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How to Infuse Spirits with New Flavors in Minutes

By Annie Petito Published

The trick to infusing gin, vodka, or bourbon with your favorite flavorings in minutes? A blender and a sous vide circulator.

Steeping liquor with aromatics allows you to experiment with different flavors and expand your cocktail-making options at home—but adequate flavor transfer can take weeks. Enter: a blender and a sous vide circulator. Blending the alcohol with the flavorings (we tried lemon peel, coffee beans, and coriander seeds) speeds up the process by creating more surface area on which the alcohol can act; heating the mixture gently in a closed container with a sous vide circulator then accelerates the movement of flavor compounds into the alcohol, allowing it to become thoroughly infused in just 10 minutes.

Method

Using sous vide circulator, bring water to 160 degrees in 7-quart container. Process 5 parts (by weight) 80-proof spirit (gin, vodka, bourbon) and 1 part flavoring in blender until finely ground. Transfer mixture to glass canning jar, leaving at least 25 percent headspace in jar, and cover tightly. Place jar in water bath (liquid in jar should be totally submerged) and heat for 10 minutes. Immediately strain infused liquid through fine-mesh strainer lined with double layer of cheesecloth, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Transfer infused liquid to clean container and store in cool, dark place. 

Note: You can experiment with ingredients and ratios to suit your cocktail tastes, but be aware that fresh herbs or produce will not work well here, since the heat will change their flavor. In addition, don’t heat the alcohol higher than its boiling point of 170 degrees.

Our Favorite Barkeeper's Tools

Ready to turn your freshly-infused spirits into top-notch cocktails? No home bar is complete without these essentials.

  • The Best Cocktail Shaker

    Tovolo Stainless Steel 4-in-1 Cocktail Shaker

    This squat but surprisingly roomy cobbler shaker is leakproof and easy to use: Simply twist on a strainer and snap on a domed top, which doubles as a 1- and 2-ounce jigger. 

  • The Best Ice Mold

    OXO Good Grips Covered Silicone Ice Cube Tray—Large Cubes

    This model's compact hard plastic frame makes it easy to transport and store and produces ice cubes that are large, good-looking, and perfectly straight-edged. 

  • The Best Jigger

    OXO Good Grips Angled Measuring Cup, Clear

    This small, inexpensive plastic beaker has bold, clearly marked lines and numbers that can be read from above; a single wide mouth makes it a breeze to fill, and a tiny spout ensures a clean pour every time. 

Round Out Your Spread

Pair your infused beverages with these simple appetizers for a bespoke cocktail hour.

Recipe Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Walnut Dip (Muhammara)

Once you experience the sweeter, smokier taste of home-roasted bell peppers—not to mention how quick and easy they are to make—you’ll never go back to the jarred kind.

Recipe Gougères

Airy, elegant French cheese puffs, known as gougères, deliver toasty flavor within delicately crisp shells. Bonus: Ours are a cinch to make.

Recipe Cocktail Meatballs in Tomato-Saffron Sauce (Albondigas al Azafran)

When made and served for tapas, these bite-sized Spanish meatballs are often served from a cazuela (Spanish-style baking dish) swimming in a flavorful saffron-infused sauce. Our goal was to recreate this dish for the American table.

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JC
JOHN C.
16 days

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too. I've done this using a rimmed sheet pan instead of a skillet and put veggies and potatoes around the chicken for a one-pan meal. Broccoli gets nicely browned and yummy!

Absolutely the best chicken ever, even the breast meat was moist! It's the only way I'll cook a whole chicken again. Simple, easy, quick, no mess - perfect every time. I've used both stainless steel and cast iron pans. great and easy technique for “roasted” chicken. I will say there were no pan juices, just fat in the skillet. Will add to the recipe rotation. Good for family and company dinners too.

MD
MILES D.
JOHN C.
9 days

Amazed this recipe works out as well as it does. Would not have thought that the amount of time under the broiler would have produced a very juicy and favorable chicken with a very crispy crust. Used my 12" Lodge Cast Iron skillet (which can withstand 1000 degree temps to respond to those who wondered if it would work) and it turned out great. A "make again" as my family rates things. This is a great recipe, and I will definitely make it again. My butcher gladly butterflied the chicken for me, therefore I found it to be a fast and easy prep. I used my cast iron skillet- marvellous!

CM
CHARLES M.
11 days

John, wasn't it just amazing chicken? So much better than your typical oven baked chicken and on par if not better than gas or even charcoal grilled. It gets that smokey charcoal tasted and overnight koshering definitely helps, something I do when time permits. First-time I've pierced a whole chicken minus the times I make jerk chicken on the grill. Yup, the cast iron was not an issue.