What makes mixing cocktails so fun is that there are countless ways to make yourself a drink. You can stir, blend, shake and strain, or, as you'll discover in this article, infuse the ingredients together. Usually, crafting a homemade cocktail infusion entails soaking ingredients like herbs, fruits, and spices in alcohol for several days, sometimes even weeks. During this period, the alcohol draws out the flavors and aromas from the soaked ingredients.
After the allotted infusion time, you strain out the solid ingredients from the liquid, and presto! You're left with a remarkably flavorful alcohol that carries hints of the ingredients you steeped it with. If you're short on time or prefer not to wait days before sipping your drink, a blender can accelerate the process so it takes just a few minutes. As Dorothy Elizabeth, the head bartender at Straylight in New York, shared with Punch Magazine, the blades of your blender work exceptionally well as a rapid infuser.
The process of making an infusion with a blender is quite similar to making a smoothie: Add your choice of herbs, fruits, or greens along with a small amount of alcohol or liquid to the blender. Then, pulse it for just 10 to 15 seconds and the ingredients inside will turn into a purée. Finally, allow this mixture to rest for around two minutes before straining out all the solids. The liquid that remains is your infusion!
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Experiment With These Easy Cocktail Infusion Recipes
There are dozens of infusions with varying levels of complexity that you can try. But if this is your first one, let's start easy, shall we? A great beginner-friendly recipe is this cranberry-infused vodka, created by Michelle McGlinn and the Tasting Table team. All you need is a bottle of (cheap) vodka and four ingredients that'll serve as the flavoring base — cranberries, ginger, allspice berries, and orange peel. Just toss these ingredients into a blender with the vodka, blend everything together, and then strain it.
What you'll get is a flavored vodka that you can use to add a fruity twist to classic cocktails like the Martini, Cosmopolitan, and Ice Pick. If you're a fan of all-American whiskeys, you can also give your cocktail a touch of sweetness by infusing your bourbon with dates. While a smooth Old Fashioned is already delicious on its own, adding dates can introduce a completely new layer of flavor that's sure to be a hit, even among die-hard fans of the classic cocktail.
And if you want a spike of heat with your drink instead of just a mild fruitiness or a touch of sweetness, you can try infusing tequila with chiles. A spiced tequila infusion makes an excellent addition to more savory cocktails like the Bloody Maria. Also, if you're fond of fiery-tasting drinks, you can take a straight shot of this peppery infusion. You'll be able to work up quite a satisfying sweat!
Read the original article on Tasting Table.