Tag Archives: Limoncello

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!!!

Advertisements

10 Cocktails you should be drinking this summer… Part 1, 1-5

Summer is the time of cocktails and outdoor living, below are 5 cocktails you definitely should be drinking this summer...
Summer is the time of cocktails and outdoor living, below are 5 cocktails you definitely should be drinking this summer…

So you’re at a friends’ BBQ one summer’s evening and everyone is having a nice time, the sun is shining, there’s a gentle breeze rolling through the pine trees surrounding the pool, and although the kids are screaming, they’re having fun.

You’ve spoken to all your friends, caught up on gossip and everyone’s enjoyed the hosts’ BBQ skills. But now the temperature has chilled slightly and the sun has started to set. The Kids have gone home to the supervision of their child-minders and that leaves all you adults about with a choice: Lemonade and soft drinks… Or the hard stuff?

But that decision is made for you; out comes the hosts’ and their stash of liquor. Vodka, Tequila, Rum, Triple Sec & plenty of other obscure, highly alcoholic elixirs that do not look healthy at all…

So in come the dedicated spirit drinkers, taking their share of their designated poison, rum, vodka – it doesn’t matter there’s plenty for everyone. What really gathers your attention is not the boring spirit drinkers, they can keep their Bourbon, Neat; you want what’s in that glass on the opposite table: A tall mountain of a glass, with sweeping curves and a cool orange nectar, swirling with a red syrupy surprise… Of course I’m talking about a Tequila Sunrise – the epitome of pool-side tropical cocktails…

But did you know that the cocktails available to you for your summer evenings are not restricted to generic boring simple cocktails. Sure they look great and every now and then they’re great to enjoy but if you really want to impress everyone you know, why not give these few recipes a little tipple…

Recipe #1: Limoncello – Limoncello Citrus Cooler

Blending Sorbet with a stunning cocktail results in a sumptuously sweet treat perfect for the summer time...
Blending Sorbet with a stunning cocktail results in a sumptuously sweet treat perfect for the summer time…

20ml Limoncello

20ml Maraschino Liqueur

40ml Lemon Juice

1 scoop mandarin sorbet

1 teaspoon marmalade

2 dashes hibiscus bitters

Method:

  • Shake all the ingredients with ice.
  • Strain into a rocks glass containing a large ice cube (ice-balls work well here)
  • Garnish with a pair of maraschino cherries and an orange twist.

This cocktail blends sweet Limoncello with some other sweet, citrus flavours and creates a cocktail that is not as sweet as it looks to be. The ingredients blend well, as mentioned, but you can still separate the intricate flavours of a high quality limoncello and the maraschino liqueur. The hibiscus bitters lends a bitter, yet exotic fragrance to the drink. This is a great drink to have in your repertoire for a romantic evening date…

Recipe #2: Gin – Italian Collins

A classic Gin cocktail tweaked with some Italian twists...
A classic Gin cocktail tweaked with some Italian twists…

1 measure Sipsmith Gin

¾ measure Limoncello

¼ measure fresh lemon juice

4 measures Club Soda

Method:

  • Mix the first three ingredients together and shake well, over ice, for around 10-15 seconds.
  • Strain into a tall glass filled with ice.
  • Top up with club soda and garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel.

Recipe #3: Vodka – Wake County Cooler

From the USA this brilliant cocktail uses infused vodka, a trend gaining a lot traction...
From the USA this brilliant cocktail uses infused vodka, a trend gaining a lot traction…

Black Tea infused Vodka

Sugar Syrup

Lemon Juice

Club Soda

Method:

(Sweet) Black Tea Vodka:

  • Combine 750ml Vodka with 150ml loose-leaf black tea and allow to infuse (should take around 2 hours).
  • Then, separately: Combine 60ml water with 60g sugar and mix into a sugar syrup.
  • Combine the sugar syrup with the vodka and mix well.

Main Cocktail:

  • Half fill a Collins glass with crushed ice.
  • Add 50ml of the infused vodka to the glass.
  • Then add 12.5ml of lemon juice.
  • Top up with the club soda and garnish with a lemon wedge and mint sprig.

If you create the full amount above (750ml) you’ll have plenty to share (or keep for yourself). 

One of the best things about this cocktail is that you have to infuse your own Vodka. As a home-taught cocktail maker one of my favourite hobbies is the infusing of neutral alcohol. Not only do you end up with something delicious and flavour-fuelled, most of the time you improve the original drink (obviously you don’t want to use top end Vodka for this sort of infusion). If you have enough forethought to purchase some nice kilner-jars (think along the lines of pressure topped bottles – like Grolsch beer) you can share out your good infusions for family gifts and even age some spirits…

Give it a go, you’ll be surprised what you can come up with!

Recipe #4: Licor 43 – Carta Marina

Using 2 of my favourite spirits, this cocktail is quite literally the one you have to try...
Using 2 of my favourite spirits, this cocktail is quite literally the one you have to try…

1 ½ measures Kraken Black Spiced Rum

¾ measures Licor 43

¾ measures Lemon Juice

¼ measure Aperol

2 dashes Cardamom bitters

Garnish: Vanilla Bean & orange twist.

Method:

  • Shake all the ingredients together over ice for 15-20 seconds (or until the tin ices over).
  • Strain into a coupe cocktail glass and garnish with a vanilla bean wrapped inside the orange twist.

This cocktail mixes two of my favourite spirits in Kraken & Licor 43. And boy do they blend well! This looks like an odd mixture of spirits and bitters but if shaken well (and properly) this drink elevates you to another level. When a drink can supply you with a mix of refreshment, great taste and an almost bottomless depth in quality you know you’ve hit gold; with the Carta Marina you have some good old US/Mediterranean Gold. If you only drink one cocktail of this list: Pick this one!

Whilst Licor 43 is one of the lesser known liqueurs outside of Spain, it is also one of the best, at least in my opinion, in the world...
Whilst Licor 43 is one of the lesser known liqueurs outside of Spain, it is also one of the best, at least in my opinion, in the world…

Recipe #5: Rum – Daisy De Santiago

A funny little twist on the Mojito, the Daisy De Santiago is a fantastic blend of refreshing and crisp.
A funny little twist on the Mojito, the Daisy De Santiago is a fantastic blend of refreshing and crisp.

40ml Bacardi Superior White Rum

20ml fresh lime juice

5ml sugar syrup

15ml Yellow Chartreuse

Garnish:  fresh berries & a sprig of mint.

Method:

  • Add the rum, sugar syrup & lime juice to a shaker filled with ice and shake well – for around 20-30 seconds.
  • Fill a wine goblet with crushed ice and strain the mixed liquid into the glass.
  • Garnish with the sprig & berry bouquet and then float the yellow Chartreuse on top of the drink.

The Daisy de Santiago is possibly one of the freshest and most refreshing drinks I’ve had the pleasure of sipping in a long time. It’s got a lovely rum kick from the Bacardi yet it’s sweet and almost minty after taste compliments most summer evenings. A difficult drink to balance perfectly but one that is very much worthwhile mastering.

Cocktails O’ Clock: Citrus Temptation

Temptation is a cruel mistress; at least this one will go down well…

If there’s one thing truer than the sky being combination of various gasses and water, then it’s that citrus juices go perfectly with almost every spirit out there. Gladly this cocktail does not break that stereotype:

Citrus Temptation:

45ml Limoncello

25ml Orange Flavoured Vodka

3 lime wedges

Image
If you get it to look like this? You’re on the right track…
Picture: courtesy of FoodNetwork

Method:

1)      Wipe the serving glass’ rim with a lime wedge and then rim with sugar.

2)      Add the Limoncello, Vodka and the 3 lime wedges (squeeze out juice and drop in) into a shaker full of ice.

3)      Shake until well chilled (around 10 seconds).

4)      Strain the drink into your ice filled glass.

5)      Garnish with an Orange twist.

Top Tip: The orange vodka can either be shop bought or your own creation, but if you have not the time to make your own, nor the availability to buy some, using 20ml vodka and 5ml orange blossom water should give your cocktail a make-shift flavour substitute.

This cocktail is something a little different, because Limoncello is not traditionally used as a base in cocktails as it is an aperitif.  This is by no means a bad thing as this drink is a testament to this. It’s sweet, a little tart and has just enough of an alcoholic kick to let you know it is actually alcoholic…

Fervent Shaker Fact: Limoncello is literally the most famous lemon-liqueur in the world, and the Italians love it. I can see why, it is pretty special. To further bolster its famous background Jamie Oliver even used it in his Lemon & Raspberry Ripple dessert…

This cocktail truly is something a bit different, and hopefully you can enjoy it and prosper.

Oh, and if there is a cocktail you’d like to read about, feel free to leave a comment/send me a message and I’ll see what I can do!

Until tomorrow readers!

Sources:

Food Network

Jamie’s Syllabub

Cocktails O’ Clock: Touch of Venice

A Venetian inspired romantic cocktail, one for all the lovers…

Image
The wonderful Canal in Venezia…
Picture taken from http://www.made-in-italy.com

This cocktail is full of glamour and romance and will add a touch of class to any event where it’s served. Not holding a fancy soiree? Then why not include them whilst cooking for a loved one at home? Or better yet, serve them for friends over a late lunch?

The recipe:

90ml Dry white wine

30ml Limoncello

½ teaspoon Amaretto

½ teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Image
Classy drinks for a classy night… Make them for your loved one, you won’t regret it… Picture courtesy of http://www.FoodNetwork.co.uk

Method:

1)      Shake the ingredients over ice in a shaker. Shake for 5 seconds.

2)      Strain the mixture into a large wine goblet.

3)      Garnish with a Lemon zest spiral.

I don’t particularly favour wine cocktails, but as far as they go, this one is rather nice. I prefer mine to come with a bit of a fizz… If you do too, remove 30-40 ml (to your own taste) of white wine and prepare like normal, but top up with a splash of Prosecco.

The best way to serve this cocktail is obviously chilled and prepared as above, but for that added romantic touch, drop in one of the following (use the one that suits your taste and colour):

Parfait Amour: Violet flavour and purple in colour, this will inject a touch of romance into your very own touch of Venice…

Angostura Bitters: For a dash of extreme flavour and a burgundy colour flowing through the drink choose this wonderful ingredient…

Green Chartreuse: Use a ½ teaspoon of chartreuse per glass here, and you’ll witness a slither of green run through you’re drink…

Blue Curacao: Like the parfait amour addition only it’s a lovely river of blue…

Grenadine/Sloe Gin:  This is a slightly fruitier choice, and adds a shade of red to your romantic evening.

Image
Venice is the city of Romance, this cocktail is your little touch…
Picture from http://www.isango.com

The choice is yours! Simply use ½ a teaspoon of the above, or just have it originale…

recipe and cocktail picture taken from The Food Network, pictures borrows from: isango  and made in italy.