Rose Infused Vodka: Now what would you like to try?

June 17, 2009

infused_rose_2I’ve been having fun lately infusing fresh herbs into various liquors, though I tend to lean towards the fresh, neutral taste of vodka, which takes on the aromatic qualities of various herbs just beautifully.

This photo depicts vodka infused with organic rose petals. I think I’ll take this with me to Montreal this week for a little bit of cocktail experimenting. Maybe a bit of egg white, muddled lavender, and a hint of citrus (lemon? orange?).

In light of recent posts about Herbal Cocktails and how to infuse your own liquors, what infusions would you like to try or what results have you found?

Here are some other ideas.

1. Plum & rose petal in white wine or vodka
2. Fresh lemongrass & ginger root in Sake
3. Chamomile & Lemon Balm in Gin, Vodka, or unoaked Brandy
4. Lemon Verbena in Vodka or Gin
5. Lavender (a pinch) in Vodka, Gin, or unoaked Brandy
6. Try lavender w/ Lime or Orange
7. Peach & Lemon Balm in Vodka

Keep in mind that if you include fresh fruit like raspberry, cherries, peach, apricot, or plums, the infused liquor may not keep as long, and you might want to keep the (strained) liquor in the fridge for a longer shelf life. Try adding a splash of flavored liquors such as orange liqueur (Cointreau) or raspberry flavored liqueur (Chambord) for additional flavor and complexity. Now you just have to let me know how your experiments turn out!

P.S. here’s a fun post about various liquors by the Cordoroy Ninja

Herbal cocktails: another twist.

June 4, 2009

hg_cocktail_2In a recent post, I gave lots of instruction about creating your own herbal liquors using a base of vodka or gin and infusing with herbs to provide added flavor, herbiness, and even a bit of benefit.

Some bartenders may use a splash of the above alcohol infusions to impart a strong flavor or the highlighted herb, such as in chef David Burns’ (of Le Meridien Hotel, Chicago) “Herbtini” made from vodka infused with sage, rosemary, and thyme.

However, for a different twist, try another method: muddling herbs at the base of a shaker, along with the alcohols, and simply strain and serve, adding whatever other ingredients may be desired. This is a faster process that may not have quite as strong an infusion, but also provides an herby freshness full of complex flavor and interest.

Here are some fun recipes I came across a few years ago:

Citrus Lavender Martini
1 wedge fresh orange
2 fresh lavender leaves, or 5 – 6 pieces dried lavender
1 1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz cointreau
1/2 oz sweet & sour mix
1 Tbsp honey

Muddle together the orange wedge and lavender at the base of the shaker. Add vodka, Cointreau and sweet & sour mix over ice in a shaker. Skake very well. Rim martini glass with honey and dip rim in sugar. Pour in the mixture and enjoy.

Rasperry Lavender Margarita
1 1/2 oz silver tequila (such as Patron)
1/2 oz Cointreau
1 1/2 oz raspberry puree
1/2 oz margarita mix
2 fresh raspberries
1 dried lavender stem

Mix together tequila, Cointreau, raspberry puree, and margarita mix over ice in a shaker. Shake well. Salt the rim of a chilled martini glass. Strain ingredients into the glass. Garnish with raspberries skewered onto a dried lavender stem.

Can you tell I love lavender? I promise, I’ll give you more recipes, but tell me what you’d be interested in! Chocolately tastes, more citrus, or more unusual cocktail combinations using strongly tinctured herbs like elderberry, ginger, or even ginseng. I want to hear from you, readers!