Seasonal Infusions

This is a repeat post from the Fall in case you missed it...Many great spring cocktails utilize these spirit and liqueur infusions by taking advantage of the many fresh ingredients available at the peak of the spring season. I will start out with fruit infusions that are perfect right now. Keep in mind that some of these fruits are not in season now, but will be in the summer and fall. It is not an exhaustive list, but the more common fruit infusions are listed. I am offering you some of awesome cocktail recipes to go along with them and a link to my previous post on making homemade infusions. Read: Homemade Infusions

Fruit Infusions

Keep in mind that certain fruits are seasonal so they may not be available locally and at certain times of the year. Remember to choose the freshest fruits. Here is a list of the more common fruits used for infusions and the growing seasons along with the spirits you should use with specific fruits.

Asian Pears = YR (year round), peel/slice small, Gin or Vodka                                               

Blueberries = YR (best Jun-Aug), bruise/infuse, Brandy, Rum, or Tequila

Blackberries = YR (best May-Oct), bruise/infuse, Brandy, Rum, Tequila or Vodka

Cranberries = YR (best Sep-Dec), bruise/infuse, Gin, Rum, or Vodka

Grapefruit = Nov-Feb, cut into rinds/infuse, Gin or Tequila                                                                           

Strawberries = YR (best May-Sep), slice thinly/infuse, Gin, Rum, or Tequila

Pomegranate = Aug-Oct, cut open, remove seeds/infuse seeds, Gin, Tequila, or Vodka                                               

Peaches = May-Sep, Puree or slices, Brandy or Whiskey,

White Peaches = Jun-Aug, Puree or slices, Brandy, Gin, or Whiskey

Key Lime - YR (best Jun-Aug), peel/infuse, Gin, Rum, Tequila, or Vodka                           

Meyer Lemon = Nov-May, peel/infuse, Gin, Rum, Tequila, or Vodka

 

Berry Infusion

Start out with blueberries, sliced strawberries, raspberries and blackberries.  Layer with blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries in that order.  Layer equal amounts till jar is ¾ full.  Cover the fruit with plain vodka, preferably a call brand. Save bottle. Seal the bottle with a lid and store in a cool place for a week, or until the flavor and sweetness is at the level you want it.  Stir the jar occasionally throughout the infusion process.  When finished, strain the liquid back into the clean, dry vodka bottle by using a fine strainer.  The infusion should last for a month in the fridge.

The berry-infused vodka can be served over ice, or shaken and strained into a chilled cocktail glass, or to create a variation on the classic Cosmopolitan or a Berry Martini with the addition of a fruit cordial, like Chambord and fruit juice, like cranberry.

White Peach Infused Rum

Rinse peaches thoroughly and make sure to remove any bruised or overly soft spots. Slice the peaches leaving the skin on. Place into jar until ¾ full. Cover completely with a light-bodied rum, such as Bacardi Silver, seal, and store in a cool place for 7-10 days to infuse. Stir occasionally. Strain the rum back into the clean, dry rum bottle by using a fine strainer, seal, and store in the fridge for up to a month.

The white peach infused rum can be shaken and strained into a chilled cocktail glass, collins glass, or to use in a classic Mojito or classic Daiquiri.

Homemade Limoncello

Limoncello is a lemon-flavored cordial from Italy.  In fact, it is really a homemade cordial, although it is available in stores.  It is easy to make on your own, but requires some patience.  It has two separate resting periods. 

Pick 20 good-sized lemons with thick and smooth skins. You will be using the skin, not the juice. You can the juice for squeezing fresh lemon juice later. Rinse the lemons in warm water to get them soft and clean them with a brush. Use a vegetable peeler or Y peeler to peel off only the skin. Avoid peeling off the white pith.  Place peels a clean, wide-mouth gallon jar and cover completely with two 750 ml bottles of Everclear (you can use vodka as well). Place the jar in a cool, dark place for approximately 45 days. Give the jar a shake every couple of days. After 45 days or so, filter the alcohol out with a fine strainer to remove lemon peels and return to gallon jar.

Next, you will boil 7 cups of water and then dissolve 5 cups of sugar (simple syrup), stirring. Let the syrup cool, then add to your filtered lemon alcohol, reseal the jar, and shake vigorously. Dilution and sweetening of the alcohol will occur. Place the jar in a cool, dark place again for another 45 days. When ready, transfer limoncello into a sealable bottle and store in fridge.

You can enjoy the Limoncello neat (straight up, no ice), preferably in a chilled shooter glass or shot glass or keep bottle in fridge (preferred). It makes a great addition to some lovely cocktails, such as the Asian Pear (martini), Lemon Drop (martini or shooter), and lemon-based cocktails.

 

Berry Good

  • 2 oz Berry-Infused Vodka (call vodka, like Absolut)
  • 1/2 oz Chambord
  • 1/2 oz Strawberry Liq
  • 1/2 oz Blackberry Brandy
  • fill with white cranberry juice
  • Garnish: 3 blackberries or 3 blueberries or 3 raspberries
  • Glass: Chilled Coupe or Cocktail glass

Add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with 3 berries on a skewer.

Peachy Keen

  • 2 oz White Peach-Infused Rum
  • 1/2 oz Apricot Brandy
  • 1/2 oz Peach Liq
  • fill with soda water or peach soda
  • Garnish: Peach slice
  • Glass: Collins

Build all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a collins glass. Top with soda water or peach soda. Garnish with peach slice. If you really like peach flavor, another option is to muddle 2 semi-thawed peach slices in the bottom of the shaker then add ice.

 

Next up...Vegetable Infusions

 

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