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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

infusion conclusion

Well, Infusion 5000 has come and gone. About 20 people came over, and we tasted 13 infused liquors. It was a blind tasting – we had scorecards and everything, even a trophy!

I spent most of the evening pouring samples for everyone.

There were interesting combinations, some good and some not so much. After such success with our initial infusions, I went for a more complex flavor. Unfortunately, sun-dried tomatoes, bell peppers, onions, garlic, olives, basil, and oregano in vodka turned out to be disgusting. Might work in a Bloody Mary, though.
The scorecards had space for people to guess what had been put in each liquor. There were lots of references to medicine and disinfectants. Bengay, soap, and moisturizer. Walgreen’s cologne. “It burns!” Staircase pigs. (Turned out Mokry was trying to write staircase piss.) My favorite, however, was in reference to one of the last vodkas. One judge wrote, “Same. They all taste the same now.”

Of course, there were a lot of insightful guesses, too. And some tasty liquors. Tott took third with her apple, ginger, and vanilla vodka. Kaytie won second. She soaked basically any dried fruit she could find – figs, dates, apricots, blueberries, cherries – and tossed in some fennel, vanilla, nutmeg, and I’m honestly not sure what else. It was good, though. The grand champion was Mary Kendall. She infused bourbon with honey and rosemary. Yum.

Anyway, here are some tips for infusing your own liquors.

Fatty substances, such as meat, dairy, or nuts do not infuse well.

Herbs infuse quickly; dried spices, even more so.

Buy dried herbs and spices in bulk; they’re so much cheaper that way.

Dried fruits work better than fresh fruits.

A combination of dried and fresh fruits or herbs is a good idea.

Higher-proof alcohol works best.

Fresh ingredients may rot if left in alcohol for too long.

Fruits and vegetables may take a while to infuse; best to start early and strain out if worried about rot.

Classic flavor combinations you enjoy in food will work well—e.g., lemon and basil, cinnamon and vanilla, orange and cloves.
Fruit will take about 2-3 weeks to infuse, and herbs will take about one week.

1 comment:

  1. My Lord, y'all ain't playing; the black eyed pea fritters with Hollandaise sauce recipe looked absoutely mouth watering! I know you did that post a while ago, but that is how I found your site. Look forward to more posts in the future! I made black eyed pea fritters about an hour ago and think I coulda used the Hollandaise sauce! :)