Oh, how we love the fall season! Now is the time to step away from the lemons and limes of summer and head into the cozy cocktails and flavors of autumn with these spirit infusions.
The recipes below will have you enjoying the season’s best: warm vanilla, inviting pumpkin and even savory smoky bacon. If you like the creativity of cooking and combining flavors–and, like us, you mix a few cocktails now and again–then infusions are a great place to play around and have fun personalizing your home bar.
Bacon Infused Bourbon (Exclusive to The Good Stuff)
This combination of flavors is just as delicious as it sounds and the infusion process is simpler than it sounds. With the recipe below and a bit of patience, you’ll be enjoying bacon in your beverage in no time.
Large glass container with sealed lid, skillet, mixing bowls (2), cheesecloth
4 slices of smoked bacon (get fresh-cut bacon from your butcher if possible), 750 ml Bourbon
In a large skillet cook bacon until done. Remove bacon slices and set aside. Allow bacon fat to cool slightly. Using a small mixing bowl and cheesecloth, strain bacon fat through cheesecloth to remove all bacon or cooked bits. Once strained, measure out 1.5 oz of bacon fat and set aside. In a large glass bowl combine the bottle of bourbon, reserved bacon fat and 2 slices of bacon.
Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 4-6 hours. After the 4-6 hour infusion, move bowl into the freezer and freeze for about 8 hours or until the fat has frozen solid. Carefully remove solidified fat and bacon slices from bowl and discard. Strain the bourbon through 2 layers of cheesecloth back into your original bottle or other storage container.
Spicy Pumpkin Vodka (Exclusive to The Good Stuff)
A lot of spirit infusions start with vodka. This spirit is an ideal base for liqueurs because it’s colorless and flavorless, making it the perfect start for absorbing your flavors.
Large glass container with sealed lid, ice cream scooper, vegetable peeler, foil-lined baking sheet and cheesecloth
2 cups raw sugar or kabocha pumpkin, 3+ cups vodka (we used Kirkland Signature Vodka from Costco and for the price it works great), 1/2 cup brown sugar, Pumpkin pie spice, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 whole cloves, 2 whole vanilla beans, 4 large pieces of candied ginger, cut in half
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cut pumpkin in half and using ice cream scooper, scrape away all seeds until clean. Using vegetable peeler, peel away all skin from the pumpkin. Cut into 1/4” chunks and place onto foil-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle all pieces with brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice. Bake until just tender, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
Place cooled pumpkin, cinnamon sticks, vanilla beans (do not cut beans as they will overpower the other flavors) and candied ginger into glass container. Pour vodka over all ingredients and seal. Let infusion sit at room temperature in a dark space for 10 to14 days, shaking mixture gently every day to combine flavors. Strain infused vodka through cheesecloth to capture all ingredients and funnel final produce back into vodka bottle.
French Vanilla Vodka (Exclusive to The Good Stuff)
This infusion is oh-so simple and yields a delicious product. If you’re planning ahead, this is a fantastic DIY holiday or hostess gift. Simply place in smaller decorative bottles and voila!
Glass bottle, sharp paring knife
750ml vodka, 2 whole vanilla beans (go for quality beans)
Using paring knife, slice vanilla beans down the middle of the pod with the tip of the knife. Place beans into vodka bottle and seal. Let stand for a minimum of 5 days, up to 2 weeks. The longer the infusion time, the more robust the vanilla flavor. You will notice the vodka will turn a nice warm brown shade within an hour and after 2 weeks that color will darken over time. Store in a cool, dark place during the infusion process and be sure to shake your bottle every few days to help distribute the flavor. At the end of 2 weeks, remove the vanilla sans and discard.
If you like more spice than fruit in your cocktails, this Spiced Rum recipe sounds like just the ticket!
Spirit infusions are very simple. You soak ingredients in a base alcohol until you like the taste. Sounds fun and easy, right? Infusions require a waiting time to properly yield the best results and most robust flavors. Get these infusions started now and your patience will pay off in a few weeks.
The key to all infusions will be to choose a decent quality brand for your base spirit. There’s no need to break the bank for a premium variety, but avoid the cheapest ones because no amount of spice will take away the harshness of cheap alcohol. So get in your kitchen and have fun adding a twist to fall’s scrumptious flavors.