Infused Beverages

We feature several delightful infused beverages in the May/June issue. Recipe developer and in-house mixologist extraordinaire Melissa shares some of her insight below.   

Pineapple Jalapeño TequilaIf you want to begin learning how to infuse spirits, start with a neutral one, like vodka, with a clean flavor profile so your ingredients can really shine. If you’re only wanting to infuse a couple of flavors, like strawberry and rosemary into a spirit, it’s less important for it to be a high quality brand. However, if you’re tackling a more intricate infusion, select a neutral spirit that has been distilled at least 5 times to ensure each infusion flavor will be detected. Here are the key steps to infused beverages:

1. Pick your base liquor. Aim for a mid-level-priced bottle—you won’t be able to conceal the horrible flavors of a rotgut liquor. Spirits with less flavor, like vodka, work well.

2. Pick your infusion. Don’t mix more than two or three flavors. Fruits, vegetables, and herbs are fairly easy to work with, if it’s your first time.  

3. Pour the spirit into an airtight container, and add the flavoring ingredient. If you are choosing more than one ingredient, put the mild one in for the first day or two, then add the strong one. Test a small sip every few days until the desired flavor is reached. 

4. Strain out the solids, and enjoy your flavored spirit! 

My favorite infused beverage with this project was the Pineapple Jalapeño Tequila. My friends and family can attest to my admiration for a well-made margarita or tequila sunrise (like this Spicy Tequila Sunrise), so making this spirit was a fun way to amp up any tequila drink you may want to sip pool-side this summer.