Bartender Approved: 6 Unusual Infusions To Spice Up Your Next Cocktail
Photo: Santiago Iñiguez / EyeEm (Getty Images)
The rise of cocktail culture has led to a deepening of creativity in the bartending community. As people begin to embrace the idea of spending $15 for a cocktail, they’re also more likely to try something unique and perhaps even strange that they might otherwise never have ordered. This includes exotic ingredients, flavors, and even infusions.
From Cinnamon Toast Crunch to olive oil, bartenders are experimenting with wacky, interesting, and downright wacky flavors. The best part? They actually work. Who would have thought you could infuse applejack with wild mushrooms? Well, an innovative bartender did and now you can try it, too.
Check out some of the more unique infusions we’ve come across lately. If you’re an adventurous sort, you might even want to try your hand at making one of these yourself.
Easy drinking: The Best 2-Ingredient Cocktails For Lazy Mixologists
2 parts Mellow Corn Corn Whiskey
1 part Plantation Original Dark Rum
3/4 part Jamaican Rum (ideally Smith & Cross Navy Strength)
1/2 part white sugar
1/2 part Earl Grey tea
1/2 part 50/50 fresh lemon-lime juice blend
2 parts organic whole milk infused with Cinnamon Toast Crunch (~3 cups cereal per quart milk)
Spice blend consisting of black pepper, corriander seed, cardamom pods, star anise, clove, Korean chili flake, cinnamon
Serve on the rocks with a lemon twist.
From Horsefeather in San Francisco
1 1/2 ounces ghee-infused bourbon
1/2 ounce red dry vermouth
1/2 ounce amaro carciofo
1/4 ounce coffee liqueur
3 dashes bitters
Muddle fresh mint with 1/4 ounce orgeat. Combine all ingredients stir with ice and fine strain over big ice cube. Top with three dashes chocolate bitters and fresh mint.
From Rasa in Burlingame, California
Blow Your Horn
1 ounce Oyster Lillet
1 ounce Cappelletti
1 ounce tequila
4 mists orange and pepper mezcal
Pinch sea salt
Stir Campari, tequila, Lillet, and sea salt in an ice-filled mixing glass; strain into a rocks glass that has been misted with four sprays of mezcal and place a large rock in the glass. Garnish with orange peel and two turns of fresh cracked pepper.
From The Fontaine in Kansas City, Missouri
Photo: The Fontaine
1 1/2 ounces of extra virgin olive oil-washed vodka
1/2 ounce Dolin Dry Vermouth
1 ounce clarified tomato water
To wash vodka with EVOO, use 1 cup EVOO per 750 milliliter bottle of vodka. Pour all contents into a container that allows some space (like a 4-quart square Tupperware). Shake up ingredients or stir well. Place in freezer for 24 to 48 hours. The "fat" from the EVOO will rise to the top and you will be able to remove it. Then fine strain the vodka through cheese cloth to remove any remaining oil.
To make the clarified tomato water, juice Roma tomatoes. Bring juice to simmer and let slowly simmer. The solids will rise and the liquid beneath will be clear. Fine strain out the solids and voila!
Combine vodka, vermouth, and tomato water in shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into chilled coupe glass. Garnish with two spritzes of balsamic vinegar, basil leaf, and mini mozzarella ball.
From Little Dom’s in Los Angeles
Photo: Little Dom’s
1 ounce mushroom-infused Applejack
3/4 ounces Punt E Mes
3/4 ounces Cynar
2 dashes orange bitters
Pink Himalayan salt
Mix Applejack, Pune E Mes, Cynar and orange bitters. (Optional: pour into medicine vial and chill.) In saucer or martini glass, place single large ice cube and top with pinch of Himalayan salt. Pour vial contents into glass and garnish with brandied cherry and orange peel on cocktail pick.
From Lead Bartender Tony Gonzales at District in Los Angeles
Que Syrah, Syrah
Fresh strawberry syrup
4 cups fresh strawberry juice
4 cups granulated sugar
For the black peppercorn infusion:
10 grams black peppercorns
1 cup vodka
Stir first three ingredients together until sugar dissolves, bottle and chill.
Using a wine glass over ice, shake and strain 3/4 ounce black peppercorn infusion. Add Absolut, 1 1/2 ounces fresh strawberry syrup, 3/4 ounes lemon juice, 3 ounces Famille Perrin, and whole strawberry garnish. Combine ingredients in a glass container and let sit for 24 hours. Strain through a coffee filter.
From Double Take in Los Angeles
Photo: Double Take