2015 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.

And, personally, it’s looking very good for me. Especially as i’ll be trialling some new post formats next year. As well as revisiting some older posts…

I’m hoping 2016 can be a big year for both me and this blog. So let me just say this:

Thank you for all your support and I sincerely hope you all have a happy new year!

Love: The Fervent Shaker.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 59,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 22 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Seasonal Escapades: A Winter Vacation

Escape from the cold this winter with 5 Exotic tasting treats, courtesy of our dear old friend: Alcohol…


 

Christmas is literally days away now (possibly hours if you’re a day or two late reading this) and in no way am I feeling festive.

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the time spent seeing family members but it’s not the same when you grow up. The excitement goes and the headaches set in (siblings having kids will do that to you).

But one thing I’ve always enjoyed, of course, is the alcohol. I love to experiment with Cranberry sauce every year, last year was simply Cognac laced Cranberry Sauce. This year however I’m going for something a little more adventurous: Grand Marnier Orange & Cranberry Sauce.

I will share that recipe after Christmas as I would like to make sure I get it right before sharing with you all (egg and face and all that).

Until then I will be wishing my days away fantasising about being on a desert  island somewhere, with an endless supply of rum and fruit juices…

To help me I’ll be sampling a few summer-style cocktails to help me with my isolated fantasy of a tropical Christmas.

Here below are 4 cocktails, all different to the usual Christmas themed drinks you’re all fully up to date on, but all of which will still add touch of Christmas spirit on your festivities… Enjoy them my friends…


 

#1 Palm Beach

palm beach cocktail

Recipe:

1 measure Rum

1 measure Gin

1 measure Pineapple Juice

Top up with Soda Water/Prosecco (both optional)

Ice

Method:

  • Combine and shake ingredients over ice.
  • Strain into a chilled rocks glass.
  • Garnish with a pineapple wedge and serve with a straw!

This drink calls for an optional top up with Soda water. This is purely to lengthen the drink and make it last a little longer on those long summer nights. However this time of year a slight dash or two of Prosecco in place of the Soda wouldn’t go amiss… I’m saving this one for the evening!


 

#2 Sunny Bay

sunny bay - june bug cocktail.jpg

Recipe:

1 ½ measures Vodka

½ measure Midori

2 measures Pineapple Juice

Ice

Method:

  • Add to a shaker full of ice and shake well – for around 30 seconds.
  • Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  • Garnish with a cherry.

The long slender glass really lends itself to the aesthetics of this drink. It’s a simple and effective mixture that is perfect for transporting you away on those loud and rowdy afternoons with the kids!


 

#3 Bajan Sun

bajan sun cocktail

Recipe:

1 measure White Rum

1 measure Mandarin Brandy

1 measure Orange Juice

1 measure Pineapple Juice

Splash of grenadine

Method:

  • Shake together everything and do so until well-chilled.
  • Strain into a tall, well-chilled, glass and garnish with pineapple wedge and cherry.

The only drink on here with an obscure liqueur. The mandarin brandy might be hard to find, but try using a sweet syrup version. here in the UK you can purchase mandarin segments in syrup by the tin. Try mixing some cognac in with the syrup from these tins and you have a wonderful home-made hack!


 

#4 Ocean Breeze

ocean breeze

Recipe:

1 measure white rum

1 measure amaretto

½ measure blue curacao

½ measure pineapple juice

Top with Soda water

Method:

  • Shake together all the ingredients, except the soda water, with ice.
  • Strain into a well-chilled tall glass.
  • Top up with soda water.
  • Serve immediately and with a straw.

Again you can substitute the Soda water with Prosecco but the beauty of this drink is the crisp blue colour it exhumes…


 

#5 Risky Whisky Ricky

whisky lime soda

Recipe:

2 measures Scotch Whisky

1 measure fresh lime juice

Soda water/Champagne

Method:

  • Layer the whisky and then the lime juice over ice in a tall thin glass.
  • Top up with soda water.
  • Garnish with a lime slice and serve with a straw.

Simple and yet elegant to a fault. This cocktail is so simple it can be built in a glass by your pet dog. Ok so maybe not quite. It is a simple cocktail mind you and its simplicity is what makes it a perfect getaway from the overbearing in-laws. Try a few of these and they’ll seem far less scary…


 

So there you go 4 cocktails to give you an escapists advantage this Christmas.

Sit back, enjoy, and from me here at the Fervent Shaker; Have a Very Merry Christmas!

Winter Warmers: Cocktails for Christmas!

Up-cycling Tequila (and its friends)


So I always end up with half empty bottles. Left right and centre. A lot of them take up space I need and shamefully I’ve been guilty of throwing out more than a few of these ‘casualties’ of war.

So what can we, as responsible adults, do to combat the shameful wasting of perfectly good alcohol? Well let me share with you some recipes that are perfect for using up old ingredients and opened bottles of booze you might have lying around the house.

There are four (4) recipes in this post, all of which make use of the odd amounts of alcohol you may have lying around. Even if you don’t have the particular type of alcohol available you can gather ideas from how the recipes are put together and tweak them to suit your available spirits!

Without further ado, let’s look at those recipes:

#1 Homemade Fruity Winter Punch

orange winter punch

Recipe:

500ml Vodka

250ml Gin

250ml Lemon

2L Orange

2L Sparkling Wine

Garnish: Citrus Fruits, Winter berries & star anise

Method:

  • Combine all of the ingredients in a large punch bowl.
  • Add sliced fruit and chill well.
  • If serving with ice fill up shortly before serving.
  • If serving chilled without ice, take out of the fridge at the last second.

 

#2 Winter Pimms

winter pimms

Recipe:

500ml Pimms #1

500ml Brandy/Calvados

1.5L Apple Juice

Ice

Garnish: 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 apples, 2 oranges

Method:

Cold:

  • Add all one by one and stir well.
  • Leave for 30 minutes for cinnamon flavour to develop more.

Hot:

  • Heat all ingredients – except the ice and fruit.
  • Add fruit after.

 

#3 Belvoir Spiked Mulled Winter Punch

belvoir mulled punch

Recipe:

1.5L Belvoir Mulled Winter Punch

500ml Vodka

500ml Gin

Ice

Garnish: blackcurrants, oranges, apples, limes, lemons etc…

Method:

  • Combine in the punch bowl.
  • Add sliced fruit and ice.

Serve immediately.


#4 Aromatic Spiced Winter Punch

mixed punch

Recipe:

300ml Gin

200ml Vodka

200ml Tequila

2L apple juice

250ml Ginger & lemongrass cordial

Garnish: 6 cinnamon sticks, 12 star anise, 12 cloves, 4 lemons

Method:

  • Slice lemons into wedges and squeeze a few into a punch bowl.
  • Add other ingredients and stir.
  • Leave for 30-45 minutes (cover and chill in the fridge for faster cooler).
  • Add ice just before serving.

Cocktails O’clock: Beauty and the Bison…

Here we have two refreshing cocktails that whilst not very festive, at least in their entirety, they do have subtle festive flavours. However I have tried to keep their refreshing profiles at the forefront because I want them to be available for all year round and not just for Christmas.

Therefore I have decided not to tweak the first cocktail, a classic using Green Chartreuse. And have also decided to share a cocktail I recently came up with and whilst it is not perfected is still a very refreshing combination of ingredients.

#1: Chartreuse Smash

20151130_165436

Recipe:

2 measures Green Chartreuse

1 measure fresh lemon juice

2tsp brown sugar

10 mint leaves

Method:

  • Combine the sugar, lemon and mint leaves in a Boston shaker glass and gently muddle until the sugar dissolves.
  • Add ice to the mixture and then pour in the Chartreuse.
  • Shake well, for around 30 seconds – or until the tin is well iced.
  • Strain into a small glass full with crushed ice.
  • Top up with more crushed ice if necessary and then garnish with a sprig of mint and a lemon twist. Serve immediately and with a straw.

This cocktail is somewhat of a god amongst mortals. In that it is a pretty great drink. I’ve never tried Chartreuse before this drink, shamefully I’ve never had the opportunity, but thought that should change. And boy am I glad I tried it in this cocktail! It’s a perfect balance of sweet and bitter sugar-lemon with the refreshing mint to counter the earthy qualities of the Herbal Chartreuse.

Combined as it is above, over crushed ice – lengthened and well-chilled, it breaks through that barrier of ‘not too sure about this’ we tend to set up with new flavours or ingredients we’ve never tried. It’s a drink I would suggest any one of you try – should you ever have the pleasure of owning some chartreuse, or better yet have the pleasure of being in one of the few bars that actually sell this cocktail!

It’s a great introduction to one of the most stunning liqueurs on the market, an introduction that makes me want to write more about the spirit in a future post (keep an eye out for that one).

I suppose the best thing I can say about this cocktail is that by the time I finished the first mouthful I already had the straw in my mouth for the second. Scarily moreish!

Also if you like Mojito and Sour style cocktails then this is a must!

Continue reading Cocktails O’clock: Beauty and the Bison…

Halloween Cocktails: Spooky Shooters!

So my last post was geared more towards those who like their cocktails classic, simple, and giving them the opportunity to try something they may have overlooked before.

That is all well and good (I’m one of those people after all) but let’s not forget the important thing this weekend: It’s Halloween!!!

Halloween means over the top fancy dress, lots and lots of candy, and of course some great alcoholic beverages (for those of us over the legal drinking age of course!).

And that usually means shots! – Not just simple flavoured vodka shots either. I’m talking spooky, scary, and downright wrong looking shots!

So here below are 5 shots that tick all of those boxes and more! Just remember to enjoy them responsibly!


The Classic Brain Haemorrhage

brain hemorrhage shot

Recipe:

1 measure Peach Schnapps

½ measure Irish Cream liqueur

1 tsp Grenadine

Method:

  • Pour the peach schnapps into a shot glass and layer the Irish cream on top.
  • Drop the grenadine in on top of the Irish cream and serve.

Pumpkin Margarita

pumpkin margarita

Recipe:

2 measures Repsado Tequila

1 measure Lemon-Lime Mix

Splash pumpkin puree

Method:

  • Shake ingredients over ice and strain into a well-chilled, large shot glass.

Green Ghoul

green ghoul

Recipe:

1 ½ measure Anejo Tequila

½ measure Melon Liqueur

Method:

  • Pour the Tequila into a chilled shot glass, then drop the Melon Liqueur into the middle of the tequila. Down in one.

Candy Corn Shooter

candy corn shot

Recipe:

1 measure Banana Liqueur

1 measure Coconut Rum

1 measure Cream

1 measure Orange Curacao

1 measure 80proof Vodka

Whipped cream

Method:

  • Combine the vodka and banana liqueur with ice and shake well.
  • Layer into the bottom of the glass.
  • Combine the Cream, Orange Curacao, and Coconut Rum with ice and shake well.
  • Layer this on top of the first layer and top with whipped cream

Green Goblin:

green goblin

Recipe:

1 measure TY KU Premium Liqueur

1 measure Coconut Rum

Splash lemon-lime soda

Method:

  • Stir the rum and TY KU liqueur together over ice. Add into a shot glass and add a splash of soda.

There you go, 5 spooky Halloween themed cocktails that are perfect if you want to impress your friends and family this weekend. Some are scarily strong and will need to be handled with care – the 80 proof vodka should not be handled near an open flame – and as stated many a time: Please Drink Responsibly!

Halloween Cocktails – Without a Twist…

This coming weekend, if you didn’t already know, is Halloween! And just in time here are some spooky cocktails that are on most cocktail menus all year round. Although you may not have tried them before!

The problem with Halloween, with any seasonal event really, is that it’s easy to buy into novelty drinks that taste super-sweet and contain ingredients don’t actually do anything for the drink they’re in, except maybe mask the taste of too much alcohol…

So for this post I’ve tried to keep away from novelties and go for 5 cocktails you will be able to order in any good cocktail bar at almost any time of year, but by the same token they’re cocktails you may not have tried at all…

So let’s begin with arguably the most themed of the lot…


El Diablo

Spicy and evocative, this cocktail is perfect for your Halloween parties...
Spicy and evocative, this cocktail is perfect for your Halloween parties…

Recipe:

1 ½ measures Reposado Tequila

½ measure Crème de Cassis

½ measure Fresh Lime Juice

2 or 3 measures ginger beer/ale

Method:

  • Combine the tequila, lime juice, and cassis liqueur and shake well, for around 10-15 seconds (or until the tin ices over).
  • Fine (or double) strain into a collins glass filled with cubed iced.
  • Top up with the ginger beer/ale (whichever you prefer) and garnish with a wedge of lime.
  • Serve with a straw.

The Last Word

Strong and fragrant; this cocktail is perfect for the cocktail geeks!
Strong and fragrant; this cocktail is perfect for the cocktail geeks!

Recipe:

1 measure Gin

1 measure Green Chartreuse

1 measure Maraschino Liqueur

1 measure Fresh Lime Juice

Method:

  • Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker, over ice, and shake well.
  • Strain into a well-chilled martini glass and garnish with a lime twist.

Blood & Sand

Not as brutal as the name makes out; this cocktail is a classic whiskey cocktail and tastes pretty darn good!
Not as brutal as the name makes out; this cocktail is a classic whiskey cocktail and tastes pretty darn good!

Recipe:

1 measure Scotch Whiskey

1 measure Sweet Vermouth

1 measure Cherry Heering

1 measure Orange Juice

Method:

  • Add all the ingredients to an ice-filled cocktail shaker and shake well for about 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain into a well-chilled cocktail coupe glass and garnish with an orange peel.

Black Velvet

Simplicity is king in this 2 ingredient cocktail. Give it a try, you might be surprised!
Simplicity is king in this 2 ingredient cocktail. Give it a try, you might be surprised!

Recipe:

Guinness (Stout Beer)

Champagne

Method:

There are two ways to make this drink, neither are right nor wrong. It’s personal preference:

  • Pour the beer into the chosen glass and then gently layer the champagne on top.
  • Pour the champagne into the chosen glass and then gently layer the beer on top.

Simple no? Well this cocktail is sublime in its simplicity and is a cocktail everyone should try at least once. You may not like it if you don’t like the beer (like me) but, also like me, you may be surprised at how smooth and drinkable this cocktail actually is!

Chartreuse Smash

A really fun way of using a rather undervalued liqueur...
A really fun way of using a rather undervalued liqueur…

Recipe:

10 mint leaves

1 measure fresh lemon juice

2 measures green chartreuse

2 tsp turbinado sugar

Method:

  • Place sugar, mint and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker and muddle well.
  • Add the chartreuse to the shaker and add ice.
  • Shake well and strain into a small rocks glass filled with crushed ice.
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint and, if you’re feeling it, a sprig of sage…

These cocktails are not only my tip for great drinks this Halloween, but they’re perfect if you’re looking to try something new the next time you head to that swanky cocktail bar, or spend the weekend at a nice hotel (they all have great bars nowadays right?), and they’re also perfect if you plan on a Christmas themed party with a difference…

But don’t think I’ve forgotten all of you that are looking for something a bit novel – the next of my Halloween themed posts is just for you: 6 Spooky Cocktail Shooters!

Have fun and please, as always, drink responsibly – no one enjoys a night in A&E!

Further Reading & original recipes:

El diablo – imbibe

Last word – saveur

Blood & sand – Liquor.com

Black velvet – Liquor.com

Chartreuse smash – saveur

The Nova Scotia Sipper; an original cocktail by the Fervent Shaker…

This months’ theme, as you may already be aware, is all about Infusions! That includes alcohol and sugar syrup infusions and in some cases both! This post, a post that precedes my week of infused vodka, is all about a sugar syrup recipe and the fresh new cocktail I created with it! I’m sharing both the recipe for the syrup and the cocktail and hope that at least a few of you try them both out and enjoy the drink! So, without further ado, here is my Blueberry Maple Syrup and my very own original cocktail: The Nova Scotia Sipper!

Blueberry Maple Syrup

This syrup is perfect for deserts and can be used in cooking as well! Experiment why don't you!
This syrup is perfect for deserts and can be used in cooking as well! Experiment why don’t you!

200 grams Blueberries

230 ml Maple Syrup

Method:

  • Combine the ingredients in a saucepan over a medium heat.
  • Simmer until the blueberries soften and begin to burst.
  • At this point, gently mash the blueberries (not too much) and allow to simmer on a low heat for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Remove from the heat and strain out the solids. Discard them.
  • If using this recipe for desserts you can mix in another 200grams of fresh blueberries and make a glorious syrup for you pancakes…

Cocktail: Nova Scotia Sipper

A great, refreshing long drink that has a wealth of fantastic flavours!
A great, refreshing long drink that has a wealth of fantastic flavours!

Recipe:

25ml Plantation 3 star white rum

12.5ml Blueberry-maple syrup

7.5ml Pernod

5ml Lime Juice

50ml Apple & Passionfruit Juice

3-5 blueberries

Garnish: Skewered Lime twist & Blueberries*

Method:

  • Muddle the blueberries with the rum in a Boston cocktail shaker.
  • Fill with ice.
  • Add the other ingredients, top up with ice if needed.
  • Shake well, for around 15 seconds, or until the tin ices over.
  • Strain into a sling glass full to the brim with crushed ice.
  • Garnish & serve with 2 straws…

*this is my preferred garnish, although like the picture shows you can garnish it however you like, it’s all about the theatre for this cocktail…

So there you have one of the nicest cocktails i’ve ever made! It does have a slight twist to the flavour profile, thanks to the anise fro the Pernod, but used in such a small amount it merely coats the drink and the other flavours still make their presence known! Hope you all enjoy the recipe, feel free to tweak it if needed and please do let me know what you think! Until next time!!!

OFFER ALERT 18/09/2015 – All Gin on Offer!!!

It’s been a while now since i shared one of these offer alerts. Truth be told it’s the first time in months i’ve read the email with enough time left for it to be worth sharing!

As you know i’m an avid fan of The Drink Shop, and they have always been good to me when i’ve ordered from them.

Whilst my stores are full to the brim of Gin, thanks to Shaken Cocktails, and my penchant for cool trinkets (here’s looking at you Hendricks with your little atomiser)  there is no reason that any one reading this post in time cannot go forth and save bundles of cash when purchasing your next Gin shipment…

Below is a link, and from that link will sprout a heavens wealth of Gin on offer (at least until the end of the offer period – where i imagine the prices will be back to normal, but no less Ginny!- is that even a word? -I don’t even care).

According to the email i received today (18/9/2015) you could save up to 20% on your favourite Gins and Genever!

Sipsmith Sloe Gin 2013 (50cl) was £23.09 Now only £20.13!

Gabriel Boudier – Saffron (70cl) was £29.98 Now only £26.85!

Martin Millers Gin (70cl) was £23.56 Now only £21.19!

Enjoy All Ye Gin Lovers! – GIN ON OFFER!!!

For all other products and various other tid-bits why not have a look at their homepage? Click Here….

Until next time folks!

Sweet, Sweet Infusions: Sugar and its Syrup!

One of the infusion types I mentioned in my introduction post was that of sugar syrup infusing.

Every bartender will tell you that sugar syrup is an essential part of their arsenal and that a well-prepared syrup has the potential to raise a cocktail above the realms of normality.

Below you will find the recipes for 4 very different sugar syrup infusions, including a special spicy concoction that is perfect for those heat lovers out there!

Disclaimer: although usually I’d offer up a complimentary cocktail recipe for each of these syrups, to make the post less cluttered I’ve simply stated the spirit(s) they pair with the best!

#1 Rhubarb Simple Syrup

A stunning red hue, this rhubarb syrup is perfect for adding a little colour to your cocktails...
A stunning red hue, this rhubarb syrup is perfect for adding a little colour to your cocktails…

Ingredients:

400 grams fresh Rhubarb

100 grams sugar

100ml water

Method:

  • Add ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to the boil on a medium heat. Stirring consistently.
  • Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Turn heat down to low and simmer.
  • The rhubarb will begin to soften around 5/6 minutes in (this is normal so don’t panic!)
  • Allow mixture to thicken a little (around 2-5 minutes) and then remove from heat.
  • Strain* mixture into a sterile container and allow to cool.
  • Seal and keep refrigerated.

*when straining gently press the fruit pieces to gain a little more juice (flavour) but be careful not to press to hard as it will make your syrup go cloudy!

This is the most versatile of the 4 recipes and works brilliantly with vodka or gin. It is particularly good in a bramble (in place of the blackberry liqueur!) and also pairs well with light mixers or those non-drinkers out there! – Homemade Rhubarb Lemonade anyone?

#2 Honey & Rosemary Sugar Syrup

Infusing honey with rosemary is a quick way to make this syrup. Although it tastes better with the cooked method...
Infusing honey with rosemary is a quick way to make this syrup. Although it tastes better with the cooked method…

Ingredients:

2-3 Rosemary Sprigs

100ml Honey

50ml water

Method:

  • Mix the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil – on a medium heat.
  • Once boiling reduce the heat and allow to simmer for 2 minutes.
  • Turn off heat after 2 minutes and leave to cool (covered).
  • Strain out rosemary ad store in a sterile container.

Once this item is cooled seal it and keep it refrigerated. It should keep for up to 4 weeks (although if it looks spoiled at any point please don’t risk it – bin it and make some more!)

This particular syrup is a little more to taste and less sweet than the blueberry syrup but that just means it’s that perfect herbal addition to your favourite Whisky/Bourbon cocktail. It also mixes well with more savoury vodka and gin cocktails and does make a mean G&T.

#3 Cucumber & Mint Simple Syrup

Cucumber & mint - Perfect in your next G&T
Cucumber & mint – Perfect in your next G&T

Ingredients:

100 grams Sugar

100ml Water

½ Cucumber (Diced)

10 leaves fresh Mint

Method:

  • Combine the water and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • When the sugar has dissolved turn the heat off and allow to cool.
  • Once cooled add in the cucumber and mint. Leave in for at least 1hr but for a more concentrated flavour leave it in for longer (Keep refrigerated at all times).
  • Strain away the cucumber and mint and store accordingly.

This syrup has an odd aftertaste but is still a great tasting mix regardless. It mixes well with Gin and Vodka (as you’d expect) but also makes a great twist on the classic mojito – blending well with White rum.

#4 Spicy Jalapeno Simple Syrup

The striking green colour is what gives this syrup its WOW factor...
The striking green colour is what gives this syrup its WOW factor…

Ingredients:

100 grams sugar

100ml water

1 Jalapeno (sliced lengthways)

Method:

  • Simmer the water and sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Take of the heat once the sugar has dissolved and cover to cool.
  • Once cooled add the Jalapeno slices and leave for at least 1hr*.
  • After the infusion time has passed, sieve out the jalapeno and store in a sealed container in the fridge.

*as with the cucumber and mint recipe, the longer the jalapeno is in the syrup the more concentrated the flavour profile (and heat). You might want to try creating several different concentrations of this mixture and making a note of which is which – this way you can cater for different palates…

Whilst this mixture blends well with vodka (and surprisingly gin) it is best kept for the most obvious choice: Tequila. Try adding a little bit of this to your next shot of quality tequila. Try with Habanero’s or Cazadores Tequila should you have either in your possession…

So there you go! 4 rather brilliant, and yet rather different simple syrup recipes. They’re all a perfect with their own particular spirit(s) but all have room for a little versatility.

I hope you enjoy them, and if any are not quite to your tastes, feel free to tweak them. That’s the best way to improve them. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these recipes if you try them, especially any cocktails you find them to particularly effective in…

Infusions: An Introduction…

A little of this and a little of that…

Alcohol can be infused with almost anything! Does anyone else feel some experimentation coming on?
Alcohol can be infused with almost anything! Does anyone else feel some experimentation coming on?

Whether you’re aware of it or not, if you’re an avid fan of cocktails then the chance are you’ve probably consumed an infused alcohol or sugar syrup at least once…

DON’T PANIC! This is not the end of the world, in fact it means you’ve more than likely consumed a great tasting cocktail!

After all remember that hibiscus Kir Royale you had last new years’ or that blueberry mojito at last years’ summer fete? Well drinks like these, more often than not, make use of infused alcohols or sugar syrups!

So as you probably guessed it, the next theme for this blog is Infusion! Whether it’s a sophisticated spicy vodka or a simple syrup with a touch of fruit there will always be a place in the world of cocktails and mixology for infused ingredients!

Starting with this introduction and ending with 10 of the more ‘odd’ infusion recipes out there, the next two months will showcase some of the best infusion recipes available and all their recipes will be divulged, allowing you to recreate (and/or tweak?) them to your hearts content!

So what exactly is an infusion?

There are three types of infusion recipe that I’ll be covering during the course of this theme:

Alcohol Infusions – Infusion recipes that involve a plain alcohol (like vodka) and result in either a straight up favoured vodka, or a flavoured liqueur (a spirit with a lower abv % than the base vodka)…

Basically this type of infusion is simply adding the chosen ingredients into a base alcohol like vodka and leaving it to steep (or sit) in that spirit for a required amount of time. Eventually the base spirit will draw the flavour profile of those ingredients out and into the liquid. This method can create a range of fantastic ingredients from complicated spicy vodkas to fun and colourful candy flavours!

Sugar Syrup Infusions – infusion recipes that involve the addition of flavour to a simple 2:1 or 1:1 ratio sugar syrup.

This second infusion type takes less time than the alcohol infusion but the end product does have a significantly shorter life-span. This process generally involves first creating your own (plain) sugar syrup as a base before adding a chosen flavour into the mix and allowing the flavours of the chosen ingredients to cook out and infuse the syrup.

Agua Fresca – Or fresh water. This method of infusing fresh water with fruits and vegetables is favoured in Mexico and was even covered in one of my posts a year or so ago (see here). This method is similar to that of alcohol only you leave the fruit in the water and serve immediately!

Agua Fresca is what the Mexicans call their fruit-infused water... It's delicious!
Agua Fresca is what the Mexicans call their fruit-infused water… It’s delicious!

As a side note: I’ll also be looking at the creation of certain liqueur types, at least a way of re-creating them at home. These include liqueurs like limoncello and triple sec…

Hopefully that should have cleared up the two basic types of infusion I’ll be covering throughout the next 7-8 weeks and with any luck you’ll find some new and amazing recipes for you to try in your next batch!

Thank you for reading this post, it is a mere introductory post but I would dream of leaving you without a recipe you can get practicing with:

Homemade Blueberry Sugar Syrup

100 grams Blueberries (fresh or frozen)

100ml Water

100 grams sugar*

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Optional: 1 tablespoon vodka

The best thing about this blueberry syrup is that if you leave the blueberries in, it makes a fantastic syrup for your pancake breakfast!
The best thing about this blueberry syrup is that if you leave the blueberries in, it makes a fantastic syrup for your pancake breakfast!

Method:

  • Combine the blueberries, water & sugar in a saucepan and heat gently (low heat).
  • Stir often and after the sugar is dissolved (should take about 5-6 minutes) turn the heat up to medium. Continue to stir.
  • Whilst the syrup is boiling gently the blueberries will start to burst and shortly after the mixture should visibly thicken – take the mixture of the heat.
  • Strain the pulp and fruit excess out using a simple strainer. Gently press the fruit to get more juice out of them but do not press to hard as you’ll end up with a cloudy mixture.
  • Leave to cool and once it has cooled: stir in the lemon juice.
  • As an optional step you can also stir in a tablespoon of vodka. This won’t change the flavour profile of the syrup but it will allow it to keep for longer (it should add another 2-3 weeks onto the 4 weeks you get as standard).
  • Once the syrup has cooled and you’ve added in the other ingredients, cover and store in the fridge.

This sweet, fruity syrup has a host of uses, both in drinks and food. Its simple recipe is easy to follow and it acts as a great base recipe for you to tweak and add in other ingredients. This recipe can also be followed for other soft fruits like strawberries, raspberries and blackberries, simply use 100 grams of the selected fruit instead of the blueberries. Or a mixture of several to create a summer berry syrup (just don’t go over the 100 gram amount as it will not result in a well-balanced end product.

*in the UK granulated white sugar is our easiest to source ingredient, but you can use demerara sugar or maple syrup to give you a richer, deeper end product. If using maple syrup you need only use 75ml of syrup and 40ml of water – as maple syrup has a higher water content than solid sugar.

So all that leaves me to say is goodbye to the month of Tiki cocktails, and hello to the next 7-8 weeks of glorious infusion related articles and recipes! I’ll even be sure to throw in some great cocktails that make use of an infused ingredient!!!

Impassioned By Cocktails