Boozed + Infused

Infusing liqueurs at home with inspiring and seasonal ingredients


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Apple Spice Liqueur

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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!

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Have a very happy Thanksgiving! Cheers~

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Apple Pie Bourbon

Holiday Infusion Ideas

Apple Liqueur


35 Comments

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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27 Comments

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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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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54 Comments

Gingerbread Liqueur – for your Holiday “Spirit”

Gingerbread liqueur

Are you in the holiday spirit yet? Well, I still feel like I’m a bit lacking in that department, so we have whipped up a new holiday “spirit” of the booze variety.

Do you like gingerbread? I love it, and it seems a shame that it is not often enjoyed outside of the holiday season. I set out to make a liqueur that tasted just like gingerbread and I think I nailed it!

gingerbread ingredients 2

Gingerbread Liqueur

1/2 c. Fresh Ginger, peeled and chopped
1 small cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
A few pinches of freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 c. Blackstrap Molasses
1/4 c. Water
1 T. Sugar

1/3 c. Rum
1 c. Vodka
1 c. Brandy

Gingerbread simmer

Combine the first 7 ingredients (everything except the liquor) in a small saucepan.bring to a simmer on low heat and continue to simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Allow to cool completely. Pour the cooled ginger/molasses combination into a quart jar. Add the rum, vodka, and brandy. Close the jar and shake well to combine.

After 48 hours, strain the solids out of the infusion with a mesh strainer, and then strain well through cheesecloth and/or jelly bag. I had no luck trying to strain this through coffee filters, so I doubled the jelly bag and strained it a few times.

Allow the infusion to rest for about 4 more days, then enjoy! This time is essential in allowing the molasses flavor to incorporate into the liquor.

The ginger taste is very strong, and the molasses and spice makes this taste just like gingerbread. This will be lovely in some cocktails with milk or cream, and a bit of sweetener (we may just have tested out a few last night). And I suspect this will make for another amazing boozy-milkshake…

Now I’m ready to get into the holiday spirit…

Cheers!

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35 Comments

Pear & Cranberry Liqueur

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I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! My husband and I were responsible for dessert this year, and one of my contributions was a pear, apple and cranberry crisp. I love those flavors and how they come together. It made me realize that I need to share a similar flavor that I have been infusing for the holidays. If you start now, this will be enjoyed before the holidays are over.

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Pear & Cranberry Liqueur

1 3/4 c. Sliced Pears (we used Bartlett, but really any would work well)
1/4 c. Dried cranberries
1/2 TB chopped, peeled ginger
1 whole clove
Small piece of a cinnamon stick (less than 1 gram)
3/4 c. Brandy
1 1/2 c. Vodka

Combine all ingredients into a quart jar, and allow to infuse for about 3 weeks or until it reaches your desired taste. (I think it will continue to add a bit more flavor, so I have not strained ours yet.)  Strain and filter through a jelly bag or cheesecloth, and then coffee filters.

The pear and cranberry flavors come out well in this liqueur. The combination of brandy and sweetened dried cranberries make this sweet enough to drink without being too sweet. I wanted a hint of spices, but did not want them to overwhelm the fruits, and this is achieved here. If you like lots of spice, you could add a bit more. Keep in mind that a bit of clove and cinnamon go a long way in infusions.

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Cheers!

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28 Comments

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!