Boozed + Infused

Infusing liqueurs at home with inspiring and seasonal ingredients


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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

Directions

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?

Cheers~

 

 

 


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Bourbon Apple Pies

Apple pie bourbon, and bourbon apple pies!?! Yes, that’s right.

Last winter I posted a recipe for Apple Pie Bourbon, which is an infusion of apples, cinnamon and vanilla bean in bourbon. The result is a delicious concoction that tastes like you are drinking an apple pie (perfect for the holidays). That post continues to be one of our most popular. And if you haven’t made it yet, now is a good time to start.

This is a great time of year to infuse apples, as well as other fall fruits.

Bourbon-soaked apples strained from Apple Pie Bourbon

When you strain the apples out of the bourbon, save them so that you can make Bourbon Apple Pies (discard the cinnamon stick and vanilla bean). You will be glad you did! If you aren’t ready to use them immediately, you can keep them in the freezer.

Bourbon Apple Pies

For the filling:
4 scant cups bourbon-soaked apples (from Apple Pie Bourbon)
2 T. Butter
1/2 -3/4 c. Brown sugar
2 T. Lemon juice
2-3 pinches of salt
2 T. Flour
2/3 c. Walnuts (toasted, and roughly chopped)

For the crust:
Puff pastry (one sheet, or a half of a package)
1 egg
1 T. Water

Roughly chop the bourbon-soaked apples into 1-inch pieces. Place the apples, butter, 1/2 c. brown sugar, lemon juice and salt in a medium, heavy bottom saucepan. Bring the mixture to a simmer on medium heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, continuing to stir frequently. When the apples are tender and much of the liquid has started to thicken, make a hole in the center, and whisk in the flour. Taste the mixture and if desired, add another 1/4 c. sugar. Simmer and stir for another 2-3 minutes.

Cook until your apple mixture reaches this consistency

Remove from heat and stir in the toasted walnuts. Set aside.

While the apple mixture is cooking, set out your puff pastry and allow to thaw. I’m not much of a baker, so I opted for the pre-made puff pastry. Alternatively you could make your own crust and use the filling in any manner of pies. We made these into small hand pies.

When the puff pastry is thawed, coat your countertop with a thin layer of flour and roll out the pastry until it is about 1/2 thickness of the original. This would make about 4 large hand pies. We made into 6 small and 2 medium hand pies, but the ones with more apple mixture were preferred. Next time I will make these all medium to large sized.

Cut the puff pastry into the size and shape of your hand pies. Place on a baking sheet that has been lines with a silicone liner or parchment. Spoon the apple mixture onto the dough. Don’t spoon too much liquid into the pies, it will run out and get messy while baking.

Small apple hand pies

Medium-sized hand pies

Crimp the ends/sides of the dough together and vent with a few holes on top.

Create an egg wash by whisking together the egg and 1 TB water. Brush each pie lightly with the egg wash.

Bake in a 375 degree oven until the dough is fully cooked and golden brown.

The small pies took about 15 minutes, and the medium pies took about 23 minutes. If you are making larger pies, they will take a little longer. Watch them closely.

Allow them to cool, then serve.

I made these small to accommodate a larger group, but next time I would make these the medium to large size. The apple mixture is the star.

The filling would also be nice served on pancakes or ice cream if you want to skip the crust. Any way you make this, it will be delicious.

Enjoy!


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Halloween Infusion: Caramel Apple Liqueur

What are your Halloween plans this year? Perhaps a better question would be, what are your Halloween cocktail plans this year?

There are lots of great ideas and inspirations out there for Halloween drinks, and Evelyn from Momsicle suggested we get together for a pre-holiday Halloween-inspired infusion party. Poppy from Funny or Snot and Krista from Mostly Mommyhood were also on board for an early afternoon Happy Hour, and our group grew to five as our new friend Jodi from The Mama Gut joined the festivities.

We made most of the drinks “fun size” so that we could taste-test all of them. While I was never able to understand how a miniature candy bar could be “fun”, I was definitely on board with “fun size” cocktails!

Caramel apples were always a big treat around Halloween when I was growing up. So I set out to create a Caramel-Apple Liqueur, and based on the reactions at our fun-sized party (and how quickly these little shots disappeared) this is a keeper!

Apples in Vodka

Caramel-Apple Liqueur

2 Granny Smith Apples- cored & sliced

2 c. Vodka

1/2 c. Caramel Syrup (or to taste)

Core and slice the apples, and place in a glass jar. Pour vodka over the apples, making sure you have enough to cover. If needed you can add more vodka. Close the jar and place in a dark, cool location. Allow to infuse for 3-4 weeks.

Strain and filter through cheesecloth and coffee filters.

Prepare Caramel Syrup. I followed this recipe from Homebrew Underground (I made only 1/3 of the recipe).
Allow the syrup to cool completely before adding to your apple infusion.

Apple Infused Vodka and Jar of Caramel Syrup

Add caramel syrup One Tablespoon at a time until it reaches your desired taste. I thought that both the apple flavor and caramel flavors were enhanced after chilling the liqueur in the freezer, so err on the side of adding less caramel than you may initially think.

We served these chilled in shot glasses with a slice of a caramel apple, and they were delicious! If you like caramel apples, you will not be disappointed.

Other seasonal drinks included cider with peanut bourbon, Payday Candy Bar shots, Chocolate-Orange martinis, and Ginger-lemon-pear vodka.

Our mini-party also included some fun Halloween snacks thanks to Krista. Find her directions for Frankenweenie pizzas here.

I can’t wait to hear about your Halloween cocktail plans…

Cheers!

Frankenweenie Mummy Pizzas

Monster Cheese Heads

Caramel Apple Shots

 

Related Posts:

Halloween Infusion Part 2: Chocolate-Orange Liqueur

Apple Liqueur

Apple Pie Bourbon

 

Caramel Apple Liqueur on Punk Domestics


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Apple Liqueur

If you are interested in trying a simple liqueur and don’t know where to start, apples are a great ingredient. The photo above may appear to be tart green apples, but these are actually a sweet green apple, picked from my parents’ farm.

Ingredients:

Apples, sliced and cored

Brandy

Vodka

Place apple slices in a canning jar or glass vessel with a lid. Use equal parts brandy and vodka, using enough to cover your apples.

Infuse until the liquid reaches your desired taste. I let this infuse for about 4 weeks. The combination of sweet apples and brandy gave a great apple flavor, with no need for any sugars or additional sweeteners.  After infusing, strain and filter the liqueur. Bottle and enjoy!

Apples can really be used with any spirit. Looking to use up a spiced rum? We were… see below.

Related Posts:

Apple Pie Bourbon

Caramel Apple Liqueur

Apple Liqueur on Punk Domestics


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Apple Pie Bourbon

This infusion is very easy to make. Both bourbon lovers and bourbon abstainers love this concoction.

I found some similar recipes that called for a 2-5 day infusion. Lately, I have seen a lot of tips that call for infusing liqueurs for only a few days. I taste all my infusions frequently, and while some ingredients may act quickly, I prefer to infuse most of my liqueurs for a longer time period. Sometimes it may take months. Use your judgment here, but I let this marinate about a month.

Apple Pie Bourbon

750 ml Bourbon

3 Granny smith apples (or enough to cover)

Cinnamon Stick

1/2 vanilla bean, split

Slice and core the apples. Discard the cores. Place the apple slices, cinnamon, and vanilla bean in a large jar. Add bourbon, making sure it covers all the apples slices. Close tightly and stir or shake every few days. Allow to infuse for about a month or until it reaches your desired taste. Keep in mind that the flavors will mellow and change over time. Strain and filter through a strainer, cheesecloth, and coffee filters.

Almost immediately, the harsh alcohol flavor was mellowed. The cinnamon took over pretty quickly. Be patient, the rest of the flavors will come through. After infusing for a month, the apple and vanilla were much stronger. And as with many infusions, flavors change and mellow after all of the ingredients are filtered out. A few weeks after straining, the cinnamon flavor was less intense and the liqueur was a very balanced, apple pie taste. This has been a favorite of many! We will make it again, and probably try some variations as well.

* Save the apples when you strain the bourbon. They make a great filling for Bourbon Apple Pies!

Related Posts:

Bourbon Apple Pies

Infused Bourbon

Apple Liqueur

Caramel Apple Liqueur

Apple Pie Bourbon on Punk Domestics