Making fine cocktails takes time, which we don’t always have, so we’re quick to opt for vodka or bourbon on the rocks. Instead of defaulting to what’s easy, try these super quick infusions with those bottles sitting on your bar at home. Mixed with club soda (which you can easily make yourself) and garnished with citrus or fruit, they’re still more akin to an artisan cocktail than anything else you’re likely to make for yourself after a long day.
Add 2 tablespoons loose chai tea (not powder) to one bottle of vodka, such as Stolichnaya or Tito’s. Allow to rest for 3 hours, gently shaking bottle every hour to ensure even infusion. Filter mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer and use a funnel to return it back to the vodka bottle. Keep refrigerated for up to one month.
Chai vodka makes a great spiced martini. Mix with sweetened vanilla soy milk or sweetened iced tea for a spiked pick-me-up.
Slit one Serrano pepper in half, down to its stem. Slip pepper into a bottle of blanco tequila, such as Herradura or Cazadores, and allow to rest for 5 hours. For a stronger level of heat, the infusion can rest overnight. Using a funnel, strain into a large jar (pepper will likely stay stuck in the tequila bottle). Keep refrigerated for up to one month.
Mix Serrano-infused tequila with grapefruit soda and a squeeze of lime for a refreshing Paloma cocktail with a kick.
Slit two fresh Madagascar vanilla beans in half and add to one bottle of bourbon such as Makers Mark or Woodford Reserve. Allow to rest for 2 days, gently shaking bottle occasionally to ensure even infusion. Filter mixture through a cheesecloth-lined strainer and use a funnel to return it back to the bourbon bottle. Store in a cool, dark place for up to one month.
This vanilla bourbon tastes great on its own or with a touch of agave syrup and splash of club soda. For a real treat, try it in a milkshake or add it to a root beer float.
Got any signature booze infusions you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments.
More on infused liquor from Food Republic: