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A blog about cooking and food, and how to make it taste good and be healthy. The dishes are almost all gluten/dairy free, and many are vegetarian. The focus is on techniques and ingredients over recipes - this is about everyday cooking, and that means making it work with whats on hand!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rosemary Liqueur

Infusing flavors into alcohol seems impressive and difficult, but it is actually super easy. It works along the same principles as making tea - put something flavored in a liquid for a while, and then take it out.

I had this liqueur when my friend Tanya made it, and I had to make some of my own. Its a sweet, herbal liquor that is best served on the rocks or with seltzer. Its so good that guests will skip over high end whiskeys to get a glass!
The basic recipe Tanya used came from here. Neither of us followed the recipe exactly.

For the vodka, I used a handle of Stoli, because that was what was on sale. I'm not picky about vodka, because once you move out of the plastic bottles, they're basically all the same. Studies have shown that in a blind taste test, people who insist on "their brand" can't tell the difference between their brand and the other brands. 
Here's what went in: a bunch of corriander seeds (1-2 tbsp), 3 or 4 big sprigs of rosemary (fresh off the bush), a dozen mint leaves, and the peels of 2 organic lemons and 2 organic oranges. Always use organic if you are using the peels! They didn't all fit, so I had to extract some of the vodka with a straw to make room.

The next thing to do is let it sit for 2 weeks. Give it a shake every now and then. You'll see it getting darker as flavor molecules are absorbed by the vodka.

All you need to do now is strain and filter the vodka, and add simple syrup. Since I did the infusing right in the bottle, I had to find another container to keep it in, because I couldn't get everything out of the original bottle (luckily there were empty 1.75L bottles sitting around!). For straining, I just used a colander. I used 2 cups of water and 2 cups of sugar for my simple syrup, and the liqueur ended up a little too sweet, so I would recommend cutting it in half. The original recipe recommends aging for another 2 weeks, but I don't see the point. Its delicious now!

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