Well hello there again my lovers of sugar and bitters,
Three times in one week? Someone sure is taking their B-vitamins!
I’m coming to the realization that I’ve been experimenting a LOT, and that I should probably share some of the fun I’ve been having.
So today, I’m going to share with you two of my infused spirits I’ve got going on at the lounge at Hotel Casa 425
They are both featured as key ingredients in my new summer cocktail menu. The first is a jalapeño-cucumber infused tequila, the second is an orange-rosemary infused bourbon. They are both fantastic products, and the cocktail recipes I use with them are perfect for the summer months.
I had recently purchased the largest size of the OXO Good grips POP storage container, which holds 5.5 quarts. So I knew I could fit in at least four liters of spirit along with whatever I wanted to infuse to create a large batch or goodness.
To start the process of the jalapeño-cucumber tequila, I begin by chopping up 4 medium sized jalapeños (roughly 173 grams if you want to be specific) I slice them into thin 1/4 inch discs keeping all the seeds on the board.
These all go into the container and await their new friend, the sliced cucumber, also cut into 1/4 inch segments.
I used about 3/4 length of an English cucumber (for specifics, I did measure out 291 grams).
Next up, I pour in four liters of El Jimador blanco tequila, a deliciously crisp and citrusy spirit from the lowlands region in Amatitlán, Jalisco. El Jimador, or as I like to call it “Herradura jr.” is one of my favorite mixing tequilas because it is so versatile.
Here we have the container and label showing what’s inside.
I let that sit in my office for a couple of days to let the tequila extract the flavors and aromas from the jalapeños and cucumbers. The result is a spicy yet balanced liquid that works amazingly well in my “Berry spicy margarita” that utilizes fresh farmers market berries from Pudwill Berry Farms. More info on that in a later post…
For the infused bourbon, I must give credit to Jaymee Mandeville at Drago Centro in DTLA for inspiring me with a cocktail made with rosemary infused Bushmill’s back in January! I had been tinkering with both the infusion and cocktail recipes since then, and only in the past month have I felt like I really had something good. Hats off to you Jaymee!
I’ve found the infusion results are best with the whiskey when both the rosemary needles and the orange peels are dried first, and then added to the bourbon. The drying out of the ingredients seems to trap the oils and essences inside. When they hit the liquid, they release their flavors like an explosion resulting in a fantastic product.
So what I do first is cut some fresh rosemary from our hotel property.
I rinse the rosemary off and then just place the sprigs out on a half-sheet to dry out.
Once the rosemary dries out, just rub your index finger and your thumb together down the sprig to remove all the needles.
Next, I peel about 6-8 oranges, enough to fill up two half-sheets. When I peel the oranges, I take away 4 peels to create a bit of a cross.
Next, I peel the remaining four smaller sides to be able to get as much of the citrus as possible.
Then I lay out all the peels to be dried with the rind facing up. My little office gets pretty warm, so I just place the sheets in there to dry out anything I need to. If you want to try this at home, just throw the sheet in the oven, but DO NOT turn the oven on.
You know the peels are done when they curl up and are hard and brittle to the touch. Here I have some already dried out peels and needles.
Now comes the fun part! Measuring and pouring!
I’ve found that with four liters of bourbon, about 13 grams of rosemary needles and 40 grams of orange peels work best for a nice balance.
For infusing bourbon, I like using Evan Williams black label. It’s what I have in my well for whiskey/bourbon, and is a great mixing spirit.
Here we have the rosemary floating on top of the whiskey with the orange peels starting to release their oils into the mixture.
And here we have a double portion of this magical mixture. I had to double up production because this product and the cocktail it is made with is selling really, really well.
The finished product is very citrusy on the nose and you get the dryness of the rosemary at the end of the palate. I mix this product with lemon juice, simple syrup and basil to create my “Kentucky Rose” cocktail, but just like the previously stated margarita, more on that later…
Well, that’s about it for now. Upcoming topics include the summer cocktails, carbonated bottled cocktails, house-made lemoncello, house-cured cherries as well as a sneak peek into what kind of infusions I have going on for the fall months.
Until then, happy cocktailing!