Spirits: Fruit infusions-and a Doctor Who themed cocktail
By now you have probably noticed that The Ladies are passionate about many things comics and "geek" culture related. But they are also passionate about Do-it Yourselfness (and apparently making up their own words). All 3 ladies love to create, experiment, craft, dismantle and recreate. This post takes a look at fruit infused spirits. In a time where there are any number of flavored vodkas or other spirits available for purchase, we would like to encourage you to walk straight past that part of your local liquor store, and make your own...which is seriously, so much better. I assure you, you'll never go back to Stoli-Raz. Okay...I love making infused spirits! Really, it's a pretty straight forward process...take spirit (vodka, bourbon, etc) add what you want to infuse it with (fruit, spice, nut) and patiently wait, which is probably the hardest part. With infusions, it's less the process (which is kind of a no brainer) and more the excitement of mixing flavors, watching the base spirit change, and then seeing if your infusion was successful.
I tend to use what's seasonal...so summer means more fruit infusions, and winter, more spice and nut (but that's another post). For my spirit base, I use a middle shelf vodka, "The Russian Standard". I'm not very exact, so I don't really have measurements, but for my Strawberry Thyme infusion, filled the jar halfway with strawberries, added 3-4 sprigs of thyme (fresh), and then filled the jar the rest of the way with vodka.
I left the jar in a cool dark place for about 2 and a half weeks, occasionally shaking it gently. And then......
Ooooo! All the color will leach out of the fruit, leaving you with creepy ghost strawberries, and beautiful bright nectar of strawberry infused goodness. It will also smell amazingly fresh and fruity. Seriously, look how gorgeous! When you are ready to decant, strain it using a fine sieve or some cheesecloth, and the funnel into a bottle. We either save bottles from other spirits for resuse, or purchase some empties.
I was very happy with how this came out. You get a very slight sweetness from the berries, with a touch of savory from the thyme. It tastes real, and cozy, and begs for further cocktail experimentation.
Another recent infusion was blueberry basil vodka. The blueberries were hand picked in NH by The Goog and me, and the basil was grown in a pot on our balcony.
Check out the exciting purple color! The color change aspect of this process is probably my favorite part. It feels so mad sciencey! But it also tastes delicious, like actual fresh blueberries, with a slight hint of herbaceousness from the basil.
What I hope to impart here is that making your own fruit infusions is MUCH better than any artificial flavored vodkas you can buy and so super easy that it doesn't make much sense to drink that other stuff. I mean whatever, if you like the artificial stuff, follow your bliss, but I bet your bliss will be more "blissier" (two new words in one post!) if you go the for-real route.
Note: The above mentioned cocktail experimentation lead to...(and yes, this was right before catching the mid-season finale of Doctor Who)