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Cocktail Time – Infusions – by Hemant Pathak

infusions

Introduction

Infuse a spirit with your favorite flavors to give your cocktails a kick without adding extra syrups or ingredients, it sounds really interesting. This is also one of the oldest technique which helps to make liqueurs out of liquor. The truth is that infusions are creative and delicious, and add a ton of flavor to your cocktails, especially when you do it right. It’s fun to make “Jalapeno Margarita” with some spicy touch with jalapeno infusion. I strongly believe that “It allows for a hand-crafted element and simplicity, instead of adding more and more ingredients. It also has the cool factor of being able to make a variation of a drink using a spirit infused with an ingredient that someone really loves, like the heat from a hot pepper infusion for example.” The alcohol percentage (abv) in a spirits matters for how fast the particular spirit get flavor during infusion. Making syrups and infusions are two different things where infusions and very easy and allow us to get clean and crisp flavor into alcohol which leads to a great concoction while mixing. Same time you have to be conscious about the particular thing you going to infuse like any kind of fresh peel can taste bitter if you infuse for the long time where other side any kind of nuts need longer time to get desired flavor.

How to Make a Great Infused Spirit

There are a few guidelines to follow when making your own infusions to make them taste better. And it’s easier than you might think: Bottles: To start, put your liquor and infusion ingredients in a separate bottle or jar (glass is best), not the bottle the liquor originally came in, even don’t use plastic bottles. Time: Depends what you are going to infuse but generally allow 24-48 hours for most infusions, then strain out solids and rebottle the liquid in its original vessel. “Always strain out organic compounds. They will get bitter with time.” Storage: Infused spirits like vodka and rum don’t need to be refrigerated, but wine-based or liqueur made from fresh ingredients should be kept in the fridge. Minimize exposure to direct light. Quantities: “Don’t overdo it. Start with a small amount of your ingredient for a short time and taste it as in infuses. You can always add more Start with vodka: I would always recommend your first infusion spirit suppose to be “Vodka” as It good to start with flavorless spirit before moving to the complex flavors. Recently I come up with one of my signature infusion at Junoon with bourbon whiskey. As I love honey whiskey and this time I have decided to get some spice flavor into my honey whiskey with “pipli pepper and cinnamon” infusion. Here is what you need to do for that:

Spiced Honey Whiskey

honey-whiskey

Honey Whiskey

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 medium cinnamon stick
  • 4 long (pipli) pepper
  • Lemon zest – from about 1/3 to 1/2 of a medium lemon
  • 1 1/2 ounces Water
  • 1 cup Bourbon or Whiskey of your choice

Method:

  1. Crack the pepper in small pieces, Place the first five ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer on low heat. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently. Allow the mixture to cool completely. Strain out the solids with a mesh strainer.
  2. Pour the honey mixture into a pint jar or other infusion vessel. Add the bourbon or whiskey, and close the jar tight. Shake well to combine.
  3. After 24-48 hours, strain through a coffee filter, and let the infusion rest for a few days before drinking.
  4. Depending on how much heat you can take, feel free to use long pepper (call pipli pepper) accordingly.

I would say no matter what you just understand the flavor profile and pairing before start infusion and focus on desired end product you wants to get out of, during this process don’t forget to keep your eye on the infusion and taste it regularly.

About The Author

Hemant works by day as a mixologist at a high end cocktail Lounge along with specialty Michelin Star Indian restaurant called “Junoon”, in New York. It has a lounge bar called “Patiala Lounge” which presents contemporary cocktails that crossover many of the herbs and spices found in Indian cuisine. Apart from this I work with a very unique bar, New York’s largest Whisky bar called “Flatiron Room” where we have 750 different whiskies from across the world; my job here is to develop the menu according to the seasons.

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