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.
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.
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Round Out Your Spread
Pair your infused beverages with these simple appetizers for a bespoke cocktail hour.