Boozed + Infused

Infusing liqueurs at home with inspiring and seasonal ingredients


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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!

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Sweet Heat Cocktail

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Blueberry Gin

Today I hosted a small get together for a few Portland area bloggers. It was a bit of a leap of faith for all of us as we had never met, and they came over to my home. Luckily, we are all still alive to tell the tale. And fortunately I believe a good time was had by all. A few fun cocktails were flowing, and eventually we got out a stack of spoons for everyone to start taste-testing (I think they may have tasted a few dozen…)

So, a big thank you to Evelyn from Momsicle, Poppy from Funny or Snot, and Krista from Mostly Mommyhood.

Eventually, I will post about our cocktails (and they might too…) so stay tuned. In the meantime, I wanted to share the infusion that was the base of our featured cocktail from today’s gathering.

Blueberry Gin

2 c. Gin

2 c. frozen blueberries

1/4 c. sugar

zest of 1 lemon

2 whole cloves

1/2 inch piece of a cinnamon stick

Place the frozen blueberries in a small saucepan. Crush them lightly (I used a pastry cutter). Lightly cook them on low for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. This amounted to about 1 cup of a gelatinous blueberry goop.

After the blueberries are cool, place all ingredients in a quart jar (or larger). Shake and allow to infuse for at least 4 weeks, stirring or shaking occasionally.When it has reached your desired taste, Strain and Filter through a colander, cheesecloth, jelly bag, and coffee filter.

I got some of the inspiration for this liqueur from Post Prohibition. He recommends using frozen berries because of the organic breakdown of frozen fruit (or something like that… I was willing to give it a try) and also lightly cooking the berries.

The flavor came out great. I really love blueberry pie, so the intent was to include a few spices that you might find in a blueberry pie.

It is delicious! I have not yet tried making a blueberry liqueur with fresh berries, but have had a few blueberry infusions that tasted quite weak. I wanted to make sure we didn’t fall into that trap. The result was great.

Cheers!

Related Posts:

The Blueberry Pieball: Our new favorite highball

Blueberry-Orange Liqueur


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Mandarin Spice

Having recently filtered the Mandarin Gin, we were ready to try it in some cocktails!

Mandarin Spice

2 oz Mandarin Gin

1/2 TB Vermouth

1/2 TB Winter Spice Liqueur

Lemon peel garnish

Mix or shake liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into chilled glasses, add lemon peel, and sip away.

If you don’t have Mandarin Gin, you could substitute another orangecello or orange liqueur that isn’t overly sweet. And the Winter Spice could probably be subbed with Angostura Bitters with a pleasant result.

Cheers!


67 Comments

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

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Winter Spice Liqueur

Every December when I was a kid, my mom would make something that we called “Christmas Fragrance”. This was a combination of water, black tea, orange peel, cinnamon stick, cloves, and I think there may have even been some Tang in there. (Does anyone even remember that stuff?) She would combine all the ingredients in a saucepan, and just let it simmer on the stove for hours, adding water as needed. It would infuse the house with such a great aroma. I will occasionally mix up a batch at the holidays and fill the house with warmth and memories.

I wanted to capture that feeling in a liqueur, and here is my attempt… Tang NOT included.

Winter Spice Liqueur

Ingredients:

Orange Zest (from one orange)

Cinnamon Stick (1)

Black Tea (1 TB)

Whole Cloves (1 tsp)

Brandy (2 c.)

Sugar (1/4 c.)

I infused all of the above for about 3 weeks. The result is very flavorful, potent and tasty. I think it will be good on its own (in small quantities) as a digestif. We haven’t tried it in any cocktails yet, but it would probably be good in some warm spiced cider.