16th Mar2012

Make Your Own Infused Flavored Alcohol

by David Edessa
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From apple to whipped cream, alcohol seems to come in so many different flavors.  Ever wonder how liquor companies make these flavored spirits? This week, David is going to show us how to Make Your Own Infused Flavored Alcohol!  Infused alcohol is perfect for serving at parties and also makes great DIY gifts as well.

Written By: David Edessa

Infuse your Favorite Booze!!!

“He knows just how I like my martini – full of alcohol.” – Homer Simpson

Choose Your Spirit:

Your base spirit will set the foundation for a good infusion. Choosing a decent unflavored liquor that is smooth and clean will allow the added flavors to come out. However, I do not recommend using an expensive bottle. My personal choices for base liquor in INFUSIONS are as follow:

  • Vodka: Boru Vodka, Prairie Organic Vodka, Tito’s Hand Crafted Vodka, and Koenig (potato) Vodka
  • Gin: Burnett’s London Dry Gin, Gordon’s London Dry Gin, and Broker’s Premium Gin
  • Rum: Wray & Nephew White Overproof Rum, 1 Barrel “The Golden Rum”, Flor de Caña 4yr Blanco Extra Dry Rum, and Don Q Cristal Premium Puerto Rican Rum

There are definitely choices for tequila, brandy, and whisky (or whiskey). However, I have future plans for those.

If you’re experimenting with a new infusion you may want to use a less expensive bottle so as not to waste money or good liquor.

Choose Your Flavors:

Herbs, spices and fruits are most commonly used for infusions. The most popular infusions are fruit based; however, you can use your imagination to create some delicious combinations. For best results, use fresh ingredients only.

Step One:

The process itself is very easy. Choose a clean, air-tight jar: quart sized mason jars work well, preferably glass. Using smaller jars will allow you to divide a liter of vodka into a few jars, giving you the ability to create small batches of a variety of flavors at once. Wash the ingredients, place them inside the jar and fill it with vodka. Shake a few times and cover tightly with a lid.

Infusion Time: You will want to store your infusion in a cool, dark place (under the sink is the best place).  Make sure to shake mix three to five times a day. On average you should keep infusion stored for a week. You will want to do a taste test every few days to see if the flavors are sufficient.

Step Two:

Once your infusion has reached its peak in flavor you’ll need to take the flavoring ingredients out of the jar. Use a fine strainer or paper coffee filter to strain the infusion into another clean jar or bowl. You can return it to its original jar if you would like, cleaning the jar thoroughly first. Store the finished infusion as you would any other liquor of its type.

Helpful Tips and Tricks

Make sure all ingredients are fresh and without blemishes.

Ingredient Preparation:

  • Berries: wash and leave whole, but score the skins on harder berries
  • Pineapple, Mango and similar fruit: wash and cut into chunks
  • Strawberries and Citrus fruit: wash and slice thinly without rind or use zests of lemons and oranges
  • Vanilla Beans: wash and cut lengthwise
  • Herbs: wash and use whole (stems and all)
  • Peppers: wash and leave whole or cut in half
  • Garlic: use whole cloves, removing the layers of skin

General Infusion Times:

  • 3-4 days: Intense flavors such as vanilla beans, lemons, oranges, grapefruit, limes, mint, garlic, tarragon, basil, oregano, dill, thyme and peppers
  • 1 week: Moderate flavors such as cantaloupes, strawberries, peaches, mangoes, pitted cherries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
  • 2 weeks: Mild flavors such as pineapple, ginger and lemon grass

Other Great Combinations:

  • Kiwi + Thyme
  • Blackberry + Oregano
  • Cucumber + Cilantro
  • Cantaloupe + Dill
  • Watermelon + Shiso
  • Pink Grapefruit + Tarragon
  • Green Apple + Parsley
  • Garlic + Habanero
  • Habanero + Ginger
  • Mango + Ginger
  • Basil mixed with: Strawberry, blackberries, watermelon, cucumber, and lemon.
  • Sage mixed with: Pear, plums, peaches, pineapple, and blackberries.
  • Rosemary mixed with: Grapefruit, strawberries, and peaches
  • Mint mixed with: watermelon, apricot, blueberries, cucumber, and pineapple.
  • Chili pepper with: Pineapple, guava, mango, melon, papaya, watermelon, coconut, and oranges.
  • Tamarind with: Watermelons, melons, guava, or tomatoes.

There are of course many, many more great combinations.  Habanero with mango or other fruits and herbs work nicely together. Also, you can even try roasting your ingredients.

  • Roasted pineapple
  • Roasted apples and cinnamon
  • Roasted pumpkin
  • Roasted pears cloves

Stay tuned for the next couple of months for cocktails based on the infused combinations above.  But if you can’t wait, on the rocks or up always work!!!!

Photo Sources: HolidayDrink.com, Google Images




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David Edessa

David Edessa

David Edessa spent over twenty years managing night clubs, bars, cafes, restaurants, and after hour clubs. He has traveled and operated in major markets like Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas, and Las Vegas, playing a major role in launching and managing restaurants. David has served as a consultant for California fine dining restaurants as well as for premier entertainment venues in Orange County, California. David has a knack for selecting the perfect taste and flavor combinations for both food and drink. He honed his skills on the culinary aspect of mixology and recipes development, with an understanding and appreciation of the liquors, beers, and wines of the world.
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5 Responses to “Make Your Own Infused Flavored Alcohol”

  • This was a great post! I love the flavor combinations.

    • David

      I’m glad you enjoy it….. I am planning future infusions on bourbons and brandy utilizing ingredients like rhubarb and bacon.

  • Michelle

    David, I’d love to use these infused alcohol ideas for Christmas, but would also love to add a recipe for the combos above. I’ve checked back on the blog, but have been unable to find the recipes you mentioned at the end of the Mar. 16, 2012, segment. Can you direct me to those recipes?

    • David

      Michelle thank you for your post.
      I will return to post on the infusions this week.

      With Cinco de Mayo so close by you can look forward to a jalapeño tequila infusion this week.
      Also, more to come….

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