My 1yo Jalapeño Basil Infusion
If you have ever tasted an aged spirit (of course you have tasted “the brown”… ), or a flavor bomb liqueur made from over a a hundred different herbs (with a color named after it!), then the nuance of a neutral, or “new make” spirit such as vodka can pale in comparison.
I have certainly graduated from viewing an extra dirty martini as a complex drink! (ma! look at me, adding an extra ingredient to my grey goose…! What’s “vermouth”, again?)
Luckily, a multitude of infusions are possible! Fruit, herbs, veggies – and more 🙂 As we know, we’re even infusing spirits with fat nowadays…
Alright, to get down to business – I have specifically written this post to talk about a vodka infusion I did over a year ago. I infused some off brand Eastern European vodka (I do not remember the brand – do I have to remind you all how often I drink?!) with fresh jalapeños and basil.
The infusion is super easy, slice as many jalapeños as you like – based on your heat preference – and remove the seeds, as they are bitter. I used five small ones. Put them in a mason jar and add fresh basil leaves – I used a handful (which is equivalent to the fresh herbs in small plastic containers available in most grocery stores). Use of a tea ball infuser is also an option. I’ve used basil leaves loosely and with tea ball – and found no real difference in the process. Ok, well, the tea ball was slightly better, as it did keep the leaves contained …
Add 750ml vodka to the jar. Which vodka? This one is a judgement call. Using your favorite brand may insure you’ll love your infusion, while using a less expensive brand is fine too, as you’re creating your own damn flavor! If your favorite vodka is also inexpensive – score 🙂
Vodka chosen? Great! Your infusion is ready go!
Infuse for 3-5 days, agitating the mason jar by gently moving to and fro – to ensure jalapeño and basil over completely covered. Shaking probably wouldn’t hurt, but I believe it’s best to give gentle loving to boozy goodness. Ok – potential boozy goodness.
Also – feel free to perform taste tests along the way – it can be fun to taste each day and experience the flavor development.
Once satisfied with the flavor – strain vodka into a clean, dry mason jar. Viola! You have added much needed depth to your vodka!
Vodka after I re-strained it, due to some sediment that was at the bottom…
As for my year old infusion – it still tasted good to me when I made this drink! If I don’t post within 3-5 days, call the paramedics.
2oz Jalapeño Basil infused vodka
1oz Rhum Barbancourt
3/4oz homemade Orgeat syrup
3/4oz fresh Lime juice
1/2oz Yellow Chartreuse
3 or 4 dashes Peychauds bitters
Enjoy! And please feel free to comment with name ideas for this cocktail! 🙂
*Correction – I also used 1 tablespoon of homemade pear preserves syrup (which I purchased)