Remember a few weeks ago when I said I was starting a few personal projects? Well, of course they are all delicious. And of course I am going to share them with you.
I read an article in Food and Wine magazine about a month ago about homemade bitters. I had recently realized that although I tend bar at a VERY busy and successful restaurant in Santa Monica, I hadn’t experimented with cocktails much in the last year or so. In fact, the last cocktail I can remember “creating” was the Dirty Kelly in Ithaca, NY. And with California recently reversing the Prohibition Era ban on bars infusing their own liquors, I got to thinking. Maybe it’s time to experiment.
After consulting some of my friends who I thought would be interested, I ended up with three real projects on my hands. The first of which I finished the first stage of yesterday.
Project #1 – Infusing Liquors
As far as I can tell, infusing alcohol sounds pretty easy. And now that I have six jars just marinating on my shelf, it makes me wonder why I ever bought a bottle of Absolut Raspberry or Ketel Citron in the first place. Those big brand liquor companies all mass produce their flavored liquors and that flavor is really all just sugar and artificial mumbo jumbo. My infusions are organic (stop me if I’m getting to hippie-California on you) and – if it turns out like I hope it will – will actually taste exactly like what its supposed to, because that’s all there is in there. No sugar. No chemicals. Just booze and infusion.
Here’s how it went down yesterday.
First off, you have to wash and dry those fantastic mason jars that I love so much. Have you seen my wedding pictures? Mason jars everywhere. This is probably a big part of why I wanted to do this.
Now that the jars are most definitely clean, pick out which liquers you’d like to infuse. I wanted to try a few different combos, so I picked up a handle of Ketel One Vodka, Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum and Maker’s Mark Bourbon at Costco. Then I picked up a few things at the grocery store that reminded me of fall…
For my infusions, I decided to try two combos for each liquor. I ended up with:
- Blackberry Bourbon
- Pecan Bourbon
- Peppercorn Vodka
- Coffee Vodka
- Blackberry Mint Rum
- Pumpkin Spice Rum
Most of the infusions were pretty straightforward. Put ingrediants in a jar. Shake up jar. Seal jar. Put in dark, cool place. Wait. Practice self control. Wait some more. Finally, drink.
The only piece of advice I found from my research was that with the berries, great flavor happens faster when you heat them up a little first so the natural sugars mix with the liquid faster. I also muddled them slightly to get some more of that juice out.
After adding all of the liquor I had to take a few pictures because not only will these (hopefully) taste amazing, they looked pretty amazing as well.
Oh, and Brad got in on the action and infused a few bottles of Olive Oil. I also really love this idea and the bottles are really beautiful, but it won’t get me as tipsy as my infusions so I’m focusing on the booze.
We have (from Left to Right) Blackberry Mint Rum, Blackberry Bourbon, Coffee Vodka, Pepper Olive Oil, Herb and Garlic Olive Oil, Peppercorn Vodka, Pumpkin Spice Rum, and Pecan Bourbon.