Boozed + Infused

Infusing liqueurs at home with inspiring and seasonal ingredients


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Habanero Honey Whiskey Recipe

If you like whiskey and honey, and a little bit lot of spice, this one is for you!

It is fun to come up with booze infusion ideas for friends. All you have to do is pay attention to things that they like, and do your best to infuse their favorite flavors into their alcohol of choice.

Habanero Honey Whiskey

A friend recently told me that she loves honey whiskey. She also told me that she likes spicy food, “the hotter the better”. That same friend just had a birthday. So her birthday gift was Habanero Honey Whiskey. Well, Habanero Honey Whiskey and glitter, because “glitter and whiskey define me” she said.

Habanero Honey Whiskey

1/4 cup honey (about 85 grams)

1 medium cinnamon stick (about 4 grams)

1 habanero pepper* (optional)

Lemon zest – from about 1/3 to 1/2 of a medium lemon (about 5 grams of zest)

1 1/2 ounces Water

1 cup Bourbon or Whiskey of your choice

Remove the stem of the habanero and quarter the pepper, keeping the seeds intact. Place the first five ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer on low heat. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove the habanero with tongs or a fork. Allow the rest of the mixture to cool completely. Strain out the solids with a mesh strainer.

Pour the honey mixture into a pint jar or other infusion vessel. Add the bourbon or whiskey, and close the jar tight. Shake well to combine.

After 24-48 hours, strain through a coffee filter, and let the infusion rest for a few days before drinking.

Depending on how much heat you can take, feel free to use only part of the habanero or omit the seeds.

* Use caution when handling hot peppers. Use gloves if possible and wash hands thoroughly.

Habanero honey whiskey ingredients

This infusion has the sweetness of the honey, the heat of the habanero, and it sure makes me want some honey whiskey!

Do you like your booze spicy?

Infusing honey

Cheers!

Habanery Honey Gliiter Whiskey

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Winter Spice Bourbon Recipe

Happy 2014! My New Year’s Resolution is to infuse more booze! I mean it. I didn’t post very many new recipes last year, and I promise you that this year will be different.

Winter Spice Bourbon

Our first infusion for this year is Winter Spice Bourbon. Let’s get right to it.

Winter Spice Bourbon

1 medium cinnamon stick (about 4 grams)

3 whole cloves

10 whole allspice berries

zest of 1 orange (I peeled it into large strips, but you could use a microplane)

20 grams (about 4 halves) dried plums or other dried fruit (you could use raisins or currants)

2 cups (480 mL) Bourbon or whiskey of your choice

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Combine all ingredients in a large jar or bottle, close tight. Shake well and let it sit for a few days to a few weeks. I filtered mine at 12 days, and the flavor it strong. I think you could certainly filter sooner if it tastes to your liking. Let the infusion rest for a week or so after filtering, the flavor will mellow.

This infusion will be great in lots of cocktails. Try it in a winter hot toddy, a manhattan, old fashioned, or just sip it on its own.

I have more infusions in the works… so stay tuned!

What are you drinking and infusing this winter?

Winter Spice Bourbon

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Peppermint Bark Liqueur

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What do you do if your Secret Santa recipient says they like peppermint bark candy and Grey Goose Vodka? You make peppermint bark liqueur!

The flavor of this liqueur is very pepperminty! The chocolate flavor is more subtle, but to remedy that, I’ve increased the cacao nibs in the recipe. (Plus, I had to gift this to my co-worker before it had a lot of time to infuse. A longer infusion time will definitely help!)

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Peppermint Bark Vodka

1.5 ounces Candy Canes (about 10 mini candy canes) or Peppermint Candies

1/3-1/2 cup Cacao Nibs

1 1/2 cups Vodka

4 Tablespoons Simple Syrup (or to taste)

Crush the candy canes. Combine first three ingredients in a jar, and close tightly. Shake well to combine. The candy canes will dissolve quickly, but it will take a while for the cacao nibs to infuse properly into the vodka. Ideally, you would wait about 4 weeks for full infusion. I only had 10 days for mine. I tried filtering the liqueur, but I wanted the cacao nibs to infuse further. So I added the simple syrup to taste, and then put some of the nibs back into the gift bottle. Normally I am not a proponent of gifting without filtering, but what I liked about this infusion is that the cacao nibs in the liqueur give it a bit of a “snow globe” look. The presentation is actually lovely.

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If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own peppermint bark liqueur, or if you like it much heavier on the chocolate, I would recommend the Peppermint Bark Liqueur from Eastside Distilling. It is very chocolatey and very delicious.

I hope your holidays are filled with cheer!

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Halloween Infusion part 3: Caramel Corn Liqueur

Last year, at the suggestion of Evelyn from Momsicle, our small group of Portland area bloggers got together for a Halloween candy-inspired infusion party. This post is intended to continue the series of Halloween infusions that we started last year. The infusions we made last year included Caramel Apple Liqueur and Chocolate Orange Liqueur.

Corn infusion

The recipe I am about to give you was originally made for that same gathering. When I think of Halloween, I have visions of popcorn balls and caramel corn. I was determined to make a caramel corn liqueur. I made two variations. One was with raw corn, the other with boiled corn. I infused them each in vodka and added caramel syrup. The trouble was, the corn flavor was not very strong. I probably should have infused actual popcorn into the vodka. The resulting liqueur was still delicious! It just didn’t quite have the flavor profile I was going for.

Eventually, I gave a few bottles of the caramel corn liqueur to two different friends. Both of them declared that this was their favorite! So I decided I should share the caramel-goodness with you too!

Caramel Corn Liqueur

1 medium-sized ear of corn (about one cup of corn kernels)

1 1/2 cups of vodka (360 mL)

4-5 Tablespoons of Caramel Syrup (or more or less to taste)

You can try either raw corn or cooked (as mentioned above, we tried both raw and boiled). I think grilled would be nice (or try adding air-popped popcorn). Cut the corn off the cob, and place it in a canning jar or other bottle. Add the vodka, and allow to infuse until it reaches your desired flavor (we infused for about 2 months, but I’m sure you could do a much shorter time).

Strain and filter the corn out of the vodka with cheesecloth and coffee filters.

Make the Caramel Syrup according to directions from Homebrew Underground (we made only 1/3 of the recipe). Allow the syrup to cool completely before adding to the corn-vodka infusion. Begin to add the caramel syrup to the corn-vodka infusion one Tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired flavor.

Caramel Corn Liqueur

Chill, and enjoy on its own, or in some sweet cocktails!

Cheers!

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Halloween Infusion part 2: Chocolate Orange Liqueur

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Boozy Spiced Sugar Plums

This time of year is very busy for food preservationists. It can be very easy to get overwhelmed with tomato projects. But this is very important. Put the tomatoes down and get yourself some plums. You know, those lovely Italian Prune-plums. The same variety we used to make Plum Liqueur.

Boozy Plums in Syrup

I have tried a lot of new canning recipes this year… but I have a favorite that I am about to share with you. And I promise you will love it!

Armed with a plethora of Italian prune-plums, I made a batch of plum sauce and then decided I wanted to make some stewed plums with a sugary-boozy sauce. We typically make boozy-sugary preserved cherries, but I didn’t make any this year so I thought this would be a good stand in for holiday gift giving. We opened up a jar last night, and it was pure heaven! I just finished mopping up the last of the sauce with a piece of angelfood cake. That is a combination that you must try.

Italian Prune Plums

Boozy Spiced Sugar Plums (makes 8 pints) adapted from Tall Clover Farm

4 to 4 1/2 lbs plums (we used the Italian prune plums, but you could probably use any variety)

1 lb. dark brown sugar

4 c. water

2 oranges

1 1/2 – 2 c. brandy (or other booze of your choice) – optional

4 cinnamon sticks, broken in half

4-8 pieces of star anise – optional

8 whole cloves

1 1/2″ piece of ginger, cut into 8 slices

Prepare a hot water bath canner, jars, lids, etc. Sterilize the jars.

Halve the plums and remove the pits.

With a vegetable peeler, remove the zest from the oranges in long strips, being careful not to remove the white pith. Juice the oranges and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, combine the water, brown sugar, and orange juice. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.

In hot sterilized jars, place the following in each jar:

1/2 cinnamon stick

1 whole clove

1 slice of ginger

1 star anise (optional)

1-2 long strips of orange zest

Pack the plums into the jars, cut-side down. Pack the fruit really well, leaving 1 inch of headspace.*

Pour 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of brandy into each jar (if using)

Pour sugar syrup into each jar, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles and add more syrup if needed.

Wipe the rims of the jars, and top with jar lid and jar ring. Bring to finger-tip tightness.

Place pints in a water-bath canner and bring to a boil. After it comes to a full, rolling boil, process for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and remove the lid. Leave jars in canner for another 5 minutes. Remove from canner.

*The headspace is very important, be sure to leave a full inch.

Boozy Plums in Jars

When I was making the syrup, I was afraid it would be overly sweet. But I assure you, the finished product will be perfect. It tastes delightfully of plums, while having hints of orange and a gentle spice of cinnamon, clove and ginger. (I have not tried the ones with star anise yet…)

We made a few jars with the star anise, and a few without. We even made some jars without the brandy for those who are alcohol-free.

If you would like to try a different spirit in this, I think bourbon or rum would be very nice.

Please try making these. You will thank me later…

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Local Distillery: Stone Barn Brandyworks

Editor’s Note: This guest post comes to us from a favorite local blogger, Evelyn Shoop. Evelyn is a freelance writer, and can be found at Momsicle. She is also quickly becoming a booze-infusing genius.
Thank you Evelyn for writing this great post and getting the word out about one of Portland’s great craft distilleries.
The best night out is sometimes marked by what you don’t make it to. Recently, we went with friends to Portland’s craft brandy distiller, Stone Barn Brandyworks. We were supposed to go to another distillery afterwards, but we fell in love and just stayed at Stone Barn. (You know those guests who just won’t leave? That was us.)
photo by Elisabeth Kang

photo by Elisabeth Kang

Stone Barn was started as a passionate hobby by Portland couple Erika and Sebastian, who will admit that their youngest child was a bit of a distillery-orphan at the end of high school as they spent more and more time distilling and trying out new recipes.
When we arrived, Sebastian was distilling a pear cider, and we got to stick our heads in the giant distiller to take in the luxurious aroma as cider poured in. This was going to be turned in to a type of French, fortified liqueur (like a port, but with pears).
The advantage of visiting a small, local distillery is that the enthusiasm is almost as potent as the fruity, alcohol-laced air. And sitting amongst distillery equipment makes you think you might be in a Medieval alchemist’s lab, which isn’t the case at a more contrived tasting room.
Stone Barn has over a dozen types of brandy, whisky, and infused liqueurs to try–thanks to Sebastian’s passion for mixing different grains, fruit, and barrel-aging processes. Our favorites were the apricot, coffee, and green walnut liqueurs. The apricot, in particular, tastes like handfuls of apricots were smashed into a bottle and then drizzled with honey.
But their whiskies, and–of course–brandies, are well-worth tasting.
The real star of our night, however, was the whisky sour that Sebastian made with Stone Barn’s whiskey and apricot liqueur.
Stone Barn Brandyworks liqueurs and brandies are sold in many local liquor stores (and occasionally at farmers markets), so if you are looking for a great gift, ask about it. But definitely stop by for a tasting. Stone Barn is open for tastings on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays; and other times, such as Friday evenings, by request.
photo by Evelyn Shoop

photo by Evelyn Shoop

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Blueberry-Orange Liqueur for Party Cocktails!

Going to a fun summer party or cookout? Bring some infused booze!

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When we were invited to a family barbeque, I knew the best thing to bring would be a fun and easy infusion. I had a few weeks, so I knew there would be time to allow the flavors to infuse well. What did we make? Well, because we had blueberries and oranges in the house, I decided to be lazy and just go with whatever was handy. But really, you can come up with any combination you want. While we already had an infusion recipe for Blueberry Gin, we wanted to test out a little easier version. I think you will find this one to be really simple! (No cooking of the berries like the previous version.)

For a summer barbeque, we also wanted to be able to make easy, refreshing cocktails, so we chose an infusion that could easily be made into a simple highball.

Blueberry-Orange Liqueur

3 c. Frozen Blueberries (smashed)*

Zest of 1 Orange

750 mL Clear Liquor – 80 proof (we used Gin, but you could use vodka, rum, cachaça)

1/3 c. sugar

Combine all ingredients into a large glass jar or vessel. Shake well to combine. Infuse for 2-3 weeks or longer, depending on when your party is. Strain and filter, and return to the bottle (or something larger). Now you are ready to party!

*Note: we used frozen berries, as I did in our previous Blueberry Gin, but you could try fresh as well.

For the party, we thought it would be easiest to make Gin & Tonics. And who wouldn’t love a Blueberry-Orange G&T? All you need are a few bottles of tonic, a few lemons (we thought the lemon would go better with the blueberry-orange flavor than lime) and your home-infused booze!

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Blueberry-Orange Gin & Tonic

2 oz. Blueberry-Orange Liqueur

4 oz. Tonic

Lemon Wedge

Ice

Fill glass with ice. Add the blueberry-orange liqueur and tonic. Stir well, squeeze the lemon wedge and add to the glass. Alternatively, you could mix up a big batch in a pitcher and let everyone help themselves. (This did not last long at our gathering, so you could make a double or triple batch.)

Now go enjoy your party!

What kind of fun infusions will you bring to summer barbeques and cookouts this year? (Yes, sangria counts…)

Cheers!

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