09/10/2015 05:22 EDT | Updated 09/10/2016 05:12 EDT

Infusing Alcohol 101: From Hot Peppers To Herbs

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fresh juicy spicy ginger root

Infusing alcohol: it's a big trend in the foodie world these days. But do you really know what it takes to infuse your booze?

Have you ever been to a bar that served a deliciously refreshing mint mojito or a spicy margarita? Some cocktails can be so unique and fresh tasting when the liquor has been infused with a secondary ingredient.

Typically, infusions involve soaking fresh herbs, hot peppers, fresh fruit, vegetables, spices and more in hard liquor. Here's a breakdown of the top ways you can incorporate a little extra something-something into your cocktail (and we should mention, infused booze makes for a great gift!).

Check out our tips below to creating some of the most delicious infused alcohol!


Classic Combinations

Infusions should reflect the season we're in:

  • Citrus in the summertime
  • Aromatic herbs in the spring
  • Spices in the fall
  • Chili peppers in the winter


Infusing Tips & Tricks

  • Rinse all ingredients - especially fresh citrus - to thoroughly to remove pesticides. Of course, this doesn't make sense for spices, so use common sense
  • Sanitize your vessel
  • Don't get too carrier away or try to reinvent flavours the first time. Stick to classic combinations like cumcumber with gin, and jalapeño with tequila. You'll want something smoother with a cooler alcohol, and something punchier with a bold liquor like tequila. Go with what you think will taste good!

How Long to Let Spirits Infuse For

It can be tricky to determine how long to let each type of flavouring sit in alcohol. You should test your combinations each day, as some dry ingredients like spices will reach saturation faster than fresh ingredients like herbs or citrus.


Which Spirits To Use

Some types of alcohol take to infusion better than others, such as gin, rum and tequila. Other types of liquor have a more distinct flavour, and it is better not to mix them with anything. Vodka in particular takes on too much of the flavouring, because it is such a subtle spirit. Infuse at your own risk!

Is Anything Off-Limits in Mixology?

Whiskey can be off limits, especially if we're talking about 10-year-aged single malt. Same goes with other aged liquors like tequila. Don't mess with the good stuff!

This article was originally posted to The Girls on Bloor Blog.


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