Get enthused to infuse

Wander down the aisles of any decent-sized liquor store and you are bound to see scores of flavored spirits. You will find everything from spiced rum to cucumber gin to peach and orange blossom vodka. Usually these flavored liquors command a premium price, and if you end up not liking the taste, you might find yourself with a mostly-full bottle that sits on the shelf gathering dust. 

elderberry gin

Instead of spending money to buy a flavored spirit, you can easily make your own at home by infusing spirits with fruits, vegetables, spices, and even meat (bacon-infused bourbon, anyone?). In addition to saving money, by making it yourself you can create a flavor profile to exactly suit your preferences, and you can experiment with flavors that go far beyond liquor store offerings. Another advantage is the scalability. If you make small batches, even if you get a dud you won’t waste an entire bottle of alcohol. 

Teetotalers can get in on the action too – almost anything you can infuse into a spirit can be infused into water, although it might take a bit longer. Infused beverages like Grapefruit & coriander infused water or Cold-infused blackberry-pepper soda  are great summertime refreshers and make fantastic non-alcoholic options for your dinner party guests. 

While infusing spirits is fairly straightforward, it is helpful to have a few recipes to guide you as you begin your flavored liquor journey. If you are a gin fan, indexed blog Great British Chefs offers eleven different infused gin recipes, including the Elderberry gin pictured above. The EYB Library contains other great recipes like these: 

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  • dtremit  on  June 16, 2019

    An otherwise terribly tacky, defunct steakhouse chain near here used to have pineapple infused vodka as their signature drink — they made it in those big, glass iced tea containers with the spigot on the side, with layers of pineapple rings stacked in the jar and the vodka poured over. Delicious and decorative!

  • Jane  on  June 17, 2019

    Thanks for this article Darcie. You prompted me to use up some excess rhubarb and a gin I'm not overly keen on – hopefully the gin will be more palatable with the rhubarb influence. I used the BBC Good Food recipe rather than GBC as BBCGF steep the rhubarb and sugar for 24 hours to draw out the pink rhubarb juices, which seemed a good idea. They also infuse the gin for 4 weeks rather than 3 days which again I think will give a more rhubarby flavor. Now I have to wait 4 weeks for the result!

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