Head to any modern-day cocktail bar, and odds are you'll see infusions all over the menu: jalapeño-infused tequila, lemongrass-infused vodka, thyme-infused gin—you name it. While "infused" sounds as mysterious as it does inviting, here's a tip: Just think of it as the fancy way of saying "steeped with." Cinnamon-infused whiskey? Whiskey that's spent some time hanging out in a bottle with some cinnamon. Simple as that.
Still, infusions can be tough to pull off if you're not a professional, or if you don't have the equipment or a good sense of which ingredients pair well with certain spirits. Here to help bring the process down to earth is 1pt (one part), a series of infusion kits for the home mixologist.
Each of 1pt's seven blends imparts a different flavor to whatever spirit you choose. For anyone who loves a spicy cocktail, there's Chili, made with pink peppercorns, chile flakes and a bit of green tea for balance. Citrus, with lemon verbena, lemongrass, ginger, yerba maté and marigold petals, will transform your vodka or gin into something a bit brighter. Others include Cinnamon, Peppermint and Floral, with chamomile, lavender, orange zest and licorice root.
The process couldn't be simpler, once you've picked up 1pt's Bar Bottle kit. Just tear open an infusion packet and pour into the bottle, top with the spirit of your choice, let sit for the allotted time (two to five hours, depending on the flavor) and strain. You'll end up with a complex, bar-worthy infusion, just waiting to be shaken into cocktails (though pretty delicious on its own). A chile rum would be perfect for a boldly spicy daiquiri or a cinnamon bourbon for an unusual old-fashioned.
When the infused spirit is this complex, the cocktail doesn't have to be. Even a simple Tom Collins made with a citrus gin is a nuanced, layered drink, thanks to the lemongrass and ginger alongside the lemon verbena. Consider your creations a secret weapon at holiday parties—the flavor is already in the bottle, so most of your work is done.
Carey Jones is a New York-based food and travel writer and the author of Brooklyn Bartender: A Modern Guide to Cocktails and Spirits. Follow her on Twitter at @careyjones.
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