Boozed + Infused

Infusing liqueurs at home with inspiring and seasonal ingredients


Caramel Simple Syrup Recipe

Caramel syrup is a great way to give a rich caramel flavor to alcohol infusions and cocktails.

Caramel Syrup

Caramel Simple Syrup

2 cups white sugar

2 cups water

Place the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan and turn heat on low. Allow the sugar to start melting slowly.  No need to stir until the sugar begins to melt (which may take more than 10 minutes depending on how hot your burner is). As the sugar starts melting, turn the melted sugar on top of the undissolved sugar. Allow the sugar to continue to melt, stirring only occasionally. Once the sugar has fully dissolved, allow the sugar to come to a boil, making sure the sugar is not sticking to the sides of the pan.

Continue to boil until the sugar reaches a rich amber/copper color. Once it has reached the desired color, remove the pan from the heat.

I recommend wearing oven mitts/gloves and long sleeves for the next step as this can splatter and melted sugar is very dangerous.

Slowly pour the water into the sugar, stirring continuously until it becomes a smooth liquid. If there are any hard bits of sugar/caramel that won’t dissolve in the water, return the pan to the stove on low just until they melt, stirring constantly.

Remove from heat and allow to cool somewhat. Place in a heatproof glass jar and close tightly.

This will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator. Be sure to allow this to cool completely before adding it to any alcohol recipes.

This is what I use when I make Caramel Apple Liqueur and Caramel Corn Liqueur, but if would also work really well in many other infusions.  It also is wonderful in many cocktails.



11 Favorite Holiday Booze Infusions

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

Peppermint Bark Liqueur

This is such a great time of year! No matter which holiday you celebrate, now is the time to get into the holiday spirit. Between holiday parties, family gatherings, gift giving and more, there are many reasons to start a holiday booze infusion right now!

A few years ago, I put together a list of some great holiday infusions (Holiday Fun Time). But since then, I have added a handful of holiday-themed booze infusions to the blog. I thought it would be a good time to share with you some of my favorite infusions for this time of year (and really, any time of year).

So here they are, in no particular order…

1. Gingerbread Liqueur – this one tastes just like gingerbread, and takes only a few days for the full infusion. Plenty of time to enjoy it this holiday season!

Gingerbread simmer

2. Peppermint Bark Liqueur – candy canes and cacao nibs in vodka!


3. Pimento Dram – see why many people call this Christmas in a glass…

Allspice in rum

4. Apple Pie Bourbon – find out why this is our most popular infusion

Apple Pie Bourbon 1

5. Coffee Bourbon – I can’t tell you how great this is… you need to try it for yourself.

Coffee Bourbon

6. Winter Spice Liqueur – this is my attempt at turning the “Christmas Fragrance” of my childhood into a liqueur. And it is delicious!

holiday spice liqueur-ep

7. Irish Cream – this is ready immediately and is hard to resist…


8. Cherry Bourbon – this is one of my all-time favorites!

dried cherry bourbon

9. Quick & Simple Limoncello – who doesn’t love limoncello? This fast and easy recipe will be infused well before the holidays!


10. Pear & Cranberry Liqueur – these are a few of my favorite flavors of the holidays.


11. Oak Aged Manhattan – this is great for parties or gifts. It is a pre-mixed batch of cocktails, that has aged and mellowed with oak. If you like Manhattans, you must try it!


Oak Aged Rye Manhattan

I wish you a very happy holiday season filled with joy! Cheers~

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Holiday Fun Time

Booze Infusion Index


Apple Spice Liqueur


This fall, I was making a big batch of apple butter with some delicious, sweet apples from my parents’ farm. As I cored and peeled the many many apples (and no, I do not yet have an apple peeler/corer), I decided it would be a shame to toss all of those fabulous apple scraps. Even though the worms in my compost bin would love them, I figured there would be a much better use… how about apple spice liqueur?

This recipe is very versatile. Feel free to use any apple variety that you enjoy, and the alcohol of your choice. I had a large bottle of silver rum, and thought it would be great with apples, spices, and brown sugar. You can also use whatever spice combination you prefer.

One of the most common questions I get is about the need to refrigerate the infusions. One of the most important factors in avoiding refrigeration is ensuring your final alcohol content is high enough. My rule of thumb when using an 80 proof spirit is to ensure the original liquor content is at least 50% of the total volume. So if you are placing your ingredients into a quart jar, make sure to fit at least 2 cups of 80 proof liquor. As long as you can close the jar, you can add as much of the other ingredients as you like.

I made three versions of the apple spice liqueur, all of which turned out great. I’m actually going to mix them all together for the final product and bottle them for the holidays.

Apple Spice Liqueur

2 cups Rum or spirit of your choice (480 mL)

1/3 to 1/2 cup brown sugar

1 large cinnamon stick

6 whole allspice

2 cloves

Apple peels or apple slices

Place the first 5 ingredients in a quart jar. Add the apple peels and/or slices until the jar is full. Close the jar tightly and shake to help dissolve the sugar.

Place in a dark, cool spot for about a month, or until it reaches your desired flavor.

Strain and filter the liqueur, bottle, and enjoy!


Have a very happy Thanksgiving! Cheers~

Related Posts

Apple Pie Bourbon

Holiday Infusion Ideas

Apple Liqueur


Cran-Apple Hot Toddies

Brrrrrrr… it’s cold out there! We even had some snow/ice in Portland, Oregon last week! And cold weather makes me long for warm beverages.

Hot Toddy

So with Thanksgiving quickly approaching, I would like to introduce you one of my favorite beverages for this time of year, the Cran-Apple Hot Toddy. These are great to serve for your guests on Thanksgiving (or any cold evening, really). I also found that my Hot Apple Toddy and Hot Cranberry Toddy recipes were a bit strong for company, so this version is a little toned down so that the guests don’t get too smashed…

Below are recipes to serve 2 as well as to serve 6, but feel free to increase the recipe as needed to make enough for your guests. If you serve them in small mugs, I find it goes well with dessert (or appetizers) on Thanksgiving, and you can stretch the batch that serves 6 a bit. (Although I never like to have too little alcohol when I have guests!)

Cran-Apples Toddies (to serve 2)
6 oz apple juice
1.5 oz cranberry juice (100% cranberry *not cranberry cocktail)
3 oz water
spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves)
honey (2-3 swirls around pan – or about 2-3 teaspoons)
1.5 TB Sugar (or to taste)
2 lemon wedges (small squeeze into mug, plus top with a lemon round)

4 oz brandy (or other booze of your choice – bourbon or rum would be great)

1 oz cointreau or triple sec

Cran-Apple Toddies (to serve 6)
2 1/4 cups apple juice
4.5 oz cranberry juice (100% cranberry juice – *not cranberry cocktail)
9 oz water
6 lemon wedges (plus a bit more lemon juice to squeeze on top)
spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves)
2-3 honey (6-8 swirls around the pan – or about 1-2 Tablespoons)
4.5 TB Sugar (0r to taste)

1.5 cups brandy (or other booze of your choice – bourbon or rum would be great)

3 oz cointreau or triple sec


In a small saucepan, combine the apple juice, cranberry juice, water, spices (cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg), honey and sugar. Place pan on stove until starts to simmer and the honey and sugar have dissolved. Remove from heat, add the alcohol, and stir. Pour into glasses, squeeze a few drops of lemon and top with lemon round. If using whole spices, feel free to add a few to the mugs for decoration and flavor.

When I am serving this at a party or group dinner, I find it works well to keep it in a coffee pot (after heating) with the warming setting on. Alternatively you could place it in a crockpot (especially for a really large gathering). Please be careful to make sure that the lid is vented so that the alcohol vapors can escape. And safer yet, you can just mix the alcohols separately, place in a small bottle next to the carafe of hot juice, and allow guests to add their own alcohol to the drink (then there is also a non-alcoholic version available as well).

For the spices, you certainly don’t have to use whole spices. I find it tastes great both ways, but if using ground spices, beware of the final pour, it can be very spice-heavy.

As for alcohol, I typically make this with brandy, but it would be delicious with a large variety of spirits.

And a final note on the cranberry juice… I can’t say enough about how delicious the strong, utterly tart flavor of 100% cranberry juice is. If you have only ever tried cranberry cocktail, this flavor may be very strong for you. It is the 100% cranberry juice that really dictates adding so much sugar and honey to this recipe. If you are not able to find 100% cranberry juice (although it is usually very easy to find in the healthfood section of most large grocery stores) you could try substituting cranberry cocktail – but then please omit the sugar and honey. I have not tried this with cranberry cocktail, and the flavor would probably be lost in the rest of the drink.


For those of you who have been paying attention, yes, it has been a *very* long time since my last post. I’m very sorry about that. I missed you all! I will try not to do that again! Plus, it is the holiday season… and who doesn’t love infusing booze around the holidays?






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


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


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


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!)


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.


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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Gingerbread Liqueur

Holiday Liqueurs – Eastside Distilling