Sunday, January 16, 2011

Infusing Your Spirits Is Easy

Infuse your vodka to make the Coriander Martini.

We hate to think that, when you’re perusing a recipe, you move on because one of the ingredients has the word “infusion” in it. We create some cocktails using infusions because, like a chef who experiments with enhancing flavors to achieve a desired effect, bar chefs are on a never-ending quest for the perfect taste and aroma that’ll take their creations to a level of supreme “sippability.”

So, shake things up in your home bar: Infuse your spirits with fruits, herbs, and spices. You may be pleasantly surprised and shocked by how magnificent these experiments will taste—and inspire you to create your own potable mixes. Vodka is the perfect spirit to begin with. If using strong herbs like lavender, fennel, and cardamom, a few hours to one or two days of infusion may be all that is necessary. Milder spices such as coriander and herbs like dill and cilantro may take up to a three or more days, while fruits can take up to a several weeks. Just make sure you shake your experiment every now and then, and taste-test frequently. You’ll know it’s done when the infusion brings a smile to your lips. Ahhhh!

One of our favorite infusing spices is coriander, the seeds of the cilantro plant. These toast-colored spheres release their lemony-grassy flavors, making for a unique vodka that you may want to sip chilled after a few days of infusion. We recommend a simple cocktail that packs a powerful punch of complementary flavors. The Coriander Martini. Enjoy with oysters on the half-shell, ceviche, salmon, or other seafood delights, particularly those of Thai origin.

Coriander Martini

(created by Cocktail Buzz)

2 1/3 ounces coriander-infused vodka (from seeds, not leaf)*
1/3 ounce St-Germain (elderflower liqueur)
2 dashes orange bitters
lemon twist, as garnish
cilantro leaf, as garnish (optional)

Stir in ice for 30 seconds. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Add twist and cilantro leaf.

*Coriander Vodka
2 cups vodka
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, crushed lightly using a mortar and pestle

In an airtight container, add 1 tablespoon of the crushed coriander seeds for every 2 cups of vodka. Let infuse for at least three days and up to five days (the longer you wait, the stronger the lemony-grassy flavor), shaking the container at least once a day. Strain into another airtight container and label.

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