Infusing spirits is nothing new. Many bartenders made their own bitters and tinctures out of necessity and pioneered these flavors as early as the 19th century, but the practice is still used today amongst contemporary barmen.

At Vitae Restaurant in midtown Manhattan, bartender Daniel Brancusi has programmed a menu introducing several original infusions, including one he’d dubbed the Temperance Society, a drink incorporating both a strawberry-infused vermouth and rosemary-infused Aperol. He also makes a mean peanut-infused Old Fashioned.

Using both modern techniques, such as a nitrous oxide iSi Cream Whipper, as well as the old-standby of letting time marry the ingredients and spirits together, Daniel finds that results can often vary. But infusions can help add a dynamic of seasonality and adventurous flavors to cocktails. (Note: having an iSi Whipper is a great tool to have, but not essential.)

Of course, though it may seem similar, I should mention that using mass-marketed flavored vodkas that are chemically produced will never carry the freshness that a natural infusion will provide, though some smaller brands like Charbay or Alchemia use much better ingredients. For your own home infusions try experimenting with complementary and contrasting flavors for spirits and cocktails you enjoy; whether it be a peppercorn vodka for a Bloody Mary, a coffee, tabacco, or bacon-fat infused bourbon for an Old Fashioned, or perhaps using herbs to spice up lighter, summer cocktails, like the Temperance.