Spice Up Your Holidays with these 3 Bourbon Infusions
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Alcohol isn’t for everyone. Sometimes the taste is too strong or it just lacks that certain pizazz you desire in a beverage. But with the right ingredients and a bottle of bourbon, you can create a range of flavors fit for nearly everyone’s palate. We set out to create a handful of flavorful infusions that can be finished just in time for the holidays, so you can ring in the new year with a “wow … that’s yummy!”
1. Pick Your Bourbon
We recommend that you use a lower quality or mid-level bourbon. You don’t want to go out and buy the top shelf product. Also, there’s always the chance your first infusion may not be successful. For our three infusions we used Jim Beam.
2. Choose Your Flavors
You can basically infuse anything with bourbon. But not everything has a uniform steeping time. Some ingredients such as fruits or vegetables require only a few days, while others such as legumes will need about two weeks to fully flavor a bourbon.
3. Getting Prepared
After you’ve bought your bourbon and picked the flavors you wish to infuse, you need to have a vessel to keep everything in. We recommend a mason jar or some other glass container that has a vacuum seal. Once you have the bourbon, the ingredients, and your jar, it’s time to make your awesome infusion.
Making the good stuff
For our infusions we went with three distinct flavors that should cover a range of people’s tastes. But you’ll have to drink them all to know which is a winner for you.
1. Early Bird Special
The saying goes “The early bird gets the worm” or in this case–the alcohol. For this breakfast-inspired infusion, we combined dark roast coffee beans and crispy bacon. The proportions depend on how much alcohol you are going to use. For this small batch we used:
- 3 tbs. coffee beans
- 2 strips of bacon
- 350ml of bourbon
- Add bacon and coffee beans to the jar.
- Fill the jar with bourbon, covering both bacon and beans.
- Seal the lid, store in a cool, dark space.
- We recommend giving this infusion 2.5–3 days to infuse.
But be sure to take a small sip every day to judge for yourself. If it has reached a taste you find satisfactory, then you can filter it and start to enjoy.
2. Campfire Classic
There are few things better than relaxing by a roaring fire on a cold winter’s eve while sipping warm cocoa. In this instance, the Campfire Classic might have the hot chocolate beat. For this citrusy Christmas drink, we used:
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 10 cloves
- 1/2 orange zest
- 350ml of bourbon
- Add cinnamon and cloves in small sauce pan for and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Then, remove ingredients and add them to the jar.
- Take the orange and shave the zest directly into the jar. Do this above the jar so the oils splash into the container. (Be careful not to add any of the white, bitter rind to the jar.)
- Finally pour in the bourbon.
- Let this infuse for 3-5 days, until you’ve reached a desired flavor.
3. Ballpark Peanut
Our last infusion is the easiest to make, as you only need to add roasted peanuts. You can roast the nuts yourself or buy them in a store. Before tossing the peanuts into the jar, remove any skins that are on the nuts.
- 3 oz roasted peanuts
- 350ml bourbon
We recommend infusing the peanuts for two weeks. After you filter this infusion, dry out the peanuts and enjoy their new bourbon-soaked flavors.
With every infusion, regardless of the ingredients used, we suggest shaking the container once a day to properly distribute the flavors thoroughly.
Filter and finish
No matter what you put in your infusion, you need to filter the infusion to get out all the ingredients. To do this, you need a mesh filter and cheesecloth. If you don’t have cheesecloth, a coffee filter will work, but we recommend filtering it twice if you’re using a coffee filter.
1. Getting to the Liquid
When your bourbon is ready, you must filter it. To prepare, have a second container ready and a metal mesh filter. Pour the liquid through the filter into the new container. The majority of the infusions ingredients should be filtered out, but you’re not done yet.
2. Removing the Sediment
To make sure the infusion is drinkable, you need to get out all the little floating bits in the drink. In order to get your drink ready, pour it one or two more times through a cheesecloth into another container.
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