Gin seems to be the big trend at the moment. Whilst there are many different flavors of gin out there, some of us like to push the boat out and experiment with more than just 'botanicals', which leads us to infusing our gins with a multitude of complex, delicious ingredients.
This Instructable will teach you how to infuse your very own gins. They make a perfect, low-effort gift for anyone *cough* over the legal age *cough*, that gives a much more thoughtful impression. You can, of course, substitute out gin for vodka, or even rum and whisky.
Though these yummy infusions can make it difficult, please drink responsibly.
Step 1: Gather Your Equipment and Ingredients
You will need:
- A large Kilner/mason jar. I tend to use a 700ml jar per 500ml of gin, or a 1L jar for 700ml. Either way, it needs enough space to hold the gin and your infusions.
- A fine strainer/cheesecloth/large filter paper
- Gin. Often, the most basic gins work best for this. Gins such as Gordon's and Aldi's Oliver Cromwell work well as they have simple flavors that will complement your additions. More complex gins such as Hendrick's have their own distinctive flavors, which will likely clash with or be overpowered by anything you add.
- The fun stuff. See the last page for some ingredient ideas. In this Instructable I have made a ginger and lemongrass gin, and a basil, strawberry, and black pepper gin. Yum.
- Cutting/bashing/anything else you need equipment. Please be careful with knives, they can hurt. Bad.
- Something to store the infused gin in when you're done. Kilner bottles are a really nice way to present them as gifts
Step 2: Prepare Your Ingredients
Prep your ingredients as needed. Wash and cut the fruit, bash them if needed (e.g. ginger/pepper/lemongrass). Place them inside the jar, and fill it with gin. Shake the jar a few times and seal. It really is that simple.
Step 3: Infuse!
Leave your jar in a cool, dark place. Shake it a few times a day for the duration of the infusion. Different ingredients need different amounts of time (see below), but it's a good idea to taste them reasonably regularly (or a good excuse to drink, depending on how you look at it) so that they reach the intensity you want. In more complex infusions, some ingredients will have to come out at different times, so keep this in mind!
- Hot peppers (e.g. Habanero, scotch bonnet) - 1-2 hours (taste regularly, as you want to get the flavor in, but too much and the gin will become burnt and horrible).
- Intense flavors (e.g. basil, cucumber, cinnamon, citrus, milder peppers, vanilla, oregano, etc.) - 3-4 days
- moderate flavors (e.g. apple, blackberry, melon, mango, raspberry etc.) - 1 week (can go for longer for a really intense flavor, but you don't want to kill off the taste of the gin!)
- Mild flavors (e.g. pineapple, ginger, lemongrass) - 2+ weeks
Step 4: Strain and Bottle
Once your gin has infused for the desired time, you can strain and bottle it ready for giving away (or drinking yourself, I don't judge). Use a fine strainer, cheesecloth or filter paper to remove the leftover bits as you pour it into a bottle.
Step 5: Fun Recipe Ideas
Here are some recipe ideas that I like, some of them mine, some of them others'. The beauty of this is that you can experiment with different combinations, design ones that suit you or your recipient, or even make infusions that perfectly complement your favorite cocktail (try an Earl Grey gin martini, or try infusing vodka with habanero for a sensational bloody Mary).
- Ginger and lemongrass
- Apple and cinnamon,
- Basil, strawberry and black pepper
- Earl Grey
- Lapsang souchong (infusing tea doesn't take very long at all. Shake and taste regularly to find the strength you like)
- Bird's eye, habanero, or scotch bonnet chilli
- Cacao and vanilla
- Rosemary and pomegranate
- Elderflower and ginger
- Apple and pear
- Chili and mint
- Bacon (if you're mad. Please, for the love of God, cook it first. I don't want anyone complaining that they got food poisoning from raw bacon).
Hope you enjoy! You are now the master of your own gin, vodka, or anything else you dare to tamper with.