Boozy Infusions: Holiday spirits get a personalized twist

Instead of trekking all over town to collect ingredients for a fruitcake that you’ll spend weeks dousing with whiskey, why not just give the whiskey? The gift of a bottle might not be anything new, but these wintry infusions give it a unique and personal touch. All will be welcome additions to the most creative mixologist’s arsenal, but they’re dynamic enough to be enjoyed on the rocks, with club soda, or mixed with warm cider for a hot toddy. Scour thrift stores for pretty bottles or jars, and finish them with handwritten tags. 

Citrus Vodka

750 mL bottle of small batch vodka, like Tito’s
2 grapefruits (alternatively 3 oranges or tangerines or 4 limes or lemons, preferably organic, since the skin is used)
  • Wash citrus and use a vegetable peeler to remove the zest (the brightly colored exterior peel) of each fruit, leaving behind as much of the white pith as possible. 
  • Add the citrus zest to the bottle of vodka. Close and steep for 2-3 weeks.

Spiced Rum

750 mL bottle of golden rum
2 sticks cinnamon
3 allspice berries
4 whole black peppercorns
1 star anise pod
1 cardamom pod
2 whole cloves
1 vanilla bean, split 
  • Combine in a large jar and seal. Shake jar daily to agitate spices. After a week, taste. 
  • When rum has reached your desired level of spice, strain and bottle. 

Cherry Bounce

750 mL bottle of everyday bourbon, like Evan Williams
1 cup dried cherries, tart or sweet
½ cup granulated sugar
  • In a large jar, mix cherries, sugar and whiskey until sugar has dissolved. 
  • Close jar and steep for 3 weeks or longer. 

Find great bulk spices at area spice shops like The Spice Corner, 904 S. 9th St.; Penzeys Spices, 8528 Germantown Ave.; or your local food co-op.

Story by Emily Teel.

 

This story is from page 28 of our Countdown to the Holidays feature in our December 2013 issue.