Boozed + Infused

Infusing liqueurs at home with inspiring and seasonal ingredients


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Favorite Raspberry Booze

Hi there friends. Sorry I have been so absent… Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

I can’t believe it is summer already! The time is flying by. This is my favorite time of year for many reasons. Among the top reasons are all of the fresh berries. So imagine my delight to receive a message from my grandmother asking if I would like to pick raspberries with her… of course I would! And I’m proud to say I made it home with a flat of them. Not bad for the first picking of the year.

raspberries

Last year I put together a line up of raspberry infusions. So rather than duplicate it, I will link you back to it, and share a few more tips and recommendations.

Raspberry Infusions: a little splash of heaven

If you are a fan of raspberry liqueur, I recommend the Chocolate-Raspberry Liqueur. I made this for the first time last year, and it was so good we made several batches of it. This was one of my favorite new recipes last year.

For those of you who enjoy caipirinhas, I would like to recommend infusing some cachaça with raspberries. The infused cachaça is highly coveted around here. Follow the recipe for Simple Raspberry Liqueur.

I hope you are all enjoying the summer!

Cheers~

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Halloween Infusion part 2: Chocolate-Orange Liqueur

What is your favorite candy? And have you ever made it into a cocktail?

A few days ago I posted a recipe for Caramel Apple Liqueur, which I made for a get-together with a theme of Halloween candy infusions and cocktails. This was all the brainchild of Evelyn over at Momsicle, who wrote a great post about our “drink up”, complete with a group photo!

I racked my brain for candy infusion ideas, and while it may not exactly be a popular Halloween candy, I have always loved the flavor of orange and chocolate. As a kid, I would get chocolate-orange truffles at the candy store and always loved those chocolate orange sticks (the orange jelly candies that were covered in chocolate). So it was settled, I would make Chocolate-Orange liqueur.

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Chocolate-Orange Liqueur

Zest of 3 large Oranges

1/4 c. Cacao Nibs

1/4 c. sugar

2 c. vodka

Place all above ingredients in a glass jar, and close tight. Shake well and allow to infuse for abut 4 weeks. Strain through a filter, then cheesecloth, jelly bag, and coffee filters. This infusion clogged the coffee filters frequently, so be prepared to change the filter often.

This liqueur is delicious! It lived up to my idea of what I wanted it to taste like. And now for the cocktail…

Chocolate-Orange Martini

2oz. Chocolate-Orange Liqueur

2oz. Creme de Cacao (light)

Orange twist

Combine in a cocktail shaker with ice, and serve in a chilled martini glass with an orange twist. We also enjoyed them with a dark chocolate that was spiked with orange zest and orange oil. Delish!

You will also note that we served these in our “fun size” glasses so that we could taste each of the drink varieties at our gathering. They disappeared fast!

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Cheers!


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Cocoa Nib Brandy, and the battle of the booze

Remember a few months ago when we made a Chocolate Bourbon? Well, it was fabulous! But some people tell me that they don’t like bourbon. And since one of them is my mother, and she happens to be a chocolate lover, I decided to test out a Chocolate Brandy.

The recipe we made was nearly identical to the Chocolate Bourbon.

Chocolate Brandy

2 c. Brandy

1/2 c. Cocoa Nibs

2-inch piece of vanilla bean, split

(if desired, add simple syrup)

Infuse for 4-5 weeks. Strain through cheesecloth or jelly bag, and coffee filters.  We did not add any simple syrup. I think it would be delicious with it, but we wanted to be able to use this in cocktails, and thought it would be more versatile this way.

If you have trouble locating Cocoa Nibs, please reference the post on Chocolate Bourbon.

Bourbon v. Brandy… what’s your pick?

I have written before that I have a much improved appreciation for bourbon now that I infuse with it. There had long been a few bourbon cocktails that I really enjoyed, but it was never at the top of my list. But when infusing, bourbon is often my favorite spirit to use. It brings so much flavor and nuance to the end result.

We did a Prune liqueur show down a few months ago where we taste tested Prune Brandy v. Prune Bourbon, and although they were both delicious, the bourbon was the clear winner.

In the case of Chocolate Brandy v. Chocolate Bourbon… I declare the winner to be… Brandy!

I’m sorry bourbon lovers. Both of these are really amazing, and I would encourage ALL of you to start infusing with Cocoa Nibs. As much as I really enjoyed the Chocolate Bourbon, the Chocolate flavor shines through better in the brandy.

But, that is just my humble opinion… have any of you infused with Cocoa Nibs? How about a Chocolate Vodka? I think it would be delicious!

Cheers!


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Chocolate Bourbon-Peanut Clusters

These chocolate peanut clusters are made with the bourbon-soaked peanuts from our last post, Peanut Bourbon.

I wasn’t sure how these were going to turn out, so I didn’t measure precisely. These are rough estimates, but I don’t think the amounts are all that important. The recipe was following the same idea and inspiration from Oh She Glows (which we also used on the chocolate covered candied bourbon cherries.)

Chocolate Bourbon-Peanut Clusters

2/3 c. Bourbon-soaked Peanuts (from the peanut bourbon)

1/3 c. semi-sweet chocolate

1/2 TB Coconut Oil

2 healthy pinches of Sea Salt

Roast the peanuts in a low oven (225-275 degrees) tossing occasionally, until the peanuts are nearly dried out. Let sit until the following day.

Heat chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave or double boiler until the chocolate is mostly melted. Stir in the peanuts, and sea salt. Spoon onto a plate or parchment paper and place in refrigerator or freezer to set. Keep in refrigerator until you eat them (which probably won’t be that long…)

The sea salt is what really made these perfect. You could probably substitute a flaked salt or finishing salt with great results. We had a hand-picked, Oregon Sea Salt which gave it just the right flavor.

Enjoy!


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Chocolate Covered Candied Bourbon Cherries

Are you sick of me posting about cherries yet? I figured it has been long enough since the last cherry cocktail that I could revisit one of my favorite fruits.

When we make a liqueur or infusion, we occasionally get questions about what to do with the “boozed” substance that is left behind after making an infusion. Jim from 2012 Will Be Delicious! said that he made the Oatmeal and Brown Sugar Booze and later ate the oats as a “hangover cure” breakfast. Sounds interesting!

I hate to admit to waste, but I nearly always toss out the ingredient after it has infused the alcohol. Usually the ingredient has become overwhelmingly boozy, with almost no flavor left behind. I often save vanilla beans from infusions, and we have scraped what was left in the pod to use in something else. I have a bag of cinnamon/vanilla/bourbon soaked apples in my freezer with the intent of using them in a boozy pie… but I don’t know if that will ever happen. We did use some bourbon soaked figs in a baked English Toffee Pudding (in place of chopped dates).

With the Cherry Bourbon, someone asked what I was going to do with the dried cherries after I filtered all of the bourbon out. Well, we candied them and covered them in chocolate!

Step 1: Candied Cherries

1 1/2 c. Bourbon soaked Cherries (from the Cherry Bourbon)

1/2 c. sugar

1/4 c. Cherry Juice (the one we used was called “Just Black Cherry”)

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Simmer on low until almost all of the liquid is gone (ours took about 20 min.).

Spread them out on parchment paper or a silicone pan liner. I spread them out individually so they wouldn’t clump together. Alternatively, you could press them into a layer in a baking dish and cut into squares or use in a cookie bar, etc. These are super sticky and chewy, but very tasty.

Allow to cool. We kept them on wax paper, and placed them in the refrigerator until we were ready to use. (And by ready to use, I mean ready to coat with chocolate!)

Step 2: Cover with Chocolate

I followed the recipe from Oh She Glows for 3 Ingredient Chocolate Covered Raisins, substituting the Candied Cherries.

1 1/2 c. Candied Cherries

1/4 c. Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

1/2 TB Coconut Oil

Place chocolate and coconut oil in a microwave safe dish. Microwave on high for approximately 1 minute. Stir to incorporate all the chocolate, ensuring all the chips are melted. Mix in the cherries, about 1/4 cup at a time. Spread out onto parchment paper or wax paper, and place in freezer to harden. Once the chocolate has dried, remove from freezer and break up the fruit. Delicious!

Have any of you saved the “boozed” ingredients from your infusions? What have you made with them?


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Sweet & Sour… the drink

I’ve never been a big fan of “sweet and sour” food dishes. But give me a sweet and sour cocktail and I’m in heaven.

Last week we enjoyed a delicious dinner at one of our favorite Portland restaurants, Pok Pok. After sipping Tamarind Whiskey Sours, we returned home, anxious to try another tamarind cocktail with our Tamarind-Orange Gin.

Sweet & Sour

2 oz Tamarind-Orange Gin

2 oz Bourbon

1 TB Fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/2 tsp chocolate bourbon (or substitute a dash of chocolate bitters)

2 dashes cranberry bitters (optional)

Stir with ice, strain over more ice, and garnish with lemon slice or twist.

This made 2 small cocktails. You may want to double this depending on how thirsty you are…

Because we have so many infusions building up in our liquor cabinet (also known as the coat closet) we were able to throw a lot of additional flavors in there. Some of the last ingredients could be substituted with a different variety of bitters, and would turn out great.

Cheers!


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Black Forest Cocktail

What happens when boozy cherries, cherry bourbon, chocolate bourbon and coconut liqueur get together? Deliciousness! That’s what happens.

It may not look pretty, but it is freaking awesome!

We present to you the Black Forest Cocktail (serves 2)

3 oz Chocolate Bourbon

2 oz Cherry Bourbon

2 oz Coconut liqueur

2 oz boozy cherry syrup (from creme de cocoa cherries, brandied cherries, etc.)

4 Creme de cocoa or brandied cherries

Muddle 2 cherries in the bottom of each glass. Combine all liquid ingredients in a shaker or glass, add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into glasses over the muddled cherries.

The boozy cherry syrup is a simple syrup that is infused with a spirit of your choice and fresh cherries. We will (at some point… probably cherry season) post our boozy cherry recipes. But we have cocktails to make and booze to infuse… please be patient.

This cocktail used a lot of the flavors that we have shown you over the last few months. If you don’t have all of them, I’m sure you can figure out some substitutions. Coconut liqueur is a pretty easy one to figure out, as is the cherry bourbon. If you don’t have the Chocolate Bourbon… please make it ASAP!

Enjoy the weekend… we are!