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Infusions & Tinctures at Home: The Topic


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#31 Busboy

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Posted 03 June 2003 - 01:24 PM

I want to try some sort of lavendar infusion this summer. 

Lavendar?
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#32 APPS411

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Posted 03 June 2003 - 02:01 PM

I would go with Kettle One or Van Hoo. They are very neutral and will take on outside flavors very easily.

As for infusing. I've been meaning to try to duplicate a infused vodka that I had in a bloody mary in La Jolla, CA. It was infused with (I think) bell peppers (red and green), fresh horseradish slices, radishes, and maybee some tomato water.
It was some good stuff. While drinking the bloody mary, you could taste the bell peppers as if you were biting into them.

#33 herbacidal

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Posted 03 June 2003 - 08:56 PM

I wrote an article on this a couple years back and did extensive home research. The first thing you should know is that it's hard to screw this up -- put your flavorings in, taste it in a week and either add more, adjust or dilute as you see fit. 

I assume to dilute you add water?

The second is that tasting your product to adjust flavoring can be hazardous to the quantity of your final product


Yea, that was one thing that had occured to me.

The third is to use good vodka

Well, the key for me, as I see it is to use something good enough such that it is neutral in odor and taste, yet not so good that it would be a waste to infuse it with something, it would be something I would drink straight up.
My impression based on vodkaphiles.com was that Smirnoff Red Label fit that bill.

My favorite combination is lemon peel and honey. Make sure you don't get the pith in. I think I used the peel of two lemons and about 2 tsp of honey.


That combination intrigues me. Although at this point, the 3 I want to do are:
1) Jolly Rancher, because it's interesting to me how the taste would come out
2) a Spanish flavor oriented one, because if I do bring one to the paella shindig in Chicago, this would be the one to bring
3) an Asian fruit one, because I'm Asian (Chinese, because no Asian actually thinks of themselves as Asian, although there are no "Chinese fruits" really)

on that last one the following have occured to me:
durian, jackfruit, mango, longan, lychee

I've googled it, but I may be limited to what I can find locally.
Herb aka "herbacidal"

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#34 beans

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Posted 03 June 2003 - 09:04 PM

Durian should be interesting! I ate it in Thailand and am not sure I would again! :laugh:

#35 KatieLoeb

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Posted 03 June 2003 - 10:01 PM

Herb:

Before you go plowing head on into stinky or possibly not tasty Asian fruits (depending on ripeness, of course) why don't you try:

1) Jolly Rancher of your choice

2) Asian = Lemograss/Ginger flavor, or at worst, Mandarin Orange or Lychee

3) Spanish = Tough call. I'd go with a Dulce de Leche type infusion, although how to achieve that with a neutral spirit is a mystery to me. Perhaps melting Kraft Caramels in vodka of choice? Or maybe Seville Oranges???

Perhaps sticking to those things that are "predictable" might be a better bet in some cases.

Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

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#36 herbacidal

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 08:22 AM

2)  Asian = Lemograss/Ginger flavor, or at worst, Mandarin Orange or Lychee

ginger is appealing. lemongrass not so much, at least for me.

Perhaps sticking to those things that are "predictable" might be a better bet in some cases.


but that's not so much fun!

at any rate, with less "predictable" flavors that I'm trying for, I would probably do smaller jars, so as to risk less.
Herb aka "herbacidal"

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#37 elyse

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 10:06 AM

I think the bell pepper sounds realy nice.

#38 trillium

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 10:52 AM

how about pandan?  it might make a nice infused vodka and look cool to boot.

regards,
trillium

sorry, what is pandan?

I answered this same question in a PM but here it is for any other interested readers.

it's an herb/plant leaf used a lot in south east asian (malay, thai, vietnamese, singaporean for sure, not sure about laos, cambodia etc) cooking. it gets used for savory (hainanese chicken rice in s'pore for example) and a lot in sweet (all the nonya/straits chinese sweets, ice kecang, and my favorite, chendol). It gives off bright green liquid and smells a little like vanilla and a little like good jasmine rice steaming. It looks like giant blades of grass. It gets sold seasonally in the fresh veg part of a se asian grocery and is stocked in the freezer year round. Here's a pic

Posted Image

regards,

trillium

#39 jackal10

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 12:13 PM

Here in northern Finland they have a vodka (Terwasnapsi) infused with pine tar. Quite sweet.
They also have one with black sweets (liquorice?) dissolved in it

#40 Jim Dixon

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 04:40 PM

I think you'll get much better results, no matter what flavor you want in the end, if you use grain alcohol instead of vodka. It's been my experience that the nearly pure alcohol is better at getting the flavor out of whatever you're soaking (in my case, citrus peels), and you can dilute it to whatever proof you like.

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#41 beans

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Posted 04 June 2003 - 04:49 PM

jakal: My favourite beer brewery uses Sitka Spruce tips as flavouring. So I'd guess pine tar would be very interesting.

Jim: You mean the likes of say grain alcohol Everclear at 191 proof?????? Yikes! Those bring back the hairy buffalo days of an early, and underaged, collegiate dorm life! That stuff will melt your throat lining as you drink it! :laugh:

#42 RodJSM

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 04:46 PM

I made a ginger infusion recently that I liked a lot. I added probably a tablespoon or more shredded ginger to about 12 ounces of (I believe) Smirnoff vodka. Let sit in the refrigerator about two weeks, agitating occasionally. Then strain off the infusion and discard the ginger. Cheesecloth or coffee filters work well for that.

This adds a great essence of ginger to whatever it's added to. The lemon grass idea sounds good too. I'd love to hear recipe ideas for cocktails using a ginger infusion to go along with Asian food. I've had a mental block when it comes to creativity on this but I really enjoy the following drink with any meal involving soy sauce and rice:

Ginger Cocktail (please don't ever call this a ginger martini :hmmm:)
1 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce ginger infusion
1/2 ounce dry vermouth
garnish with a sprinkling of roasted sesame seeds
Substituting sake for dry vermouth works well too.

Rodney

#43 KNorthrup

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Posted 05 June 2003 - 07:05 PM

I brought back a grappa infused with fraises de bois. They were left in the bottle too. Nice way to make them last when the season's so short.

Has anyone ever tried rhubarb?

#44 Flocko

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 11:19 AM

A zillion years ago (more like 10) I was living in Hoboken and my best friend was a bartender (now known as The Fisherman). An older Eastern European gentleman talked his ear off one afternoon about some grass they put in vodka and how he couldn’t get it in the US, but had it mailed from Poland.

A few weeks later he gave my friend an envelope with dozens of long strands of grass that he called bison grass (which led to the name “Buffalo Booze” for the finished product). He gave me some and we each put a few strands in bottles of Absolut and stuck them in our respective freezers. We just left the grass in the bottle. The result was a fresh, herbal taste that I loved. His ran out sooner than mine, so we were able to taste it over months and it continued to improve.

If you know any older Polish gentlemen, see if they can get you some bison grass.

The vodka flavored with bison grass is called Zubrovka. It is very popular in eastern and western Europe. It was illegal for some time in the US, due to a carcinogen in the bison grass. A Russian and a Polish version have been allowed to be imported again in the last couple of years.......sans the grass, but with the same flavor. I used to get the bison grass at a natural foods store in Berkeley before the ban and made my own version using a moderate priced vodka.

Remember the Zubrovka scene in Maugham's "The Razor's Edge" (book and movie)??
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#45 KatieLoeb

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 11:28 AM

Herb:

My new Scandinavian cookbook has a recipe for a Lemon Mead in it. Interested? :cool:

Katie M. Loeb
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Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#46 beans

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Posted 06 June 2003 - 08:04 PM

How about some wormwood? Opps that would be in the direction of Absinthe.... *sigh*

#47 ksatterwhite

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Posted 10 June 2003 - 07:49 AM

Hello All-

This my first post. So, I'll say Hello! Now I'll address the post.

I have been doing Vodka (Stoli) and Pineapple for quite a few years now. I got the idea from "The Capital Grille". They have a drink called the "Stoli Doli". When I drink them there, they seem to let small pieces of the fruit (pulp) remain. When I make at home I have this glass jar (quite large) that I use. I think it's hexagon or octogon. One of those shapes with more than four flat sides. It has a metal spout at the bottom. I cut the top and bottom off the pineapple and then shave the sides so that just the fruit is left. Then, cut into 1/2 - 1" slices. The thicker slices hold up better. I then lay the round slices flat on the bottom of the jar, fill with Stoli vodka and refrigerate for 24 hrs. The spout does tend to get clogged up with pulp. So, if I'm doing for a party I'll use several glass jars (so I can make more at a time) which don't need a spout and then (after soaking in fridge for 24 hrs) strain through cheese cloth or a sieve.

It's better to use pineapples that are just shy of ripe. This way the fruit is firmer and you don't end up with a little bit of vodka with a lot of sweet fruit juice. I like the flavor and touch of sweetness without the thick syrup.

Until later...

Keith

#48 elyse

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Posted 10 June 2003 - 12:21 PM

Welcome, Keith! Have you thought of using a screen on the inside of the bottle so the spout doesn't clog up?

#49 ksatterwhite

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Posted 10 June 2003 - 03:34 PM

Elyse-

I do have a screen down there. But, the flow grandually slows down. Depending on how much energy I feel like putting into the party, I might use it. But, I also have numerous glass containers that have been strained. The large container with the spout is about two gallons. And, when done well, looks really good with the thick slices placed in an even pattern that fills the jar.

P.S. I got the idea of displaying the jar with pineapple slices from "The Capital Grille" also. They have one on their bar. It really looks good. Great conversation piece. Not so much of a conversation piece for me any longer. Most of my guests have already seen it.

Until later...

Keith

#50 herbacidal

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Posted 16 June 2003 - 10:32 AM

And it has begun!!

Thursday before I went to bed, I started the first 2.

The first two flavors are: habanero and watermelon Jolly Rancher.

I ended up going with Smirnoff 100 proof, as KatieLoeb recommended to me the higher alcohol content would be helpful.

I did go with more flavoring than recommended above, 3 habanero peppers for 800ml.
I used 5-6 Jolly Ranchers for the watermelon.

The 3rd one will be star anise, I just have to put it together.
I am very concerned about oversweetening the vodka with that one.
Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

#51 Xanthippe

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Posted 16 June 2003 - 05:53 PM

And it has begun!!

Thursday before I went to bed, I started the first 2.

The first two flavors are: habanero and watermelon Jolly Rancher.

I ended up going with Smirnoff 100 proof, as KatieLoeb recommended to me the higher alcohol content would be helpful.

I did go with more flavoring than recommended above, 3 habanero peppers for 800ml.
I used 5-6 Jolly Ranchers for the watermelon.

The 3rd one will be star anise, I just have to put it together.
I am very concerned about oversweetening the vodka with that one.

Keep us posted, herba!

#52 KatieLoeb

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Posted 16 June 2003 - 05:59 PM

I did go with more flavoring than recommended above, 3 habanero peppers for 800ml.


YIKES - Herb! 3 Habaneros! You know usually a pinhead sized bit of habanero is enough to give off noticeable heat. I'd watch this carefully. It might be lethal by the time it's done. Might also make a truly ass-kicking Bloody Mary! :blink:

Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
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Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#53 mjg

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 12:19 PM

I've eagerly read around through this post and didn't find any info on infusing vodka with herbs. How might that work? I'm envisioning a basil vodka with the backlog of basil I have from my garden. Not sure exactly what I would do with it, but a penne with basil vodka sauce is on my mind. Any thoughts on this?

#54 Jason Perlow

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 12:51 PM

I did go with more flavoring than recommended above, 3 habanero peppers for 800ml.


YIKES - Herb! 3 Habaneros! You know usually a pinhead sized bit of habanero is enough to give off noticeable heat. I'd watch this carefully. It might be lethal by the time it's done. Might also make a truly ass-kicking Bloody Mary! :blink:

I did a vodka with 3 RED SAVINA habeneros last summer. You have to dispense it in eyedroppers mixed with regular vodka.
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#55 herbacidal

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 11:55 AM

I did go with more flavoring than recommended above, 3 habanero peppers for 800ml.


YIKES - Herb! 3 Habaneros! You know usually a pinhead sized bit of habanero is enough to give off noticeable heat. I'd watch this carefully. It might be lethal by the time it's done. Might also make a truly ass-kicking Bloody Mary! :blink:

I did a vodka with 3 RED SAVINA habeneros last summer. You have to dispense it in eyedroppers mixed with regular vodka.

how much volume was that with?
you cut them up and dumped it all in seeds and all?
i wanted to get the full flavor out of it. :biggrin:

yea, i think that's what i might do, just use it as a topper to a standard strength and flavor vodka in a bloody mary.

i've decided that the third vodka i will do will be ginger.
interested to see how it will come out. ginger martinis, among other things should be interesting.
i like it in particular because i've used lemon grass for drinks before and it's overpowering.
ginger should be not quite as strong.
Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

#56 KatieLoeb

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Posted 29 July 2003 - 06:17 PM

I've eagerly read around through this post and didn't find any info on infusing vodka with herbs. How might that work? I'm envisioning a basil vodka with the backlog of basil I have from my garden. Not sure exactly what I would do with it, but a penne with basil vodka sauce is on my mind. Any thoughts on this?

Brilliant makes a Tarragon flavored vodka I'm dying to try, but alas I live in PA and there's the Liquor Control Board to contend with and all the Prohibition era regulations so good things are hard to find or must be special ordered.

Katie M. Loeb
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Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol


#57 herbacidal

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 07:31 PM

well, the debut of the habanero vodka last night was a smashing success.

really nice kick. awesome bloody marys.
Herb aka "herbacidal"

Tom is not my friend.

#58 slkinsey

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 07:36 PM

I picked up some fresh lavender at the Union Square Greenmarket this morning and am currently infusing a fifth of Absolut. Will report back soonest.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#59 beans

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 07:53 PM

I picked up some fresh lavender at the Union Square Greenmarket this morning and am currently infusing a fifth of Absolut.  Will report back soonest.

Sam--

Please do report back on that! Busboy thought it was odd I wanted to do the same thing... :blink:

#60 TuWanda

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Posted 09 August 2003 - 08:12 PM

A good Asian combination is ginger, lemongrass and szechuan peppercorns. Absolut vodka, 100 proof, proferably.

I love Stoli Doli's - they serve them at a local bar here, too. But I like to use Ketel One instead of the Stolichnya, just because I like the flavor.