If you don’t religiously troll food network programs like I sometimes don’t, (I’m notoriously flighty in my TV watching habits) then you might not know, but – infusing your booze with various flavors is the new “thing”.
But aside from the obvious bonuses of looking cool and being able to feel like an old world apothecary bartender, infusing spirits with flavor is a great way to experiment with your own personal tastes. And the sky is the limit. You can use practically anything to inject flavor into your favorite cocktails. The basic concept is to marry a variety of choice flavors into a base liquor to create a custom-flavored spirit. Vodka is the most common base spirit used and the other light spirits (gin, sake, light rum) can also be used with almost any flavor. It’s so easy to do, it’s almost laughable.
On Fathers Day I had a blast making my dad some Fresh Cherry and Cinnamon Infused Rum, and while I was in the mood to play culinary artisan, I made a small batch of Rose Petal and Hibiscus Infused Vodka while I was at it. I am really looking forward to having this baby so that I can join in the flavored liquor fun instead of mixing concoctions that go primarily to my father (what with hubby being in Boot Camp and all).
For these particular infusions, here’s what you’ll need:
Vodka of your choice
Dried rose petals
Dried hibiscus flowers
1. Fill the jars with your petals / flowers.
Sprinkle the rose petals and hibiscus flowers into separate clean mason jars. How much you put in, and how long you keep the dried flowers sitting will determine just how flavorful the vodka becomes. I filled the jars roughly half full. (Or half empty, for you pessimists out there.) Pour the vodka over the dried flowers.
2. Seal the jars, and let them infuse.
Put the lid tightly back on the jars and let them sit (away from direct sunlight) until the vodka takes on the desired flavor. This varies depending on what you are flavoring your vodka with. Fresh herbs, flowers, fruits and veggies generally require a longer infusion time, ranging from 7 days to a full month. Dried herbs and flowers cut down the infusion time quite drastically, with infusion times ranging from a few hours to a couple weeks.
For these particular recipes, the Hibiscus Infused Vodka only took two hours to take on the desired flavor. (In fact, it was almost overwhelmingly flavored after that time.) The Rose Petal Infused Vodka took about five days for it’s peak flavor, though it could have easily sat for another week or so to really pack a flavorful punch. You can (and should) always periodically taste the vodka to see when it’s acquired a flavor to your liking.
3. Drain the vodka, and serve.
Drain the liquid into a fresh, clean mason jar. Once your booze is sufficiently infused, drain the dried petals / flowers out of the liquid and store your freshly infused vodka into a new, clean mason jar. You can discard the flowers, or hold onto them for another round of infusions – although if your flowers are particularly water-logged, you may just want to toss them. Since the hibiscus only took two hours to leech the flavor, my dad kept the vodka soaked flowers to make tea with. Which is particularly clever, I thought. Spiked tea? Uhhh, yes please. Anhow, that’s is pretty much it! Easy peasy, and it looks decadent and tastes it too.
Like I said earlier, there’s just something about infusing your own spirits that harkens back to an industrial era apothecary world. Once I get settled, I fully intend to create an infusion shelf, cluttered with old fashioned bottles stuffed with crazy and unique flavors.