After a delightful week in Portland visiting my sister and sampling the urban happy hours, I came back home ready to make some great cocktails. An exciting trend in the mixology world? Homemade infusions.
So I got to work. I got some vodka and gin bottles from Trader Joe’s and got a few hot peppers. My favorite drink in Portland was a cocktail at Peruvian restaurant Andina with habanero-infused vodka and passionfruit nectar. It was simply divine, the spicy kick hitting your throat at just the right time. It reminded me of the sweet-spicy flavor combinations you commonly find in Mexico.
Infusing is quite simple. You wash your peppers (or herbs or spices), clean out the seeds if you want to tame down the heat, and stick them into a jar of vodka. Place the jars (I used Mason jars that held about 2 cups of alcohol) in a dark place and infuse for 2-5 days. You’ll want to try your infusions once a day to see how the flavors are developing. Once your flavors are fully developed, you strain the peppers or herbs out and you can store the infusions for up to six months.
3 habanero peppers, sliced in half, seeds removed
About 2 cups vodka
Place the peppers in a Mason jar and pour the vodka over them. Close the jar tightly and leave in a dark place for 2-3 days. Strain the peppers out, label your infusion, and enjoy!
Follow instructions above, but use about 1 1/2 peppers per infusion. Use in fruity drinks that include tropical juices, such as mango or passionfruit.
1 bunch of cilantro
About 2 cups gin
Wash cilantro and place in the Mason jar. Cover completely with gin. Close jar, leave in a dark space for 3-5 days. Uncover, remove cilantro, and cover. Keeps for 6 months. Use in cucumber- and lime-based drinks.
About 2 cups gin
Peel a two-inch piece of ginger and chop into 1/2 slices. Place in a Mason jar and pour the gin over the ginger. Leave in a dark place for 2-5 days. Remove ginger and cover. Use in tropical drinks, cucumber- and sake-based drinks.