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Dec 14, 2009 07:36 PM

rye infusions? is this a good idea?

my roommate wants to infuse rye for her boyfriend's xmas present. it's his favorite liquor and he is a big fan of old fashions.
i have only infused vodka, and i'm wondering if anyone has any pointers or suggestions about infusing rye.
she is considering using anise, but wanted to make a few other "flavors."
i suggested orange peels, cherries, or vanilla bean.

what do you think?
your comments would be much appreciated.


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  1. I'm not saying you couldn't infuse rye, but the results would be a lot different from infused clear spirits, and not necessarily in a good way (depends on the rye you start with, of course). A better idea might be to make some homemade bitters: with those and a good (and unadulterated) rye, the boyfriend could make a great Old Fashioned.

      1. re: jerryc123

        thanks for this advice. i just realized she could also do her own cherries for garnish.

      2. Clove, allspice, and star anise come to mind. Vanilla is more of a bourbon flavor in my mind but could work. Not sure about cardamom but it could add some extra aromatics to the mix.

        1. Rye works really well in infusions. Use a bold rye like Rittenhouse 100 Bonded. It's not expensive, but the best bang for the buck for a rye. I agree with Mr. Yarm's suggestions. (He really knows flavor profiles. Some top Boston cocktail bars have bottles of his bitters that they use for their cocktails.) Just keep the infusions times short, check on it within hours, not days, or you can overwhelm the rye. I have infused rye with black pepper, szechuan pepper, star anise, cloves, fennel seed, allspice, green cardomom and black cardomom, and more. I also did a bacon fat wash in rye.

          1 Reply
          1. re: JMF

            I just did a tangerine peel infused rye and it was wonderful.

          2. for some reason i keep thinking a few staks of lemon grass would infuse rye pretty well. It would be a good compliment to the earthy flavors of rye. though you may need to add some sweenter to get the flavor to come out.