Boozed + Infused

Infusing liqueurs at home with inspiring and seasonal ingredients


42 Comments

Fresh Cherry Bourbon

I love cherries! Last winter, since cherries were not in season, we made a Cherry Bourbon with dried cherries. The dried cherries we used were tart cherries that had been sweetened with sugar.

Typically, every summer I preserve cherries for cocktails; brandied cherries, amaretto cherries, spiced brandied cherries, creme de cacao cherries, and much more. In truth, many of these end up on ice-cream, but making a good brandied cherry was the inspiration behind my canning addiction.

Last year, we went a bit overboard, picking 24 pounds of cherries. In addition to our usual boozy cherries, we made a steeped cherry bounce, cherry brandy, cherry jam, and chutney. This year we needed a little break from canning cherries. We still have a few jars from last year to keep our cocktails garnished for a while.

This year, I took the easy route. I picked up a bag of mixed sweet cherries at the farmers market and made only a simple, fresh cherry bourbon.

Fresh Cherry Bourbon

2 heaping cups of fresh cherries
2 c. Bourbon

Score each cherry with a knife, piercing through the flesh. No need to pit them.

Combine the scored cherries and bourbon in a quart jar, and allow to infuse for 2-4 weeks, or until it reaches your desired taste. We infused ours for 2 months and it tastes great. At this point you could strain the infusion, or simply use the cherries in cocktails as you use up the bourbon. (These cherries will be much boozier than our typical brandied cherries which use a simple syrup with liquor added, but will be much better than a lot of the cherries you get at the store.)

This fresh cherry bourbon has a much fresher, cleaner, and light taste than the dried cherry bourbon that we made last winter. I think I actually prefer the dried cherries, but both are delicious and will work well for different cocktails.

How do you prefer your cherry bourbon?

Fresh Cherry Bourbon after infusing for two months

Cheers!

Boozy Cherries from 2011


21 Comments

Hatch Chili Infused Tequila

Editor’s Note: This is our first Guest Post! I regret to admit, but I am not a lover of tequila. So Lauren from Gourmet Veggie Mama graciously offered to help us out with a Hatch Chili Tequila infusion. While I’m drowning in berry brambles in the Northwest, Lauren is in Texas, sweating it out with lovely Hatch Chilis.

Thank you Lauren for writing this great post and coming up with this lovely drink.

I love Hatch chiles. In case you’re not in the know, they are an amazingly flavorful variety of New Mexico green chiles that come into season from late August through mid-September each year. Once roasted and peeled, they are perfect for making an enchilada sauce, adding to a quesadilla, making a salsa, spicing up your scrambled eggs or a frittata… or infusing some tequila.

That’s right, folks. After sampling a cocktail made with green chile-infused tequila, dubbed the New Mexican martini, at my friendly neighborhood Chuy’s, I decided I needed to try an infusion of my own.

Since I had a whole bottle of tequila to use, I tried this two ways: One with the roasted Hatch chiles left whole (though peeled), and one with the chiles peeled, stemmed, seeded and cut into strips. The taste wasn’t appreciably different, but I do think the chile cut into strips did result in a quicker infusion. Either way, the result was a spicy, flavorful tequila that would add a nice kick to any number of Mexican-themed cocktails, like a margarita or even a Bloody Maria!

Hatch Chile Infused Tequila

1 1/2 cups silver 100% agave tequila
1-2 Hatch chiles (depending on size), roasted, peeled, and split

Place the tequila and Hatch chiles in a glass jar and seal. Shake and allow to infuse for 2-3 days. Strain and enjoy!

***
After I strained the tequila, I had the potentially brilliant idea to use the tequila-soaked chiles to accent some guacamole. Sadly, the tequila flavor was a little overwhelming. Next time I think the leftovers will just go in the compost pile after imparting their tasty flavor.

Speaking of which, I used my Hatch chile-infused tequila to make a delicious, spicy spin on my old standby, the Mexican martini. Enjoy!

New Mexican Martini

2 oz Hatch chile-infused tequila
1 oz Grand Marnier
1 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 oz light agave nectar

Mix the agave nectar in the bottom of a cocktail shaker with 1 oz of warm water and stir to dissolve. Add the tequila, Grand Marnier, and lemon and lime juices, along with plenty of ice. Shake well and serve in salt-rimmed martini glasses garnished with an olive or a curl of the Hatch chile.

* Lauren writes the blog Gourmet Veggie Mama, and styles herself a recovering lawyer-slash-aspiring domestic goddess. She loves all things food and drink, and, despite being a vegetarian, manages to be quite a glutton as well. Since discovering Boozed + Infused, her Cocktail Thursday posts have acquired a definite kick!


16 Comments

What should we do with… Peapod Vodka?

Sometimes I just have to try…

Back in June, the sugarsnap peas in our tiny little garden were thriving! And they were so delicious… So I just had to try it out; peapods and vodka. Now I’m not quite sure what to do with it, other than maybe add it to cream sauce or risotto. Any suggestions?

Peapod Vodka

1/2 c. chopped peapods

3/4 c. vodka

Combine and infuse for 1-2 weeks. Strain and filter.

The flavor is actually quite nice. It tastes like the delicious peapods from my garden… any cocktail ideas?

Picking fruits and veggies for future infusions at my parents’ garden (MUCH larger than my garden)


7 Comments

Cantaloupe Vodka

Summers are busy! While there is so much to infuse, there are so many great things to do in the sun. So these past few weeks have slipped by, and for the last seven days I was hiking and camping around remote Southeastern Oregon along with herds of pronghorn, coyotes, lizards, and little else.

Now that I’m back into civilization, it is time to post something that I infused back in the chaos of summer.

Cantaloupe Vodka

1 1/2 c. Chopped Cantaloupe

1 1/2 c. Vodka

2 TB Simple Syrup (or more to taste)

Place cantaloupe and vodka in a glass jar and seal. Shake and allow to infuse for 2-3 weeks. Add Simple Syrup and let it sit for another 2-3 weeks for the flavors to mellow.

That’s it! Cheers!

This infusion is very easy, and could probably be done with a lot of different varieties of melon. Depending on the sweetness of the melon, you may not need to add additional sweeteners.

And since it took me so long to post, here is part of the reason…

Steens Mountain

Thompson  Reservoir

Thompson Reservoir

Alvord Desert

Desert Horned Lizard

Herd of Pronghorn

There is no fence between me and this angry face… I better get going…

Hiking into Crack in the Ground (yes, that is really the name)

Related Post:

Love Cocktail: Cantaloupe Vodka, Honey, Lime


29 Comments

Chili Agave Liqueur

It is hot out! I mean it is really HOT out! Right about now, chili peppers are ripening and finding their way into many dishes and meals… and let’s not forget… cocktails.

I have received a number of questions about infusing hot peppers. And honestly, this is the only pepper infusion that I have done. It turned out really wonderful. It has great flavor, and also an underlying heat and depth of the peppers.

Feel free to use different peppers in this recipe. But beware not to use too many. That is a very common mistake of pepper infusions.

Chili Agave Liqueur

1/2 c. agave

1/2 c. water

2 cinnamon sticks

1 tsp black pepper corns

1 serrano pepper (fresh) – sliced in half

1 red or green jalapeno pepper (fresh) – sliced in half

5 dried chili peppers, stems removed, left whole

zest of 1 lemon (large strips if possible)

2 c. vodka

Combine all ingredients except the vodka in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let the mixture cool completely, about an hour. Strain the solids out of the syrup mixture, and pour the syrup into a quart jar or other glass container. Add the vodka to the canning jar, seal tightly. Shake to combine. Allow to infuse for 1 week.

After infusing for a week, strain well through a jelly bag and coffee filters.

If you don’t want your infusion to turn out too spicy, you could remove the seeds from the chilis before simmering in the syrup, or cut back on the number of chilis. If this does turn out too hot for your taste, thin it out with a bit more vodka and agave.

Those of you who have been asking for some “sweet heat”, you will love this liqueur. We have been too greedy to share much of it with others, but my father said this one was his favorite in a recent taste test. He is a lover of all things hot and spicy, so if you are too… you better start infusing!

Cheers!

Related Posts

Sweet Heat Cocktail


33 Comments

Almond Liqueur

Ah, summer! We are finally enjoying the warm weather in the Northwest. With all the gorgeous fresh, local fruits available it is tempting to infuse everything in sight! So you may be wondering why I’m posting an almond liqueur recipe that can be done any time of year.

I started this infusion way back in March. I wasn’t crazy about it at first, so I left the infusion in the back of my coat closet for many months.

I finally strained this about two weeks ago. All it was missing was a bit of simple syrup. Once that was added, this liqueur instantly turned into something that is amazing and delicious.

Almond Liqueur

1 c. Raw Almonds, roughly chopped

1 c. Brandy

1 c. Vodka

1/2 Vanilla Bean, split

1 1/2 – 2 TB Simple Syrup

Place the almonds, brandy, vodka, and vanilla bean in a quart jar or bottle. Close the jar, and allow to infuse for approximately four weeks. (Probably not necessary to let it sit four months like I did!) Strain, then filter through a jelly bag or cheesecloth, and finally coffee filters. Add simple syrup to taste (approximately 1 1/2 to 2 Tablespoons).

The coffee filters are really important with this straining process. The liquid was very cloudy until it passed through the coffee filters, and then at once became a beautifully clear, golden color.

This liqueur is delicious and may become a regular infusion, and a favorite.

Cheers!

Almond Liqueur on Punk Domestics


30 Comments

Blackberry Infusions… Marionberry goodness

All of these infusions can be made with almost any variety of blackberry. Here in Oregon, we have a local cultivar of blackberry called the Marionberry.  This berry is slender and a bit tart, but a very tasty variety of blackberry.

I must be a bit greedy… because my recent trip to my parents’ farm to pick Marionberries yielded ten pounds of these beauties. (I also managed to come home with a couple pints of wild black raspberries, a favorite from my childhood.)

While most of the berries made their way into a large batch of jam, and a few ended up in a batch of Maple-Bourbon Blackberries, the rest were turned into several prized infusions.

Blackberry (Marionberry) Bourbon

2 1/2 c. Blackberries

2 1/4 c. Bourbon

Combine ingredients in a large jar, seal well and shake. Store in a cool, dark place for several months or until it reaches your desired taste, shaking contents every few days. Add sugar/honey if desired. Strain and filter with strainer, cheesecloth, and coffee filters.

Blackberry (Marionberry) Mojito Infusion

2 c. Blackberries

2 c. Rum

1/4 c. Packed mint leaves (we used a combination of spearmint and chocolate mint)

Zest of 1 lime

2 TB Sugar (or more to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a large jar and follow directions above for Blackberry Bourbon.

Blackberry-Lemon Liqueur

2 c. Blackberries

Zest of 1 lemon

1 1/4 c. Brandy

3/4 c. Vodka

2 TB Sugar (or more to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a large jar and follow directions above for Blackberry Bourbon.

While you may not have Marionberries in your area, try any of these liqueurs/infusions with your local variety of blackberry. As each variety has a different “sweetness” to it, you may want to alter the sugar content to suit your variety.

Cheers!

Related Post:

Bourbonberry Cocktail


14 Comments

Strawberry Mojitos!

Happy 4th of July!

If you’ve been following along, you know that we started a Strawberry Rum infusion about a month ago. The strawberry flavor is now quite nice. And while I’m not quite ready to strain and filter the entire infusion, we can easily pour off some of the liquor to use in cocktails.

And to kick-start our holiday celebrating, we decided to test out some strawberry mojitos on July 3rd.

Strawberry Mojito (adapted from Allrecipes)

(makes one drink)

10 mint leaves

1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges

1/2 to 1 TB white sugar (or to taste)

2 oz Strawberry-Infused Rum

4 oz. club soda

ice

Muddle mint with 1-2 ice cubes in a sturdy glass. Add sugar. Squeeze 3 of the lime wedges into the glass, add the rind and muddle well. Fill glass with ice, add Strawberry-Infused Rum and club soda. Stir, and garnish with final lime wedge, and if desired more mint or fresh strawberries.

This drink turned out just as good as I had hoped. We loved them so much, we quickly had another! I have a feeling this Strawberry Booze will not last long…

If you are hoping to make these for your holiday festivities, you could muddle a few fresh strawberries into the glass, and just use regular rum.

What a perfect holiday refreshment.

Have a fun and safe holiday – Cheers!

Related Posts

Starting a Strawberry Booze Infusion

Update: Strawberry Booze Infusion, Day 5

Update: Strawberry Booze Infusion, Day 17


48 Comments

Raspberry Infusions: a little splash of heaven

The first liqueur I ever made was Raspberry. I guess I should say the first four liqueurs I made were all Raspberry!

A few years ago, I went to my parents’ farm to pick some raspberries for jam. I came home with a LOT of berries. I made a few batches of jam, and it seemed like I had not even made a dent in the volume of raspberries. So I started going through my liquor cabinet, selecting anything that seemed like it would taste good with the berries.

I ended up with Raspberry Vodka, Raspberry Brandy, Raspberry Cachaça and Raspberry-Mint Gin. I left all of the infusions in the back of our coat closet for three months. And by the time we filtered them, they were heavenly. (Follow recipe for Simple Raspberry Liqueur below) Each year, the volume of Raspberry Liqueur in my pantry seems to grow.

As I started to infuse a wider variety of ingredients, the Raspberry liqueurs have remained some of my favorites.

I spent a good part of the day yesterday picking raspberries with my mother. (And I’ve got the scratches all over my arms to prove it!)

I ended up with about four pounds of amazing, sweet, delicious raspberries. If you have never infused raspberries before, you are really missing out. These wonderful liqueurs really are a little splash of heaven.

Simple Raspberry Liqueur

750 ml bottle of 80 proof booze (vodka, gin, rum, brandy, or cachaça)

3 1/2 c. raspberries

1/4 to 1/2 c. sugar (or more depending on your preference)

Combine all ingredients in a large glass jar. Shake or stir every few days, allowing to infuse for up to 3 months, or until it reaches your desired taste. Add more sugar if desired. Strain and filter well. The straining process can take a while with raspberries, but the jelly bag (or lots of cheesecloth) and coffee filters will produce a clear result.

Raspberry-Mint Gin (adapted from Get Fresh)

750 ml bottle of Gin

1 1/3 lb Raspberries

1/2 c. tightly packed mint leaves

1/2 c. sugar

Follow directions above, same as Simple Raspberry Liqueur.

This is a favorite of ours, and tastes amazing in a gin and tonic.

This year I decided to try out some new variations and flavors. I don’t quite know how they will turn out yet… I guess we’ll have to wait a while before we know. I hope these inspire you to get creative with your raspberry infusions as well.

Raspberry-Lemon Vodka

2 c. Raspberries

Zest of 2 lemons

2 c. Vodka

1/4 c. Sugar

Follow directions above, same as Simple Raspberry Liqueur.

ROB Rum (Raspberry-Orange-Blueberry)

1 c. Frozen Blueberries (cut in half or roughly chopped)

1 1/4 c. Raspberries

Zest of one orange

2 c. Rum

2 TB Sugar

Follow directions above, same as Simple Raspberry Liqueur.

After these have infused for a while, we may alter them with more sugar or simple syrup. We also may add more zest if necessary.

And finally, one last treat…

Chocolate-Raspberry Liqueur

1 1/2 c. Raspberries

1/4 c. cocoa nibs

1/4 c. sugar

2 c. vodka

Follow directions above, same as Simple Raspberry Liqueur.

We will let you know how these new flavors turn out… but it may be a while before they are ready. We will try tasting them before the three months are up to see if they infuse quicker than we think. But I think they will need at least a month.

Do you have any raspberry infusion flavor ideas? What are your favorites?

Cheers!

Related Posts

Raspberry Caipirinha

Raspberry Bliss

Update 7/12/12 Happy National Can It Forward Day! Visit great canning ideas at The Domestically Impaired Guide to Retro Kitchen Arts.


20 Comments

Rose Hip Vodka

Wow! Time flies, doesn’t it?! This week is a blur. I don’t know about you, but I’m sure ready for the weekend…

Several months ago, I found a recipe for a Rosehip Tipple from Wildcraft Vita. If you are not familiar with this blog, you should check it out. In addition to some amazing ideas for infusions, there are many other inspirations for flowers, herbs and foraging.

Back to the rose hips… I don’t happen to have any roses of my own. I have some friends with lots of lovely rose bushes, and have already laid claim to their rose hips. But the rose hips have not formed yet. And I’ve really been wanting to make a rose hip infusion.

As it turns out, I was able to find some dried rose hips. And the infusion could not have been easier.

Rose Hip Vodka

2 TB Dried Rose Hips

1 c. Vodka

Infuse for approximately one week. Strain.

This infusion is very nice. The flavor has hints of citrus, floral, and a bit like fruit leather. If you enjoy rose hip tea, you will like this. And the cocktails are fabulous.

The infusion will end up looking quite a bit like tea… and tastes good with tea as well. I started out with a small batch of this to test it out, but will definitely make more.

Cheers!