Walk into any liquor store and you’re likely to see an endless selection of colorfully packaged vodka and other spirits with flavors ranging from “Sour Apple” to “Cinnamon”. These flavors can add a whole new arsenal to your Craft Cocktails. Homemade infusions however, are a completely different story. The infusion process allows the added benefit of letting you control the outcome, and perfect your personal preference. Here are two spirits I recently made, not only to use in cocktails but also as great recipe enhancers.
Homemade Grand Marnier – This homemade orange liqueur is typically mixed into margaritas and other cocktails – it is a staple for any home bar. Serves: 7 cups
Peel oranges into long strips using a vegetable peeler, taking only the rind and none of the white pith. If some of the white pith is on the peels, use a paring knife or a small spoon to scrape it away and discard.
The second homemade spirit is my hack of Art in the Age’s Rhubarb Tea Liqueur.
3 cupsrhubarb, finely chopped (fresh or frozen)
1 ½ cupsEverclear (190 proof)
1 cinnamon stick
1 Tbsp each-pink peppercorn, cardamom seed, coriander seed
1 Tbsp dried bitter orange peel
1 cup rawsugar
1 cup water
Start by toasting your spices in a small frying pan, on medium heat stir spices until you can smell their aroma. Set the spices aside and start simple syrup.
For simple syrup combine raw sugar and water in a sauce pan over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add toasted spices, then cover with a lid and let seep for 15 minutes.
Place the chopped rhubarb in a large resealable jar (a Mason jar works well) and the cover with spices and simple syrup, replace lid and shake to release rhubarb juices. Let set for 20 minutes. Then add 1 ½ cups Everclear and vanilla, seal jar and shake again to mix ingredients.
Let jar sitfor 2-4 weeks, shaking occasionally, until the color has leached out of therhubarb.
Using afine-mesh strainer or cheese cloth, strain out the rhubarb and spices, pressingthe solids to remove as much liquid as possible.
Bottle the liqueur and enjoy in various cocktails and recipes.
I hope that you have enjoyed this Tale of Two Spirits. Look for upcoming recipes that incorporate each of these unique homemade liqueurs.