own

Instead of buying flavored spirits, why not infuse your own?

Yeah, yeah. Everyone like “frou-frou” drinks, even people too manly to admit it. Flavored martinis may be verboten in polite society, but in the secret corners of one’s own liquor cabinet, how many of us have a bottle of Blueberry Stoli or pineapple rum or some other flavored spirit hiding behind the half-empty bottle of Passport Scotch or Mad Dog?

Flavored drinks are here to say. This is a good thing; they taste damned good. But instead of buying flavored spirits, why not infuse your own? It provides a respectable veneer to the flavored drink process and when you pour cocktails for guests, you look like some sort of bartending genius.

Herewith the major points:

  • Pick a clean and simple spirit — like a decent vodka or white rum. You can infuse spiced dark rum, for example, but the existing flavors will complexify the final product. Start simple.
  • Choose your infusions. Herbs and fruits are most common, but it’s technically possible to infuse even food products like bacon. (Don’t knock the power of bacon-flavored vodka.)
  • Get a cask — usually a mason-style jar will work, or a larger glass decanter. Make sure it’s airtight.
  • Fill the container with your freshly washed ingredients and then fill with the spirit of choice.
  • Allow to infuse — powerful flavors can take just three days; subtle flavors (think lemongrass) can take up to two weeks.
  • Oh — don’t forget to shake the darn thing two or three times per day.

When the infusion process is complete, strain the spirit into a different bottle or decanter. Coffee filters work great for straining, especially if there’s a lot of particulate matter.

Store as you would any other spirit of its type.

Oh, and — enjoy!

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About jason

Jason is the principal of Gillikin Consulting, a business-media and ethics consultancy based in Grand Rapids, Mich.