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Sunday, March 7, 2010

infusion profusion

Last fall, kumquat trees were on sale for seven dollars. Seven bucks?! Of course I bought one. It had a bunch of green kumquats on it, and they ripened to orange. Which presented the question: What could we do with a bunch of kumquats?

Well, duh. We decided to soak them in vodka. There’s a little background here. I’d bought some glassware from a chemical supply company, and I’d been intending to make some infused liquors. Maybe a mint rum, or a lemon basil vodka, or a pepper vodka. These bottles had sat in a box for months. Finally, I had an excuse to buy a lot of vodka. (Luckily, we harvested the kumquats before the snow came.)

We had four bottles, so we went to the store and wandered around the produce section. We decided on four combinations: kumquats & rosemary; pomegranates & basil; blood oranges & star anise; and lemons, cucumbers, & dill.

Well, we opened the pomegranate & basil vodka with a few friends, and it was quickly gone. (Before I could even take a picture of it!) Delicious. The kumquat & rosemary was similarly dispatched. (Note: if you want to cover the taste of alcohol, use rosemary. Worked like a charm.) We have yet to drink the blood orange & anise vodka, but we’ve tasted it, and it is great. The herbs make these vodkas light and refreshing – something that makes a great aperitif over ice with club soda.

Notice that I have not mentioned the lemon, cucumber, & dill infusion. That’s because it was disgusting. It tasted like rotten pickles. We quickly dumped it down the sink.

Three successes out of four attempts is a pretty good record, especially since we had no real idea what we were doing. After a conversation with a mixologist at Cure in New Orleans, Kaytie came home with a wealth of information about infusing liquors, and we wanted to try more.

We also needed an excuse to have a party. The logical conclusion? Infusion 5000: The Epic Infused Liquor Contest! It’s going down this weekend. Stay tuned for the results.

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