Amateur infusions: gin

So I tried two more infusions: rosemary and grapefruit rind, cucumber and mint. You can used dried herbs if fresh aren't available. I had fresh available and like the idea that I'm infusing the local flora and fauna into the gin. There are really no rules. Just keep it simple and have fun.

The infusion only takes 3-5 days. I put the jars on the window sill so the sun could further intensify the infusion. Every day I also agitated the mixture by swirling it around for a bit. When you are ready to serve, simply strain the gin and enjoy.

Results vary. Your combination may taste terrible, need some tweaking, or taste perfect right out of the jar. The lemon basil was a beautiful light sage green hue, the basil flavor was strong and refreshing, the citrus added a nice layer as well. Basil, cucumbers and mint really help fill out the flavor. I'll add cucumber to the mix next time, just to give the flavor some foundation. The rosemary and grapefruit was lovely and very aromatic.The cucumber and mint needed a few more springs of mint.

Infusions are a great way to make use of fresh ingredients and surprise the taste buds. Plus, your gin and tonic will thank you for the shakeup when the mix is right.

click to enlarge Amateur infusions: gin - Arielle Stevenson
Arielle Stevenson
Amateur infusions: gin

click to enlarge Amateur infusions: gin - Arielle Stevenson
Arielle Stevenson
Amateur infusions: gin

Using some advice from my herbalist-guru mother on how to make flower essences and extracts at home, I ventured into infusion territory. It's not as complicated as it sounds, plus your gin/vodka/whiskey gets an up-do. This is seriously basic infusions for amateurs by amateurs.

Get a few mason jars with lids ($9 for a 12-pack usually) and some gin. Then decide what flavors you want to infuse. It can be fruit, spices, herbs, or extracts. Anything really. Even bacon. I like gin but you can use whatever liquor you'd like. Gin is great because it takes other flavors really well and you can see the hue change a little more dramatically.

My basil plant has been flowering tiny white blooms for weeks, so I plucked a few stems and buds, plunking them right into the gin. Mark Comer, bartender at New York's New Leaf Restaurant & Bar, gave his top ten tips for creating infusions. Choosing a secondary flavor adds complexity he said, and is more user-friendly. Gin that is more user-friendly? Fantastic. I peel the rind off the lemon and drop a few shavings in.

Comer also gave this advice nugget "Don't be intimidated."

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