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Infusions & Tinctures at Home: The Topic


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#61 slkinsey

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 07:30 AM

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:

So far it is already a beautiful emerald green. Lavender must be bursting with aromatic oils, because I had to pour out a little of the vodka to make more room after I had stuffed in about half of the lavender and it already tasted quite lavender-ey! I want to make sure I strain it out while the flavor is strong but still delicate amd floral -- before it acquires any of the darker vegetal flavors infused vodkas can pick up if you over-infuse herbs. Now, the question is what interesting cocktails I can make with lavender vodka.
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#62 herbacidal

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 10:34 AM

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.

really?

i didn't want to use lemon grass because i had it in a drink before. i thought it overpowered everything else. thought the ginger was a better ingredient for a subtler, more moderate drink.
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#63 beans

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 10:38 AM

Sam:

Think about culinary combinations for inspiration and then adapt.

Lavender and Ginger
Lavender and Lemon
Lavender and Berries
Lavender and Tea
Lavender and Pear

I found an odd recipe for a Lavender Margarita, but the measurements were kinda whacky, it needs to be tweeked. It uses lavender flower heads, but why not add the vodka? It's also a bit involved.

Ingredients: Tequila (for one drink I'd use about 1 1/4 ounce), Blue Curacao (1/2 ounce and I'd probably opt for a substitution of Cointreau or Grand Marnier), coconut milk (eyeball it), fresh lime juice (ditto), frozen raspberries and frozen blue berries (cuts down on need for ice, although a few cubes may be necessary).

Hope this helps. Cheers!

#64 slkinsey

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 11:05 AM

hmmm... lavender vodka, limoncello and a little bit of lemon juice for acidity might be interesting...
Samuel Lloyd Kinsey

#65 beans

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Posted 10 August 2003 - 11:14 AM

hmmm...  lavender vodka, limoncello and a little bit of lemon juice for acidity might be interesting...

Yum. Sounds lovely. :wub:

#66 herbacidal

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Posted 28 August 2003 - 12:12 AM

now i think i'm gonna do a horseradish vodka.
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#67 Exotic Mushroom

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Posted 31 August 2003 - 09:40 PM

As far as what vodka to use - I think a good rule of thumb is never to use something for infusing that you wouldn't happily drink on its own. I like Skyy for infusing because it starts out so flavor empty, but smooth. But in general, don't go with super cheap stuff.

As for what to infuse with - I've recently become enthralled with using cucumber. It produces a very mild flavor, but also very crisp and pleasant. It's an interesting twist and is generally great to drink straight, in martinis, or in bloody marys.

#68 Truffle

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Posted 31 August 2003 - 09:44 PM

Turi Vodka, featured at Tru in Chicago.........aromatic.........Check it out.

#69 jawbone

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Posted 06 October 2003 - 12:51 PM

I recently had a martini made from vodka infused with berry-flavoured tea. Does anyone have suggestions for the best way of making tea-infused vodka? I'm assuming that some sort of heat will be required to extract the tea flavour?? And how does one do that without losing alcohol? Any help would be very welcome.

#70 tryska

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Posted 06 October 2003 - 01:21 PM

I also liked garlic and dill -- I started out putting it in bloody maries and ended up drinking the stuff straight, iced.

mmmm...this sounds really good.

how much garlic did you use?

i'm actually thinking about making one with garlic, bell pepper and horseradish flavored vodka.

my problem is, that i'm liberal with my use of garlic, but it winds up incredibly overpowering.

#71 herbacidal

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Posted 10 October 2003 - 12:50 AM

my problem is, that i'm liberal with my use of garlic, but it winds up incredibly overpowering.

yup, mine was the same with my liberal use of habanero peppers. also that i decided to fully expose the peppers by cutting them open rather than throwing them in whole.

i didn't really mind it per se, because as far as usage, basically i get twice as much, since i have to dilute the habanero infused vodka with regular vodka to spread the flavor out. others, however were insistent on dilution.
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#72 tryska

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Posted 10 October 2003 - 05:29 AM

yeah habaneros are one of those things where truly a little dab will do ya.

#73 herbacidal

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Posted 11 November 2003 - 09:44 PM

hey,

infused 2 more vodkas.

800 ml each of grape jolly rancher

and crystallized ginger

the latter is gonna be interesting. it was crystallized ginger that i bought at a flea market because i love ginger candy (chinese kind).
but the kind i bought had sugar all over it, and was quite sweet.

before i put the ginger in the jar, i soaked it in water to lose what sugar i could, then dried them in a toaster oven. also put a lot more than i did of other ingredients because i didn't notice a particularly large amount of flavor.

we'll see how it goes.
Herb aka "herbacidal"

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#74 stephenc

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 06:58 PM

As far as what vodka to use - I think a good rule of thumb is never to use something for infusing that you wouldn't happily drink on its own. I like Skyy for infusing because it starts out so flavor empty, but smooth. But in general, don't go with super cheap stuff.

As for what to infuse with - I've recently become enthralled with using cucumber. It produces a very mild flavor, but also very crisp and pleasant. It's an interesting twist and is generally great to drink straight, in martinis, or in bloody marys.

As for what to infuse with - I've recently become enthralled with using cucumber. It produces a very mild flavor, but also very crisp and pleasant. It's an interesting twist and is generally great to drink straight, in martinis, or in bloody marys.


I do this. It smells amazing

#75 beans

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 07:05 PM

First, stephenc, welcome to eG! :smile:

Following slkinsey's spiritous preferences or suggestions will lead you to some very good things. :wub:

#76 halland

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Posted 18 November 2003 - 07:45 PM

For infusing AND for general drinking, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better value for the price than Luksosowa. Its a potato-based vodka that is about $14/fifth. Its my favorite regardless of price and I've used it quite a bit for Aquavit infusions and have always been quite happy with the final product.

Outside of the usual infusions like Caraway/Dill/Fennel/etc. combinations to come up with fairly traditional Danish (strong caraway, like Aalborg green bottle) and Norwegian (like Line), we also had good results with a coffee bean infusion.

Hal

Edited by halland, 18 November 2003 - 07:46 PM.


#77 herbacidal

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Posted 19 November 2003 - 09:18 PM

For infusing AND for general drinking, I think you'd be hard pressed to find a better value for the price than Luksosowa. Its a potato-based vodka that is about $14/fifth. Its my favorite regardless of price and I've used it quite a bit for Aquavit infusions and have always been quite happy with the final product.


ya know, i bought a bottle once.

can't remember if i tasted it. pretty sure i gave it away as a gift.

too bad i didn't buy 2.
Herb aka "herbacidal"

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#78 beans

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Posted 19 November 2003 - 10:06 PM

A recent bonus to purchasing Luksusova, you get a tiny jar of about a dozen peeled, preserved Luksusova, The Original Potato Vodka, Odorless Martini Garlic.

Under the name it states: "Enjoy the Breathless Martini: Luksusova Potato Vodka served ice cold with a few cloves or Martini Garlic."

Sorry Robert (my favourite Cocktail Evangelist, aka DrinkBoy) and MatthewB! :raz:

Guess that strikes one up for you Monica! (cross thread referencing)

:biggrin:

Edited by beans, 19 November 2003 - 10:07 PM.


#79 catiii

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Posted 26 November 2003 - 08:39 PM

If you're looking for neutral and clean, I have found only one that truly fits
that description imo: Grey Goose. I wouldn't destroy it with an infusion, however :)

For instance if you want an orange "infusion", take a frosted martini or shot glass of Ice Cold vodka (no ice) and add just a touch of Blue Curacao. Better than the commercial varieties, you can adjust to taste, and you don't end up with an entire bottle of something you may get tired of.
Variety is the spice of life :)
Texas Tequila Sunrise:

1 Bottle 100% Agave Tequila
1 shot glass, rim salted
1 lime, quartered
1 sunrise
*Pour tequila in salted shot glass. Drop in
1/4 lime. Contemplate the sunrise.
Drink until done. Repeat.

#80 beans

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Posted 26 November 2003 - 09:41 PM

:cool: Welcome to eG catiii!

Try a home infusion and you'll think twice about commercially distilled! I think you'd be quite pleasantly surprised. :wink:


edited to add: Sweet signature. I know all about that fine line between Saturday night and Sunday morning... :raz:

Edited by beans, 26 November 2003 - 09:42 PM.


#81 catiii

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Posted 28 November 2003 - 12:32 AM

Hee hee..Thanks beans!!! :))) :cool:
Texas Tequila Sunrise:

1 Bottle 100% Agave Tequila
1 shot glass, rim salted
1 lime, quartered
1 sunrise
*Pour tequila in salted shot glass. Drop in
1/4 lime. Contemplate the sunrise.
Drink until done. Repeat.

#82 mjg

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Posted 02 December 2003 - 02:26 PM

On the recommendation of this thread, I infused some vodka with a couple habeneros from my garden. I finally got up the courage to shoot a bit of it down and it is glorious. I'd placed two halved habeneros in a small mason jar with some (don't skewer me too much for this) Grey Goose I had in the freezer, and left it out for about three or four weeks.

The fruit, something I'd never picked up before in really hot peppers, is intense in the nose. The taste is strikingly fruity with a long, mellow burn. The experiment was a rousing success.

I started a jar of cranberry vodka on Thanksgiving. I'll report back any similar successes.

#83 MiguelCardoso

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Posted 05 December 2003 - 11:43 PM

Why go on buying decidedly inferior flavoured vodkas when you can make your own cheaply and easily in minutes? Fresh fruit, citrus and apple peels or herbs; vanilla, cinnamon or other spices: just drop them into a bottle of decent vodka and, a few days later, you're away. Here's a helpful website: The Danish Schnapps Page.

#84 MiguelCardoso

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Posted 06 December 2003 - 12:02 AM

This winter I've made surprisingly fresh and tangy infusions with the peel from the new oranges and lemons, tangerines, "tângeras" (a cross between a a tangerine, a lemon and a bitter orange) and "clementinas" (a sweeter, pulpier tangerine). It's important to remove the pithy, white cellulose from the peel - unless you want the extra bitterness. Grapefruit and lime were a failure (musty-tasting and acid), as were the several ambitious combinations of lemons and other citrus fruits, resulting in confusing flavours.

Next week, encouraged by the results, I'll be trying raspberries and blackberries (these take longer to infuse and need to be filtered) as well as some basic kitchen herbs (fresh basil, coriander and oregano) to use in cooking

You also can't go wrong with a whole vanilla pod or freshly plucked "malaguetas" or other small chili peppers. Although most experts recommend that one remove the peel, fruit, pod or whatever after a few days, I've found that leaving them in for up to three weeks (in a cool, dark place, supposedly - but sunshine works too!) deepens the flavour.

I boringly use the tangerine vodka with fresh tangerine juice and so on but I'm sure there are more exciting ways of serving - and perhaps even mixing - one's infusions.

#85 MiguelCardoso

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Posted 06 December 2003 - 03:28 AM

Oops. Talk about being a newbie - I just noticed that there's already a very lively thread on vodka infusions on eGullet. Can someone please delete this embarrassing attempt at a first post? Thank you ever so much!

EDIT by Jason Perlow: Threads merged, thanks!

Edited by Jason Perlow, 06 December 2003 - 01:08 PM.


#86 beans

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Posted 06 December 2003 - 01:04 PM

Not embarassing! Thanks for the link. :smile:

And, welcome to eG MiguelCardoso! :cool:

Perhaps we can ask if this can be merged into the vodka thread by one of the site managers?

#87 HeatherM

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Posted 06 December 2003 - 02:04 PM

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)??

Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka is available in Ontario through the LCBO. They carry bison grass vodka by two different producers - Bak's and Fabryka Wodek Gdanskich. If I remember correctly, the bottles do have a couple of blades of grass in them, but I've never tried it, so I can't say for sure. Here's what the LCBO website has to say about it...

"... absolute purity; the opening nosing presents a delightfully sweet and, well, grassy aroma that's more candy-like than fresh mown lawn-like -- with aeration, the aroma turns into a full-blown bouquet that's delicate yet assertive, nuanced yet perfumey in a floral way ... an intensely aromatic bouquet that's sweet in a floral manner, then the flavour expands in mid-palate to include atypical vodka tastes of cocoa, dark caramel and nougat. Score -- **** (out of 5). (F. Paul Pacult, Spirit Journal, June 1999)"

#88 MiguelCardoso

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Posted 08 December 2003 - 07:28 PM

Thanks, beans! I'm a great fan of your cocktail seminars - I specially like the insight into your current experiments.

This is just an update on my recent infusions. I'm very happy with my coffee bean (São Tomé Arábica) vodka - this has to be the most rewarding and instantly gratifying of all, for us beginners. I like Black Russians and White Russians but, lacking a sweet tooth, my hope is that I can dispense with the liqueurs. I've ordered freshly roasted cocoa beans too - for the Alexander family. It'll be my first gin infusion for the gin Alexander - a bit of a waste and what we Portuguese call "raining on the wet", but we'll see.

An enormous failure (though I should have known) was with whole "malagueta" peppers. I was bowled over by their red and green cuteness so (stupidly!) decided to leave in the stalks. The result, after four days: stalky vodka. Horrible! My wife extracted them from the bottle one by one - they float beautifully to the top, like lambs to the slaughter - and I removed the stalks, hoping the firepower from the open chiles will overcome the grassy, unpleasant taste.

A great French chef, Antoine Westermann, once told me that the most difficult thing in cooking was saving or rehabilitating something gone wrong. So much so he narrowed it down to two people - only one of which he'd met. So my fingers aren't crossed.

I've also infused - macerated would be more accurate - Granny Smith apples (only the peel in one; peel and pulp in another; only pulp in the third); late quince and a particular Portuguese apple ("bravo esmolfe") which has the most intoxicating perfume and the sweetest, most romantic taste. I was disappointed to find they all oxidized (though I'm using 80 proof rye Wyborowa) but, after three days, the aroma and taste are tantalizing.

I'm also doubting that fruit should be freshly plucked. What's so bad about ripened? I have a freshly plucked, gorgeous Cornice pear infused (peel and pulp) but I'm giving their brothers and sisters a few days more, to see what a little ripeness does.

Hope others here are still hanging in there! :)

#89 JAZ

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Posted 08 December 2003 - 11:10 PM

I've also infused - macerated would be more accurate - Granny Smith apples (only the peel in one; peel and pulp in another; only pulp in the third); late quince and a particular Portuguese apple ("bravo esmolfe") which has the most intoxicating perfume and the sweetest, most romantic taste. I was disappointed to find they all oxidized (though I'm using 80 proof rye Wyborowa) but, after three days, the aroma and taste are tantalizing.

A bartender acquaintance of mine infused gin with apples and cucumber and used the result in a variation of the Pimms Cup. I didn't taste the infused gin straight but it was very good in the drink.

#90 beans

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Posted 10 December 2003 - 09:55 AM

Thanks, beans!  I'm a great fan of your cocktail seminars - I specially like the insight into your current experiments.

:blush:

Thank you for your very kind words MiguelCardoso. :wub:

I've also infused - macerated would be more accurate - Granny Smith apples (only the peel in one; peel and pulp in another; only pulp in the third); late quince and a particular Portuguese apple ("bravo esmolfe") which has the most intoxicating perfume and the sweetest, most romantic taste.  I was disappointed to find they all oxidized (though I'm using 80 proof rye Wyborowa) but, after three days, the aroma and taste are tantalizing.

I'm also doubting that fruit should be freshly plucked.  What's so bad about ripened?  I have a freshly plucked, gorgeous Cornice pear infused (peel and pulp) but I'm giving their brothers and sisters a few days more, to see what a little ripeness does.



Those sound fantastic and what a lovely gift.

Heck, here's an original idea! :biggrin: The New Yawkers have their elyse Burger Club, Chef Fowke's a Chef's Beer thread inspired a home beer brewing club, why not an Infusion Club? [Isn't there a Pizza Club too?]

What worked; what didn't. Suggestions, ideas and ones that didn't quite work as well as expected. And recommendations on how to serve or mix the end result! :cool: The thread is already here, for some time now, and there appears to be a fair bunch of eG'ers that infuse.

A silly or worthwhile endeavour?