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Catch the Spirit

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Photo by Kara Hebert
Photo by Kara Hebert

As the new standard bar ingredient in many Southern bars, infused liquors are hot— and if you are interested in making them at home, all you need is alcohol and the raw ingredients you want to infuse.

For beginners we recommend vodka, tequila, and gin. Simply put everything together in a bottle with an airtight top, place in a dark, cool place and wait. Waiting can be the hardest part of the entire process. The longer you let the infusing ingredients steep, the stronger the flavor. Once you are satisfied with the strength, strain out all solids and return the spirit to its original bottle and you have created a thoughtful, one-of-a-kind product that you can either gift to a lucky recipient or keep to personalize your own bar cart.

After tasting a particularly amazing lavender-infused martini (I could not stop thinking about it), I decided to do my own vodka infusion experiment. I chose to do a variety of different flavors and ended up with the following : jalapeno, hibiscus, cayenne, peach cayenne, peach, rose hips, lavender, and vanilla lavender.

The results? Honestly, some of them turned out great while others… well, tasted like cleaning products. Unfortunately, the lavender was one of the latter, along with the rose hips and hibiscus. All three of them had an overly floral taste that did not delight the taste buds. The flavors that created more successful infusions were the jalapeno, cayenne and peach.

As long as you stick to a few general guidelines, you can let your imagination run wild and basically infuse anything

  1. Taste your infusion every day. This is very important, as you don’t want to over-infuse your liquor. Once the concoction reaches your desired potency, remove the infusion ingredients.
  2. If you plan to infuse with tea, opt for loose tea, or after about a day the paper will start to disintegrate.
  3. Don’t infuse ingredients you wouldn’t normally enjoy. If you don’t like them on their own, you won’t like them infused in liquor.

Ready, set, infuse!!