Get in the holiday spirit, and by spirit, I mean a crafted spirit of bourbon and gin ( all other spirits are welcome)!
So my guy and I, enjoy a great crafted cocktail, and infused liquors. Having the same love for the history and style of 20's era ( underground speakeasies, jazz music, and a well made cocktail). We always find ourselves trying crafted cocktails at local bars, or concocting our own at his self made bar.
We decided to kick it up a notch and infuse our own spirits with our favorite fruits, spices, and herbs. This is relativly easy, all you have to worry about is getting all the materials and having it ready to go. I recommned planning out the flavors ahead of time, and buy all the ingridients on the day prior to making your infusions. Find your ingredients at local markets, specialty markets, and health stores! For ideas, think of all the flavor combinations you see in floral and sweet desserts. Start with cake flavors, and then move on to tea flavors, or just invent your own!
We also decided to make some tinctures. Tinctures are like your own extracts you have at home, made with an alcohol base. For example, taking our mason jar and filling half with berries and the rest with alcohol [Ever Clear], over a two week period the flavors from the berries have infused the alcohol and is now ready to be used in the next process. With these tinctures that we made, we plan on using the highly concentrated ingredients to make our own bitters and flavorings. Like the fun ones you see at the stores i.e. " Angastora", " Chocolate Clove". The more variety you have the better your "Tincture Library" to pull from and make some exciting flavors! [ I also made some tinctures for homepathic goods using chamomile, lavender, lemon grass etc., there are many benifits from tinctures! If you aren't ready to make your own, check out my favorite brand called BACH ( CLICK HERE). You can find them at whole foods and other health stores.]
All of these recipes were infused for two weeks. You can stop at one or even sooner, it really depends on your flavor profile. We wanted highly concentrated flavors, as we would be making some interesting cocktails with it. Though one did SHINE! It was so good, it tasted perfect neat (straight) or on ice! Keep your jars in a cool, dark place. Everyday you need to shake/whirl them, whichever. You can taste them eveyday until they reach the flavor you wish! Two weeks is more than enough, and for some two days might just be enough as well!
Cheese Cloth or Strainer
Mason Jars (quart size is what we used for the spirits, and 6 oz jars are what we used for the tinctures)
Labels (craft or office supply stores)
Small airtight containers for those extra loose ingrediants
Droppers, where the tincture will go post infusion.
TABLE SET AND PREPPED
Next, we get our list out of flavor groupings, and we go for it! Again, this is up to your flavor profile. Depending on the spirit for us, we will decide if we want it more flavor forward or spirit forward. We worked with two bourbon infusions, and two gin infusions. The gin we chose was "G&J GREENALL'S" and " BULLEIT BOURBON". Both are well rounded in taste and you don't pull distinct flavors out of them. Simple enought to work with, tasty, and well priced. You can always do this with vodka, rum, and or scotch! One of my favorites was a simple bacon infused whiskey! OH MAN THAT WAS AWESOME! Hopefully he makes that again soon and I'll log it for you all, that one is a much tedious process than the rest of these.
So below, we have pictured our ingredients from our infusions to either try or inspire you to change it up! Grab that quart sized mason jar, and be sure that the alcohol covers the ingredients completely so the air doesn't spoil any of your fresh ingredients!
GIN: Cardamom, Jasmine Green Tea, Thyme.
-Out of the four, this one had the most heat, and very cardamom forward (these little pods go a long way). Cardamom to me is a mix of cinnamon, ginger, and a hint of black pepper. Strange, I know, but you check it out, this aromatic pod is full of flavor!
BOURBON: Plum, Vanilla Pod, and Honey
-This one we found to be more spirit forward, and the flavor hints were subtle but still delish! You can always add more honey, and/or plums for more flavor. Be sure to split the vanilla pod open, you can scrape and scoop out the seeds and let them float in the alcohol.
GIN: Pear, Lavender, Rosemary
-Probably one of the most floral of the bunch. The herbal aromatics and the little sweetness from the pears balance out well. If you enjoy floral flavored teas and sweets, then this is the infusion for you. If mixed well with simple syrup, and some acidity I think it would be considered a boozy macaron!
BOURBON: Apple, Clove, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Vanilla Pod
This one was our favorite, it was so good we preffered it neat! Which can be dangerous [PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY]. Not pictured was the star anise, but definitly needed for this wonderful pairing! The apples sweetened the bourbon just right! The simple spice mix was probably what makes us think of the holiday season as we sipped it! We think the vanilla is what smoothed and balanced everything perfectly! We even tried a shot of this in our egg nog, lol, and it was divine! Publix sells the non alcoholic carton by Southern Comfort, GO GET IT NOW!!!!!
After the two weeks (or less) are up, strain the goods, and toss out the ingredients. The only ones we kept were the infused spiced apples, for apple sauce! If this is for a gift, there are many containers you can strain these into, we like anything from the mason jars, to vintage inspired bottles. We even kept the original bottles the alcohol came from to resuse as well.
These infusions are a great way to get in the ' Holiday Spirit' for your next ugly sweater party, or just a warm gathering with loved ones! We hope this inspired you to make some fun DIY's for yourself and friends. Go check your pantry, you might have all the ingredients you need!
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays EVERYONE!