Infusing Liquor Recipes

Infusing Liquors on Columbus Culinary ConnectionIt’s no secret that I love a craft cocktail from places around town such as Curio, Mouton, or Denmark on High (posts to come, of course).  However, with all the snow central Ohio has been experiencing lately, sometimes you just want to curl up by the fire at home. Enter my new obsession: infusing liquor myself. It is super easy, and in all likelihood, you already have ingredients on hand to try one!

I have found that the larger-sized Mason jars are best for making these concoctions. They seal well, they have a built-in measurement guide on the jar, and because they are clear, you can see what is going on in there.

Blackberry BourbonBourbon with Blackberry Infusion Recipe

  • 2 cups quality bourbon
  • 1 pint fresh blackberries

Take a clean Mason jar and place the blackberries inside. Use a muddling stick or wooden spoon to break up the berries a little. This will help them start to macerate and release their juice into your bourbon.

Fill the Mason jar with the 2 cups bourbon. Place the lid on tightly, and put the jar in a cool, dark place like a cupboard. Every day, take the jar out and turn it upside down and shake it a little to be sure it distributes properly. Be patient, and find other delicious things to drink in the meantime. After about 7 days, the infusion is done. That’s it!

Blackberries and Bourbon in Mason Jar

Notice how the color has changed after 2 days.

As a bourbon aficionado, I drank Blackberry Bourbon both on the rocks and later, mixed with a little sweet tea, but I can’t wait for summer to come so I can add this to lemonade for a fruity and potent cocktail.

How long to let it sit? This really depends on the level of taste you want. Try a spoonful of the liquid every couple days until the desired taste is achieved.  For more potent items like cinnamon or coffee, you don’t need more than a few days. Fruits like pineapples and lemons, which break down more slowly, need a couple weeks.

The beauty of these infusions is that you can create as much or as little of the mixture as you’d like. If you aren’t quite sure how the pairing will work out, try it in a small amount. Have multiple infusion jars going at once so you are always prepared to make a new drink. The other wonderful aspect of infusions is that they take a lot of the alcohol “burn” out of the spirit, and can make you a believer in a liquor you might not normally sample.

Blackberry Bourbon on the Rocks

Enjoy on the rocks

Here are some of my other favorite pairings:

1. Gin + Cucumbers

I can’t stand cucumbers, but my friends love this one. Cucumbers are a pretty potent ingredient, so this one only needs a few days. Add some tonic or soda water and you’ve got a cocktail already.

2. Bourbon + Coffee

This one would be great churned in with some vanilla ice cream, but I have trouble saving it long enough. Hello brunch cocktails!

3. Rum + Pineapple

This duo screams to be mixed into any tropical drink. Margaritas, mojitos, daiquiris, you name it.

4. Apple + Cinnamon + Whiskey

Apple Pie Moonshine is trendy right now, but you can get a similar flavor and cut out the cooking step that the traditional recipe requires.

5. Vodka + Almost Anything

Take a page out of new slider joint Cray’s book and pair this neutral spirit with anything you can imagine. They have kinds with Skittles or gummy bears for martinis and even garlic for bloody marys. The possibilities are endless!

My new mission is to try and recreate the Mobster Manhattan from Prohibition Gastro Lounge, which used a maple bacon-infused Woodford Reserve.

What combos have you tried? Any suggestions for what infusion I should attempt next?  Leave them in the comments below.

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