Signature Summer Cocktails

At bars and restaurants ‘infused’ cocktails are becoming increasingly popular. Ginger martini’s, basil vodka and lavender gin are just a few of the varieties I have encountered. For your next gathering or party, why not serve a signature drink infused with herbs of your choosing? It’s a lot easier that you might think.

Wines and liquors are excellent menstruums for extracting plant properties. Much like the alcohol used in a tincture, spirits have similar alcohol to water ratios and the extraction of the herbal constituents takes place in a similar fashion. Depending upon the herbs you choose, your alcoholic beverage can take on the essence of the plant including the taste and smell.

Infused Wine or Liquor
(Adapted from Crystal Stelzer and Jenny Perez)

Supplies:
1 bottle of red or white wine/ or one bottle of alcohol (750 milliliter)
1/2 cup of the herb of your choosing, if you are using dry herbs they should be coarsely ground; fresh herbs should be finely chopped
1 airtight glass container large enough to hold the entire bottle of wine or liquor
Cheesecloth and strainer

1. Place your fresh or dried herbs in your glass container
2. Fill the container with your wine or liquor
3. Tightly cap the glass container and shake your preparation
4. Label and store your preparation in a cool, dark place. Be sure to shake the preparation 2-3 times daily
5. Allow your preparation to macerate for 14 days
6. At the end of 14 days, press the wine or liquor using the cheesecloth and strainer
7. Create a signature cocktail using your newly infused creation!

Experiment with flavor combinations as well as maceration time. Depending upon how strong the essence of the herb is, you might want to add more or less for infusion. This recipe can be altered and amended in a number of ways to create a perfectly infused spirit to your liking.

Sample Recipes:
Lavender gin
Lemon balm and Rosemary vodka
Fresh ginger vodka
Lemon balm and Chamomile white wine
Elderberry, Hawthorne berry and Orange peel red wine

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