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Infusions & Tinctures at Home: The Topic


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#241 Chris Amirault

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Posted 09 September 2009 - 08:36 AM

Just put up some pineapple-infused rum and wanted to document the combination here, given recent discussions. To one roughly chopped, ripe pineapple I added 150 ml Wray & Nephew Overproof rum, 75 ml Flor de Cana Extra Dry, 250 ml FdC Gold, 250 Myers's. More in a bit.
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#242 Wild Bill Turkey

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 02:26 AM

Yes, please, post updates. I'm fixing to try my first infusion, and I wanted to do pineapple rum. I see this time you've switched out the overproof demerara for the W&N, and the blackstrap for Myer's. I would be very interested to find out if you found this year's recipe to be an improvement.

#243 Chris Amirault

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Posted 12 September 2009 - 09:44 AM

It's only been away from the pineapple for a day, but I am happier with this version. It brings out more fruit and less competition from the now-departed demerara and blackstrap, enabling me to use it in more applications. The previous version was hard to mix with anything but a light-bodied white rum.; this version I can imagine using with some more pronounced rums like the Inner Circle green, a rhum agricole, and, hell, a demerara for that matter.
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#244 Chris Amirault

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 08:21 AM

And, so, along those lines, I've been tinkering with this:

1 1/2 oz pineapple rum
1 1/2 Brugal anejo
1/2 oz demerara
3/4 oz lime
dash pimento dram
dash Angostura
dash Herbsaint

Makes me want to get a bottle of the Brugal Extra Viejo....
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#245 vice

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 12:17 PM

How long did you let it hang out with the pineapple, Chris?
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#246 Chris Amirault

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 12:25 PM

Three days, iirc. Didn't squeeze at all when straining. It definitely is a step in the right direction for the reasons mentioned above, but I think I'm going to let the pineapple get a bit overripe next time.
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#247 cupcake

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Posted 19 October 2009 - 06:31 PM

I was looking for some ideas for my tarragon infusion that I just set up and came across this.

http://www.subrosasp...om/recipes.html

It's getting cold here in Chicago, and my tarragon this year (I am an avid balcony herb gardener, despite my challenging north light and shade from the balcony above) was lush and gorgeous. I have (had! it's all sitting on my counter in vodka) tons left and if we go below freezing, it's all over, so tarragon infusion it is! Mint has not survived the cold to date-- I see that the company in the link above uses tarragon with a touch of mint (infused separately) and fennel fronds that steep for only 4 hours. Maybe next year....

For anyone with herb infusions, how long do you let it age after you stain it? The Schnapps site says a few months. I guess I will just have to force myself to sample it as it goes along. Have not found that other ingredients take that long, but for whatever reason, this is my first foray into herbs.

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#248 Kent Wang

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 09:56 PM

I just did the scotch infusion with Granny Smith apples. It is awesome. 3 apples in 750 mL of Famous Grouse. It goes great 1:1 with grapefruit juice.

I also made the Death & Co. cocktail Grouse Rampant. Proportions are my guess.

2 oz scotch infused with apples
.75 oz honey and cinnamon syrup (honey:water 1:1 and a bunch of cinnamon)
.75 oz lemon juice
dash Peychaud's

Because the infusion doesn't extract much of the acidity and sugar out of the apples, the lemon and syrup adds that back in, making it taste more apple-like.

#249 Chris Amirault

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 07:49 AM

Interesting. What does the apple do to the scotch?
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#250 Kent Wang

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Posted 20 December 2009 - 09:08 PM

Pretty much the same as what I've experienced with pineapple and strawberry infusions as well. It infuses the scotch with pure apple essence, minus the acidity and sweetness (well, it leaves just a little bit). I think it also dilutes it by a bit as the scotch becomes incredibly drinkable, as easy as wine, though I still get tipsy from it. I think something about the full flavor of the fruit rounds out the harshness of the spirit.

#251 KatieLoeb

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 01:42 AM

Working on some new oyster shooters for the restaurant. Basically house infused spirits with an oyster at the bottom. If anyone has a brainstorm please share it with me. Right now we have the New Englander (horseradish infused vodka and tomato juice). the Chihuahua (jalapeno and cilantro infused vodka and tomato juice), the Londoner (cucumber, lemon peel and dill infused gin with a few drops of lemon juice) and the Bangkok (ginger, lemongrass and Thai basil infused vodka with a few drops of lime juice) on the menu. I've got a Parisienne working (garlic, pink peppercorn and thyme with a splash of tomato juice) as well as trying to perfect a BLT shot that incorporates bacon vodka. I'm starting a batch of housemade Aquavit this weekend so something "Danish" is soon to arrive. Any suggestions should be easily replicateable and require not much more than being poured over an oyster in a shot glass and splashed with something out of a sqeeze bottle. We're a pretty busy restaurant that gets crazy busy at Happy Hour when there's $1 "Buck-a-Shuck" oysters to be had. No high maintenance shooters will survive service. You're all the smartest folks I know. What's missing and easy to make?? Think about which flavors could use the little shot of saltiness that the oyster provides. Sweet-hot-salty. Hot-salty. Sweet-salty. All good combinations. Provide me an "Aha!!" moment...

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#252 Kent Wang

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:42 PM

How about a mignonette-like thing? Sweet-sour-salty.

#253 Chris Amirault

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:49 PM

Yeah, I was going to suggest that just now, too, Salty Dog stuff: tequila, lime, salt, grapefruit zest & cilantro gremolata.

ETA: I'll bet that Negroni oysters -- Campari, gin, sweet vermouth -- would kill. You know, in the non-food-poison sense.

Edited by Chris Amirault, 27 January 2010 - 06:51 PM.

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#254 nickrey

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:51 PM

Japanese?

Try infusing/mixing vodka with the following:

mirin
teriyaki sauce
rice wine/sake
wasabi
finely chopped ginger

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#255 KatieLoeb

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 11:05 PM

Kent:

We already serve a house made mignonette (as well as house made cocktail sauce) with every oyster platter, so that would be repetitive. I also don't know how folks would feel about doing shots of red wine vinegar. Has the potential to start choking, etc. The danger with infusing onions or shallots is that they have a tendency to turn sulphurous in a nanosecond when you aren't checking them. These recipes need to be somewhat forgiving if they don't get strained immediately. At worst, if the horseradish vodka gets too strong we can simply add more vodka. We're closed on Sundays, so sometimes it might be an extra day before something gets checked.

Infusing sake could be intriguing, although I think the lower alcohol content would make the infusion more difficult/time consuming than doing it right into 80 proof spirits.

The Salty Dog idea might work except that the kitchen doesn't have time to do any more prep for our bar than they already do. So it would fall on the bartenders to make the gremolata and that's just one more thing we don't have time for since we're already doing the other infusions as well as mixing batches of punch, Bloody Caesar mix and Rosemary Lemonade already. Salting the rims of the shot glasses during a crazy busy Happy Hour isn't efficient either. The oyster itself has to bring the brine to the party. Perhaps a more straightforward vodka and grapefruit infusion with a splash of grapefruit juice would work.

If anyone has actually sipped a Negroni with a raw oyster and can tell me that those flavors pair together well, I'd suggest to the staff that they sell more Negronis, rather than try and recreate a shot with those flavors. These shooters are generally made in 1.75 liter batches, so the recipes are scaled to use one "handle" bottle per batch. One to three ingredients are chopped/sliced/microplaned and dumped into a large glass jar and 1.75L of the base spirit is poured over. Jar is identified by contents and dated. They are left to sit refrigerated for anywhere from 2-5 days and then strained. I suppose I should have made that clearer from the get go.

Gaz Regan was kind enough to send me a recipe for a tequila-pineapple-serrano chile-tarragon infusion that I'll definitely be test driving. That one sounds delicious and like a perfect combination of sweet-hot-salty.

The good news is that the vodka-garlic-pink peppercorn-thyme infusion was strained and tested today. With a little splash of tomato juice to soften it up it tastes almost like a pizza! I made an 8 oz. batch as the tester and the garlic was a bit overwhelming. That one will be called the Roman and will go on the menu as soon as I can scale up the recipe for a 1.75L batch and tweak the proportions just right so it's well balanced.

Edited by KatieLoeb, 27 January 2010 - 11:12 PM.

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#256 feste

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 10:31 AM

Does anyone happen to know what the ABC's beef is with infused spirits? San Francisco has had a rash of citations recently given out to bars that serve infused spirits. Um, where were they in the 90s, when every bar that opened had a line of infusion jars on the back bar?

One of the two bars I work in serves an infused spirit (and has done so for 10+ years), and I'd really like to know the law here so we can be protected.

Thanks!
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#257 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 10:51 AM

Does anyone happen to know what the ABC's beef is with infused spirits? San Francisco has had a rash of citations recently given out to bars that serve infused spirits. Um, where were they in the 90s, when every bar that opened had a line of infusion jars on the back bar?

One of the two bars I work in serves an infused spirit (and has done so for 10+ years), and I'd really like to know the law here so we can be protected.

Thanks!


Can't tell you what the rules are in CA but I know one Texas bar owner who is ready for them when they come to tell him he can't do infusions. Apart from carefully documenting license numbers on the bottles he is also ready to take them to task for allowing a margarita machine in every other place in town but busting them for taking cocktails seriously. I mean really the concept is the same--pre-prepped alcohol that is not in the container it was sold in.. I think it's a brilliant way to look at it.
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#258 Kent Wang

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 08:46 PM

I infused some cherries in brandy (Romate). I forgot about them in the back of the fridge for anywhere from six to nine months. It's not bad, but it certainly isn't good. It has just a tiny hint of cherry and a lot of woodsiness, like rye whiskey, and even the under-ripe pecan astringency of Old Overholt. It did take on a lot of the dark red color.

The cherries themselves lost a lot of color and are so boozy that they're unpleasant.

#259 thirtyoneknots

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Posted 31 January 2010 - 09:55 PM

I infused some cherries in brandy (Romate). I forgot about them in the back of the fridge for anywhere from six to nine months. It's not bad, but it certainly isn't good. It has just a tiny hint of cherry and a lot of woodsiness, like rye whiskey, and even the under-ripe pecan astringency of Old Overholt. It did take on a lot of the dark red color.

The cherries themselves lost a lot of color and are so boozy that they're unpleasant.


If you still have the cherries maybe try putting them in a bowl with sugar to make a syrup/cut the booziness? Seems like they could then be put into a dessert or maybe even some sausage or gallantine/terrine/whatever.
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#260 haresfur

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 01:32 AM


I infused some cherries in brandy (Romate). I forgot about them in the back of the fridge for anywhere from six to nine months. It's not bad, but it certainly isn't good. It has just a tiny hint of cherry and a lot of woodsiness, like rye whiskey, and even the under-ripe pecan astringency of Old Overholt. It did take on a lot of the dark red color.

The cherries themselves lost a lot of color and are so boozy that they're unpleasant.


If you still have the cherries maybe try putting them in a bowl with sugar to make a syrup/cut the booziness? Seems like they could then be put into a dessert or maybe even some sausage or gallantine/terrine/whatever.


I did pretty much the same thing - some in brandy and some in rum and the cherries were too "boozy". I was in the process of adding more and more sugar to the mix and sampling periodically when the experiment was terminated because of my move.

I'm thinking of making some 2:1 sugar syrup with 80 proof spirits next time, throwing the cherries in the hot syrup, then letting them cool and sit in the cupboard for a couple of weeks or more.
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#261 Kent Wang

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Posted 01 February 2010 - 03:08 PM

Yeah, I don't think there was much hope for these cherries. I think I need to have started out with the sugared syrup, which is I believe how proper brandied cherries are made.

Anyway, a neat trick that I've found for using the boozed-up fruits from infusions is to make a smoothie out of it. I did that with the scotch apples; quite delicious.

#262 Chris Amirault

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Posted 28 February 2010 - 07:07 PM

Over in the Artisanal = Illegal topic, there's a discussion of the legal tussle around "rectifications." It made me wonder whether we could come up with some clear production standards for infusions that accounted for actual scientific facts, given the wide array of claims fungus, yeast, mold, and the like. What are the legitimate issues here?
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#263 Blether

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 04:46 AM

At the weekend I put up a bottle of "Usquebaugh, or Irish Cordial" according to the 1828 edition of The Cook and Housewife's Manual by 'Margaret Dodds' (props to jackal10 for pointing the book out), which I also linked to on the Bitters thread. (the link should go to Google Books - the recipe starts at the bottom of P.449).

A british pint (568ml) of Teachers Highland Cream, and a quarter of each of the other ingredients fitted nicely in a standard-size wine bottle with a re-sealing wire & ceramic/rubber stopper. I didn't have an orange or sugar in sugarlumps, so used the carefully-grated zest of an iyokan, an orange and orange-sized Japanese citrus with what I think will be a suitable flavour. I used soft brown sugar, and sultanas rather than raisins.

Edited by Blether, 01 March 2010 - 04:48 AM.

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#264 bostonapothecary

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Posted 01 March 2010 - 12:29 PM

Over in the Artisanal = Illegal topic, there's a discussion of the legal tussle around "rectifications." It made me wonder whether we could come up with some clear production standards for infusions that accounted for actual scientific facts, given the wide array of claims fungus, yeast, mold, and the like. What are the legitimate issues here?


a lot of the production standards are spelled out in commercial products.

wines worry about various bacterias and controls much of it by focusing on acid levels. ph of 3.3-3.7.
sherry have the additional worry about acetification by bacteria and therefore keep there alcohol levels just over the limit of that bacteria which is about 15.5%
vermouths spell out the standards for more conservative minimums. most lactic bacteria can't grow in alcohol levels over 18% which is why that level is chosen for dry vermouth. a sizable sugar content like sweet vermouth (150-170g) allows that to go a little lower and you can be stable at about 16%.
egg yolk liqueurs are also made with structures similar to sweet vermouth. Bombardino brand uses an alcohol content of 17%. that level won't kill bacteria but supposedly suppress its growth for years.
to actually kill stuff i think you need to be in the realms of 60% plus or rubbing alcohol.
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#265 mhagglund

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Posted 02 March 2010 - 12:10 PM

Katie-
What about trying shochu with a little sriracha, lemon, and pickling liquid? Drop an oyster in there and I'd go nuts.
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#266 brinza

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Posted 05 March 2010 - 02:04 PM

Last summer I steeped a bunch of highly frangrant Hidcote Lavender petals in a small bottle of Everclear for a couple weeks. I strained the flowers out, but haven't attempted any further filtering. Right now, it's still just lavender-flavored Everclear, so I'm wondering where I should go with it from here:
Add sugar and water to make a lavender liqueur (creme de lavender?)?
Add just water to reduce abv and make a lavender flavored vodka?
Add other ingredients toward creating a lavender bitters? (though I doubt the lavender flavor is intense enough for that)

Should I filter it any further? (There are no visible particulates, but it has a kind of greenish tinge. But I don't want to remove any flavor either)
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#267 Blether

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Posted 18 March 2010 - 05:52 AM

At the weekend I put up a bottle of "Usquebaugh, or Irish Cordial"...


So... at the weekend, this infusion came ready and I strained out the sultanas and larger solids as I poured it into a filter, and left the last of it, covered, to pass through the paper overnight.

I got a good volume with little or no wastage, other than than what the sultanas soaked up. I've set them aside and not yet made a cake up with them.

I think this is the best of the photos I took, overexposed as it is:

DSCF0047.JPG


I'm very pleased with the sweetness, which i think is just right, and better than over-sweet commercial drinks like Southern Comfort, Drambuie or Bailey's Irish err, Toffee.

The aroma is, surprise, surprise, spicy, wit the citrus still subtle. There 's a big nutmeg flavour, the cardamom's noticeable and the clove in the background where it should be. Of course with all that it has a long, long finish. I'm interested to see how it mellows over time, but for now it's a nice sipper that got here just too late for winter.

I think the Teacher's blend was a good choice, but I'd happily try this preparation with Famous Grouse, too.

Edited by Blether, 18 March 2010 - 05:53 AM.

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#268 KatieLoeb

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 03:49 PM

The House made Aquavit is finally on the menu at Oyster House and is getting good reviews. It was originally planned to be one of the new oyster shooters (a Danish Mary with a squirt of tomato juice in there as well) but it came out so good we decided to serve it ice cold and straight up in sherry glasses. Delicious with oysters, smoked salmon and Deviled eggs, or just with a beer. Pretty pleased with this one. As soon as I have the recipe typed up I'll try to remember to add it to RecipeGUllet.

Latest infusion is an Orange-Ginger Rooibos and Green Tea into gold rum that will be served tall with soda or Sprite, a splash of Combier and a wee squeeze of lemon, garnished with an orange wedge and a piece of candied ginger. Great thing about the Rooibos/Green Tea infusion is it doesn't turn tannic so it's easy to do and fairly consistent. It's a no brainer for a warm day. Working on a good name for it if anyone has any suggestions.

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#269 Kerry Beal

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Posted 20 March 2010 - 04:32 PM

The House made Aquavit is finally on the menu at Oyster House and is getting good reviews. It was originally planned to be one of the new oyster shooters (a Danish Mary with a squirt of tomato juice in there as well) but it came out so good we decided to serve it ice cold and straight up in sherry glasses. Delicious with oysters, smoked salmon and Deviled eggs, or just with a beer. Pretty pleased with this one. As soon as I have the recipe typed up I'll try to remember to add it to RecipeGUllet.


Looking forward to checking out that recipe!

Latest infusion is an Orange-Ginger Rooibos and Green Tea into gold rum that will be served tall with soda or Sprite, a splash of Combier and a wee squeeze of lemon, garnished with an orange wedge and a piece of candied ginger. Great thing about the Rooibos/Green Tea infusion is it doesn't turn tannic so it's easy to do and fairly consistent. It's a no brainer for a warm day. Working on a good name for it if anyone has any suggestions.

Something like 'Around the world' judging from the number of countries represented in the infusion.

#270 KatieLoeb

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Posted 03 June 2010 - 09:06 PM

New oyster shooters for Philly Beer Week.

Valrhona Chocolate infused vodka with Sly Fox O'Reilly's Stout and an alderwood smoked sea salt rim on the glass.

Serrano chile and tarragon infused tequila with a splash of pineapple juice and Stoudt's Heifer-in-Wheat Heffeweisen.

Both came out really good. And although they sound gross, I promise they're delicious. The chocolatey stout one is great. Smoky, salty, and sweet all at once. The tequila is tasty enough to sip on it's own. This will likely remain in the rotation minus the beer after Beer Week.

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