Boozed + Infused

Infusing liqueurs at home with inspiring and seasonal ingredients


El Pepino Cocktail

You’re going to think I’m some kind of freak of nature when I tell you this… but I don’t like Margaritas. I’m kind of scared to admit that to people, especially as I’m writing this blog about boozing and infusing. It is almost Cinco de Mayo! What a perfect time for Margaritas, and infused tequila. But not for me. I usually go for a Mexican beer with lime. Which is delicious in its own right. But… this year will be different.

A few weeks ago, I made the Lime-Chipotle Finishing Salt from The Cozy Herbivore. It is delicious on popcorn, and sprinkled into a variety of dishes. Among the list of recommended uses is a Margarita Rim. I’m always jealous of those who drink Margaritas. They always look so tasty.

So, I decided I would enjoy this salt on the rim of a different drink. We happened to have some Cucumber Vodka left, so it seemed only logical to pair it with this salt.

El Pepino

2 oz Cucumber Vodka

1 oz Gin

1 TB Dry Vermouth

1 TB Fresh squeezed lime juice

Lime-Chipotle Finishing Salt

Run a lime wedge around the rim of the glass, and then dip in the Lime Chipotle Salt. Stir the remaining ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, strain and enjoy.

The salt and chipotle finish off the flavor so well, without being over-powering. I can see why others have said that this had really stepped up their margarita consumption. It is not too late to infuse some cucumbers before Cinco de Mayo… if you’re so inclined. This would be a great addition to your festivities!




Elder Gin

We are calling this simply Elder Gin because it includes both elder berries and elder flowers… they were both dried. Sorry we didn’t have fresh. We started this back in February and fresh ingredients were a bit scarce. It is amazing the varieties of flavors and ingredients you can find when you just look for them.

Elder Gin

2 TB Dried Elder Berries

1/3 c. Dried Elder Flowers

2 c. Gin

2 TB Simple Syrup (or to taste)

Infuse the elder berries and flowers in gin for about 2-3 weeks. Strain, filter, add simple syrup. Tasty!

The first thing you should know about this liqueur is that if you don’t like licorice, you may not like this either. I don’t think it has much of a licorice flavor (I happen to love licorice), but my husband (a licorice hater) commented that he thought this tasted like licorice. My sister thought so as well. I had no idea that the elder berry is called “Sambucus (name your species here)”. Did you?

I can tell you that it is very flavorful on its own, and I think many people will love it. I tried it in champagne over the weekend, and it was fabulous!

For those of you who are St. Germain fans, if you have trouble finding the fresh flowers to make a liqueur, try using the dried and see what you think. I obtained both the dried elder berries and dried elder flowers at Homebrew Exchange. Their store is in Portland, and they also sell online.

It was amazing how quickly the little dried elder berries, which were about the size of pepper corns, infused the color into the liqueur. The color is very rich and looks beautiful.

I haven’t tried it in any other cocktails yet, but welcome your suggestions!

Elder Gin on Punk Domestics


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.



Mandarin Gin

Can you believe it took us this long to post a citrus infusion?

A few years ago, some friends of ours shared a homemade limoncello with us. It was the best limoncello I had ever tasted. Naturally, I asked for the recipe. I had just started getting into making home-infused booze, and this was too good to pass up. The limoncello recipe was very different from any other I’ve seen. While the others all require zesting the lemons and infusing for long times, this one just required juicing the lemons, and a much shorter infusion time. The result (perhaps because of the short infusion time) does not give the overly bitter taste of which everyone warns.

So we decided to test out a similar recipe with mandarin oranges and gin.

Mandarin Gin

11 Mandarin Oranges

2 cups of gin

1/4 c. sugar

Slice the mandarins in half, and juice them. Reserve the juice for another use (try it in a Mandarin Hibiscus).

Place the mandarin peels and sugar in the gin, and let infuse. This is where our original idea started breaking down. The limoncello recipe required only about a one-week infusion time. These mandarins needed more time. We felt the product was ready in about 4-5 weeks. Happily, the flavor is quite good, with no bitterness (perhaps because the mandarin peels have very little pith). But the quick infusion was not meant to be.

When the flavor has reached your desired taste, strain and filter. Serve chilled (straight from freezer) or in cocktails.



Ginger-Lime Gin & Tonic

For those of you wondering if the Ginger-Lime Gin would make a good G&T…

We thought it was spectacular!

2 oz Ginger-Lime Gin

4 oz Tonic Water

Lime Wedge

Pour gin and tonic over ice, squeeze a bit of lime, stir and enjoy.

This was amazing. We really liked it. I’d like to try this with club soda next time since the ginger-lime gin had so much flavor on its own (including a bit of sweetness from the agave). But I’m almost afraid to mess with this since it was so delicious.

We will make this again…


Ginger-Lime Gin

In this liqueur, the flavors of ginger, lime and agave make this spicy, yet refreshing and bright.

Ginger-Lime Gin

2 c. Gin

Zest of 1 lime

2 heaping TB chopped ginger

2 TB Blue Agave Syrup

Combine Gin, lime zest and ginger in a mason jar and let infuse for approximately 3 weeks, shaking the contents every few days. After 3 weeks, add Agave Syrup and let infuse for another week, or until it reaches your desired taste. Strain and filter, then enjoy!

Although I let this infuse for a total of 1 month, it could go much faster if you added more lime and ginger in the beginning.  The agave sweetens this lightly, with a good flavor balance to the ginger and lime.

This will make some tasty cocktails… cheers!

Ginger-Lime Gin on Punk Domestics

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Do yourself a favor, and make the Honey & Saffron Liqueur highlighted on Eat Boutique. (Maggie Battista adapts a recipe from June Lawson’s “Snowflakes and Schnapps”.)

I made this Honey and Saffron liqueur a few months ago and have been very happy with it. We used it in a Champagne Cocktail taste test (more on that later) but most recently trialed a new cocktail that we’re calling (for now) the Bit-o-Honey.

Bit o Honey Recipe (makes 2 cocktails)

3 1/2 oz Martin Miller Gin

1 1/2 oz Honey Saffron Liqueur

1/2 oz Dry Vermouth

* lemon twist
Combine all liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, and shake vigorously. Strain into chilled martini glasses, and add a lemon twist.

If you don’t have Martin Miller gin, you can likely substitute whatever gin you have. But if you can find it, give it a try. It has a much cleaner, lighter taste than most gins. The juniper flavor is almost absent with a very light floral scent.

We tried this cocktail last night and couldn’t resist having a second…