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Do you infuse whiskey or bourbon?

  • j

If so, with what? I was on a US Air flight yesterday, and the magazine had a recipe for bourbon infused with cinnamon and orange peel. I thought that sounded great for the holidays.

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  1. I'd proceed with caution. That sounds like a recipe for homemade Southern Comfort. Yuck.

    5 Replies
    1. re: lennox53

      You should try a lightly infused whiskey before saying yuck. Think of the flavors that naturally occur in bourbon. Vanilla, spices, wood, etc. adding more similar flavors can complement and amp it up, lightly contrasting flavors can bring out otyher notes. The secret with infusing bourbon/whiskey is keep it lihgt so you don't overwhelm what the spirit is all about.

      1. re: JMF

        Lihgt? How do you do that? ;^)

        I agree it had to be light, but I still question -- for myself only -- why do it at all? I think it's a holdover from being in the wine trade all those years . . . flavored wines are the lowest of the low. I don't mind infused vodka (where, otherwise, it's tasteless -- or should be, relatively speaking). But in the same way that I want to taste the "winemaker's art," and not a bunch of added flavorings that covers it up, so too do I want to taste the distiller's art . . .

        Ah well, different strokes and all that.

        1. re: zin1953

          hell, I'm a distiller, winemaker, brewer, and hard cider maker and while I can see what you are saying, I don't always agree with it. Try looking at it a different way. Cocktails and mixology are like a chef creating a dish that is better than the sum of its parts. In this case with spirits and flavorings.

          1. re: JMF

            The difference -- for me -- is that I wouldn't dream of telling [enter famous winemaker's name here] that he/she should have put more Merlot into his/her Cabernet Sauvignon. The winemaker has crafted the very best wine he/she feels possible in any given vintage*.

            The same is true of [enter distiller's name here]. He/she has crafted the very best Bourbon, Scotch, Rye, etc., etc. that he/she felt was possible (presuming we're talking small, artisinal production here, and not, say, Jim Beam). I like to taste the purity of the distiller's craft.

            Then again, other than a Sazerac, I never drink whiskey-based cocktails, preferring my whisk[e]y neat . . .or perhaps with a little ice.

            But -- like I said -- that's me. YMMV . . .


            1. re: JMF

              I'm intrigued with the whole distillation process. Do you mind sharing who you distill or have distilled for? If you don't want to divulge publicly I understand. I just love the the process, science and art behind it.

      2. I can't imagine infusing a good bourbon with anything, and I wouldn't be buying bad bourbon to experiment.

        If you are wanting to do spiced cocktails for the holidays, check out Sailor Jerry's rum.
        Great flavor, 92 proof, I can imagine it going wonderfully in spiked eggnog and whatnot.

        1 Reply
        1. re: GroovinGourmet

          I'm a big fan of Sailor Jerry's. Egg nog, mulled cider, whatever.

        2. Jacquin's Rock and Rye, whiskey infused with rock candy and fruit, has been a Philadelphia product ( I won't say mainstay) since prohibition
          Walking on a cold day to UPenn football games (and Eagles games) at Franklin Field in the early 70's, we could get a shot and a beer for a buck.

          1. I have done fresh peaches in Jim Beam. Infused for three days.

            I then used it for Peachy Bourbon Sours.

            1. I use whiskey or bourbon to store used vanilla beans, and then use the liquid for various baking recipes. Over time, I have had spirited discussions with other chefs and home bakers, in that I should be using vodka, since bourbon adds flavor that may not be appropriate to recipes simply calling for vanilla extract. P'shaww. It works just fine in everything.

              1. I put raspberries in Maker's Mark this summer and tasted a few weeks ago, it's wonderful. I can't wait to make more next summer with other fruits.

                I also just did a blueberry vodka but it needs more time....

                1. Diabolique is a commercial infusion of bourbon with dried figs and various sweet spices. I believe it was inspired by a Boston chef (at Azure Restaurant) who created it as a cooking recipe, which the bar manager borrowed to make a Manhattan (delicious, but too sweet for my tastes), and someone got the bright idea to bottle and retail.

                  I have infused bourbon with sour cherries to good effect. I like my bourbon mostly plain, with an ice cube or two, but this is very nice.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MC Slim JB

                    I've used vanilla, star anise, and dried blueberries for years - in any combination.

                    Diabolique: bottled in Somerville!

                  2. I nabbed a recipe from Food and Wine which is apples, cinnamon, and vanilla bean for 5 days. I normally use Jim Beam Black which I think is a great $20 bourbon.

                    1. I have just begun making infusions and I plan to do something with bourbon in the near future. I have had a cherry infused whiskey by Phillips Union that is tasty and smooth.

                      1. I'd try some apple cinnamon with Makers Mark. I've done a great cocktail with Maker and Berentzens so I know apple goes well with it.

                        1. There are some excellent infused whiskiey possibilities out there. Infusing whiskey is a pretty hot topic in the mixology world. I don't care for the bacon infused ones I have tried, but orange works exceedingly well with whiskey, as does cinnamon in very light doses. I was just on the phone yesterday chatting with a guy in the whiskey business in Kentucky and he told me that Booker Noe was experimenting with slight infusions in one of his special, super high end whiskies just before he passed away a few years ago. Supposedly the whiskey was so good that it was all grabbed up quickly.

                          1. Yes, with three ice cubes. Maybe some sweet vermouth. That's it.

                            1. It's very good. Try it, but add whole cloves as well. Perfect for autumn and winter.

                              1. Had a drink at a restaurant called a maple manhattan. Made up of bacon infused Jameson, bitters, and a dash of maple syrup - garnished with an orange slice. While not terrible, it would make a good holiday drink for those who like sweeter whiskey drinks. Not to mention it's a good conversation topic...

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: BatMan

                                  That's closer to an Old Fashioned than to a Manhattan. And even then, it has neither Rye nor even Bourbon. So, I would like to know the name of this restaurant, to avoid it.

                                2. I tried apples, fresh and dried earlier this year, quite nice. We did tastings of plain and the two varieties, was fun.


                                  Have a bottle with raw pumpkin, cinnamon stick, vanilla bean, and cloves infusing for a buddy for Christmas. The pumpkin vodka I already made for him was interesting enough that I tried it with bourbon.

                                  1. I have infused Makers Mark bourbon with 8 figs (cut in half) for twenty days, a vanilla bean (sliced with a razor) for seven days, and a whole cinnamon stick for fourteen days. It was very, very tasty. I should admit, however, that it was even better when I did the same thing with a bottle of Mount Gay rum.

                                    1. This year I made a cherry bounce with Evan Williams. Came out excellent!

                                      1. back in the day we'd add 3-4 hits of acid to a 26oz bottle of jack danials and pass it around all night! Good times, and didnt affect the suptle nuances of the J.D. !!

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: NorfolkGuy

                                          Now there's a way to make JD taste good

                                          1. re: scubadoo97

                                            I think the last time I had JD was during a trip in the early 80's...

                                          2. re: NorfolkGuy

                                            The acid probably made you hallucinate that the JD had subtle nuances.