- beetlebug Dec 19, 2006 12:22 PM
I love this infused bourbon at Gargoyles (Somerville, MA). It is infused with apples, cinnamon, nutmeg and something else. How do I infuse bourbon at home? Any suggestions of what to infuse it with?
I found this from Food and Wine. Was the other ingredient maybe cinnamon or vanilla?
MAKES 3 CUPS
Bartenders have been infusing vodka for years; now they’re joyfully infusing bourbon with everything from black cherries to bacon. Chris Beveridge from 12 Baltimore in Kansas City, Missouri, favors apples, cinnamon and vanilla.
* 1 750-ml bottle Woodford Reserve bourbon
* 3 medium Granny Smith apples—cored and quartered
* 4 cinammon sticks
* 2 whole vanilla beans
1. In a jar, combine one 750-milliliter bottle of Woodford Reserve bourbon with 3 cored and quartered medium Granny Smith apples, 4 cinnamon sticks and 2 whole vanilla beans. Refrigerate for 2 to 5 days, shaking the jar and tasting the infusion daily. Strain through a fine sieve into another jar. Serve the infused bourbon on the rocks, or shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
I do a pound of dried bing cherries in three bottles of knob creek. Sit for two weeks and strain well. Gives an awful lot of flavor, sweetness, and body to the bourbon. The key to infusing anything is alchohol. The higher the proof, the better the flavor extraction. Don't be afraid to let it sit for quite a while in a cool dark place. Also, when done infusing, make sure to remove all biologial matter from the booze and refrigerate. I usually use a pasta strainer, then a chinois, then cheesecloth. Have fun.
Thank you, JMF. I much appreciate your help! I will set some aside for adjusting and then add a teaspoon at a time to the remainder of the 750 ml bottle. Would raw honey be OK, or do you think a milder honey such as a clover blend be better? I have jars of both. Might try adding some of each. I'll experiment until it tastes right to me. :-)
I've done fresh peaches in Bourbon before and the results were really good.
I used a fine mesh sieve, and coffee filters to strain.
Using it, I've made a pretty damn good bourbon old-fashioned, with vanilla brown sugar and Angostura bitters.
Peach-Infused Bourbon makes an excellent Manhattan, too.
1 3/4 oz peach-infused bourbon
3/4 oz sweet vermouth (I use Vya)
2 dashes Fee's Brothers Peach Bitters
I used organic local peaches. About 6 peaches for a 750 ml bottle of Jim Beam. They sat on the counter until they were over-ripe, and I was able to basically pull them apart with my hand - they were that soft. I left the pits in as well, though that isn't recommended due to the toxic compounds in the pit.
Use fresh fruit and fresh mint, I would go easy on the mint (6 small leaves?) - less is better - you can always add more later for more flavor, but it is harder to correct if you put in too much.
When you are done, filter through a fine sieve, then through coffee filters. The filters will clog, and it will take time, but the clear results are worth it.
Also,I've found that with mint, short infusion time is better than long, with fresh mint. Otherwise it can get bitter. Dried mint can infuse longer without getting bitter. The less is more, is really important with mint, especially dried mint. (Also it's spearmint, not peppermint, that most people refer to when they say mint. I say this because if you use dried mint, you need to know which.)
Spearmint? Really? I have have a hard time finding non-spearmint for cocktails. The "Mint" (or sometimes "Spearmint") at the grocery is often so spearmint-y that all I can think of is chewing gum. I can find regular mint sometimes (and I grow a couple of varieties) that don't have the spearmint flavor, but pure mint.
Perhaps I'm not referring to peppermint, but I sure hate spearmint in my mint cocktails. Mint loves Cynar, BTW.
Perhaps instead of messing up a good bourbon one should use a cheap and high proof rye and make some intense homemade bitters and then you can add a few dashes to change a cocktail's ( or neat bourbon) flavor. This will give you cocktail versatility. Plus you can give some as gifts in neat small bottles.
Rapid infusion via nitrogen cavitation -- i.e. using an ISI whipper -- makes pretty quick work of this. No need to wait 2 weeks. Just place the ingredients in your whipper, infuse, shake like hell, then wait 2-3 minutes. Release the gas, pour into mason jar or back into bottle, and wait a few minutes until the bubbling stops. Within 10 minutes, you'll have a nicely infused, on-the-spot bourbon.
Some tips I've learned:
- Make sure everything is at room temp
- Make sure to shake it like crazy.
- The flavor seems to improve after 24 hours -- stronger, more distinct -- but it has a *lot* of flavor straight off the infusion.
- Chopping up herbs seems to help improve the overall flavor strength (as opposed to using, say, uncut mint leaves or whole sprigs of rosemary.)
For more info, check out:
I've made infusions tequila, whiskey, and vodka -- all with great results. For bitters, I usually use Everclear and a mix of aromatics, herbs, and barks -- and it works *very* well. As mentioned above, the spirit proof makes a difference in the overall effectiveness of the infusion -- although I've yet had to have a "bad" infusion with anything I've tried -- so long as the base liquor is good quality. I suspect the infusion brings out the qualities of the base spirit -- as well as melding together the new flavors.
BTW -- in response to a post above, I recommend *not* using cheap spirits for this method. The better the spirit, the tastier the overall infusion. I made this mistake when I tried this for the first time with cheap vodka and jalapeno peppers. It was awful -- fingernails on a blackboard in terms of taste. Next batch -- same measurements, same technique -- but with Absolut -- and the results were night and day.
Granted, Absolut is not the top of the top in terms of vodka, but it was much better than the no-name, cheap stuff for the infusion. The quality really does make a difference -- especially because you're tempted (I am, at least) to really savor the more interesting infusions straight. I've been using Buffalo Trace and Redemption (again, not top of the top, I realize --but for my budget, these brands work out) for my whiskey experiments with rapid infusion (and as a base for my bitters -- especially chocolate and coffee bitters). I suspect that as I go up the whiskey ladder (in quality and, unfortunately, in price) I'll get even better results.