Why make infused spirits?
• Infused alcohols are a delightful way to expand one’s cocktail repertoire and make unique gifts for holiday merriment. You have control over the ingredients you use and the amount of sugar you use so these can be tailored to your individual tastes and needs.
• Making your own infused spirits saves you money instead of purchasing pre-made, trendy, expensive Craft infusions.
• Experimenting with different flavors and spirits is great fun!
• Basic process:
• Get a clear jar such as a mason jar with a screw top lid.
• Choose your infusing material. If you use fresh plants, wash and dry them as well as you can.
• Fill the jar loosely with the fresh plant material.
• Cover with 80-100 Proof vodka or alcohol of choice, label and let sit for 2 -6 weeks. Vodka is a neutral flavored spirit that lets the flavoring agents shine. Brandy or whisky can be complimentary to other flavoring agents.
• Taste by the DROP to see when it is infused to your taste. Remove plant material discard.
• Strain infused alcohol if needed.
• If using Everclear or other high alcohol spirit, Dilute to 40% strength with water. YOU MUST DILUTE THIS BEFORE CONSUMING! This will give you an 80-proof liquor. Bottle, label and store for 2 weeks or longer before drinking.
FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES:
• Wash and dry food.
• For berries and whole fruits such as apples, peaches, and cucumbers, cut fruit into pieces small enough to fit in the jar.
• Fill jar loosely, cover with alcohol of choice, making sure plant is covered with liquid.
• Let sit for 2-6 weeks, tasting by the DROP to see if plant is infused to your liking. Remove fruit or veggie.
• If you use Everclear, DO NOT EAT THE FRUIT OR VEGGIE YOU REMOVED. That fruit is saturated with 95% alcohol and can do serious damage or even cause severe illness if consumed because it is very easy to consume a dangerous level of alcohol via the saturated fruit. Again DON’T EAT IT!!! Consume lower proof saturated fruits and veggies with extreme caution.
• Strain Liquor through fabric or coffee filters if needed.
• Dilute to 40% alcohol concentration or 80 Proof if using Everclear or other high proof alcohol
• Bottle, label and let sit for 2-6 weeks before drinking. Sweeten as needed.
• Fill jar 1/3 full with dried fruit then proceed as for fresh fruit.
• For citrus fruits, I don’t use the body of the fruit, only the rind. The intense flavor is in the rind of the fruit and I don’t want the sugars in the body of the fruit in my drink. I peel the fruit with a peeler, leaving the bitter white pith on the fruit and only using the colored peel. I fill my jar loosely with peel, cover with spirits and proceed as above, diluting to 40% alc. if necessary. You can experiment with using whole slices of citrus fruits if you like. I just don’t like the bitter flavors added by the pith nor do I want the extra sugar from the fruit.
Dried spices and teas
• Dried plant such as peppercorns, dried cocoa nibs, dried Black or Green tea: Here is where experimentation comes in. The amount of plant used depends on the strength and taste of the dried plant to begin with. I use ¼ of a jar of black peppercorns but only about 2t of green or black tea to a pint jar of alcohol. This process is very much like making a medicinal tincture; however, you are using less plant material and a shorter steeping time to coax out flavor agents and not unpalatable medicinal constituents. Let your tastebuds be your guide.
• For things other than tea, start with about ¼ of a jar of dried plant, cover with alcohol and steep 2-weeks, tasting by the drop for the preferred level of flavor.
• Strain and if using Everclear, dilute to 40% alcohol by volume, bottle, label and let sit for 2 or more weeks.
• For Tea infusions such as dried Green or Black Tea (Camellia Sinensis), start with 2 teaspoons of loose tea per pint of vodka and only let the tea infuse for 2-10 hours, again tasting for strength. Strain, dilute and bottle as above. Steeping green or black tea in vodka really brings out the subtle flavorings of different tea strains making a delightful sipping spirit. Over-steeping them however will bring out the tannins and bitter flavors.
• I make coffee liquor in a different way. It is a bit more work, but I think it produces a smooth liquor with a rich coffee flavor.
• I make a quantity of cold brew coffee, 1# ground coffee and 10-12 cups of cold filtered water. (I make a lot at once because it takes time to do) Mix them together in a jar and let sit overnight or 24 hours, a minimum of 4 hours. Strain through a coffee filter.
• THEN: 10oz Everclear or 190 proof grain/clear alcohol 12oz cold brewed coffee concentrate 1/2 T vanilla extract 10 Drop sucralose= approx 1/2 cup Splenda.
•If you can use sugar use simple syrup to sweeten to taste Mix together. This makes an 80-proof beverage or 40% alcohol Regular Kahlua is 40-proof so BE CAREFUL!!!! you can dilute it down to 40-proof by adding more coldbrew coffee.
To sweeten your liquors
• For sweetening, I am diabetic so I personally use liquid sucralose. I add it by the drop to get the desired level of sweet with no added carbs or calories.
• For folks who can tolerate sugar, use a simple syrup made of a 1:1 ratio of sugar to water, (1 cup sugar to 1 cup water) boiled until dissolved and cooled. I can’t tell you how much sugar syrup to use because it depends on how sweet you like your liquors, Be aware that using a high amount of syrup will dilute your liquor down to lower than 40%. This should not be a problem as most things are pretty well preserved at 20% alcohol by volume, but this is something to keep in mind.
• Experiment with other alcohols to change the flavor and effect of your liquor. Here is an example of the difference between using White Rum 151, and Everclear to infuse dried coconut flakes. The rum infusion is clear and sweet while the Everclear infusion is purely flavored of coconut.
• Have fun experimenting and DRINK RESPONSIBLY!
• A note on my experiments. When I first began to infuse my booze I chose to use Everclear to try to limit the amount of residual sugars leached from the fruit as I was newly diagnosed with diabetes. After experimenting, I found that 100 proof vodka worked much better for general infusing and using Bourbon or Rye or Tequila worked very well as my palate refined. The images you see here are from my initial experiments in 2010.
• Vanilla extract
• Coffee liquor
• Coconut rum
• Orange liquor
• Strawberry/raspberry vodka
• Mint cordial
• Apple liquor
• Berry Liquor
• Rosemary liquor
• Cucumber liquor
• Cocoa nib liquor
• Tea liquor
• Fresh Ginger root
• Cucumber vodka
• Black pepper vodka
• Green tea vodka
• unsweetened coconut flakes in rum
• ginger root vodka
• Fennel frond and seed vodka.
• Pomegranate vodka,
• Cranberry vodka,
• Habanero tequila
• Rosemary vodka
• Bacon Vodka
• Grapefruit vodka
• You are only limited by your imagination and alcohol tolerance!
• Websites that are helpful in the process:
• for diluting 95% alc to 40%
• https://imbibemagazine.com/recipe/roasted-cocoa-nib-infused-vodka/ for inspiration
• http://www.penzeys.com/ the best dried spices out there
• http://www.sks-bottle.com/340c/fin120k.html split a case with a friend.