Every year we have those friends I need to holiday shop for. You know who we’re talking about: the people who have everything and are nearly impossible to surprise with some new and amazing gift that sums up your entire relationship. Yeah. Those ones.
Normally we would get them a gift certificate to the food tour (ahem)…except they’ve already been. So, this year we thought we’d try our hand at something personal, something homemade. And that’s when we came up with the idea of making my own bourbon and gin infusions.
In the past we’ve been lucky enough to snag a sous vide which makes perfectly infused “anything” like only an expensive piece of kitchen equipment can. But this year, no luck. So, like the pioneers who went before us, we made up a home recipe, put a bunch of stuff in a jar, crossed our fingers and hoped that everything would turn out alright. And to our surprise, making a homemade infusion is as easy as 1, 2, 3!
Buy booze. And honestly, since you’re going for offbeat flavors that compliment the alcohol you really don’t need to go top shelf. Middle or bottom shelf will do just fine. (For those of you on a budget: Hurrah! You’re already winning at this game!)
Get herbs or fruit or spices that compliment the natural flavors of your alcohol. Gin is great with herbs and mild fruits while bourbon is better with bolder fruits and spices. We prefer stone fruits and berries from the local farmers market with our bourbon. But hey, anything goes when you’re gettin’ crafty in the kitchen!
Put all that stuff in a jar for a week or two and hope for the best! It doesn’t hurt to stop by every few days for a quick sip just to make sure everything is on track. (wink, wink)
For our gin infusion we bought 1 regular sized bottle of cheap gin and added 3 star anise and a handful of sliced cucumber from the Santa Barbara Farmers Market. And for the bourbon we added the rind of 1 orange, 2 handfuls of cranberries, and a sprinkling of whole cloves.
The gin sat for about a week and that was plenty! Star anise doesn’t need too much time to infuse itself. As for the bourbon, it sat for about 2 weeks before it hit its peek. Cloves don’t seem to release their flavor nearly as quickly as the star anise.
We have to say, these turned out quite successful and were ridiculously easy to make. So, to all you readers that already know us….well, spoiler alert. And to the rest of you: Cheers And Happy Holidays!