Inject a Little Flavor
Infusing spirits is a simple way to tailor your liquor cabinet to your personal tastes while taking your bartending game to the next level.
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Josey Hill is the bar manager at Red Room at Flame, which is known for its infusions, and he shares the ins and outs of the process so you can try it at home.
1. Choose your liquor
According to Josey Hill, any liquor can be infused, so it all comes down to preference when choosing which spirit you want to work with. Regardless of the type of spirit you select, be sure to get a bottle that is at least of middle-shelf quality. The better quality of ingredients you begin with, the better quality your final product will be.
2. Choose your ingredients
The ingredients that can be used to infuse liquors run the culinary gamut. Fruits, roots (think ginger and garlic), herbs and spices are popular choices. When choosing ingredients, consider how the flavor of the ingredients will play off the tasting notes of the liquor. A couple of Hill’s favorite pairings are scotch with Bordeaux cherries or tequila with basil and pineapple.
3. Bottle it Up
Combine your ingredients and your preferred liquor in a large glass container that can be sealed. Then wrap the entire container in plastic wrap to make sure it is airtight. Store the container in a cool, dark place. Your refrigerator works great if you have the room.
4. Let It Infuse
To make sure the flavors of the ingredients sufficiently permeate the liquid, you want to allow the infusion enough time to steep. Porous ingredients like fruit only require about a week to infuse, whereas denser components like roots and spices need up to two weeks. Hill recommends changing out your fruit weekly, as it can eventually spoil.
5. Serve It
Once your infusion has reached your preferred intensity, it’s time to strain it. Pouring the liquid through cheesecloth removes sediment and ensures clarity. Once you’ve strained your infusion, it is ready to enjoy. Serve it on the rocks or in a cocktail of your concocting.
Candied Bacon Bourbon
10 strips of bacon, diced
¼ cup brown sugar
A fifth (750 milliliters) of Maker’s Mark bourbon
In a large skillet, sprinkle brown sugar over bacon and cook until done. Pat bacon dry with paper towels and place in a large glass container. Pour in Maker’s Mark. Wrap container with plastic wrap and store in a cool, dark place for two weeks. Strain mixture through cheesecloth and store in original bottle or in a decanter.