Infused spirits are easily created at home. All that is needed are a few key ingredients, a spare jar or two, and perhaps a dishwasher (we'll come back to that in a minute). Use your imagination and consider how bold and complex your spirit and flavouring ingredients are and how the eventual flavour of the infusion might complement some cocktails.
Vodka, tequila and rum all form solid bases for infusions. Vodka is a good option to pair with some berries, along with vanilla or even chilli. Rum is great with warm spices like cloves, cinnamon, star anise and nutmeg, while tequila and citrus is an infusion match, perfect for summer enjoyment.
So what's the key to a good infusion? â€œTime and heat," says Dave Kerr, bartender-in-chief and owner at The Beaufort.
Depending on your choice of base spirits, the time it takes for your concoction to reach optimum infusion levels may vary. â€œIf it's something that permeates a lot of flavour, then you'll need less time. Vanilla is a good example of something that you can easily over-infuse," says Kerr.
Mixes can just sit in the tightly sealed container, while time does its job. But Kerr has come up with a novel way to speed up the process with heat, in his recipe for a bright, citrus-infused tequila below.
The Beaufort's Grapefruit Infused Tequila:
To start the infusion, add the peel from both the lemon and lime to your bottle of tequila, making sure to remove the zest from the white pith. Remove by straining the liquid and removing the peel after a week, as to not over-infuse.
Alternatively, speed up the process, by putting the tightly capped bottle into a warm water bath or through a dishwasher cycle to replicate the sous vide method of water bath cooking (a la Heston Blumenthal). The heat will encourage the flavours to mingle faster and you won't have to wait around for a whole week. Make sure you remove the peel after this cycle as well.
A perfect base for an array of citrus driven cocktails, we recommend you use your infused tequila to create a Paloma - pour some of the tequila into a salt-rimmed rocks glass and top with Schweppes Agrum citrus blend. Add ice and garnish with a lime wedge.