I was never a whisky drinker until I discovered the art of infusion. It’s a great way to experiment with your own personal tastes and there’s no one right way to do it. You use a neutral base spirit such as gin, vodka or rum and infuse it with fruit, herbs or spices. Sadly, a lot of the infused alcohols produced commercially are laden with artificial ingredients and they lack the taste of real fruit. That’s why it’s worth trying to make your own flavoured alcohol. Don’t fret, it’s not an exact science or a mysterious process of alchemy. It just requires creativity, a jar, a bottle of booze and a handful of something to infuse it with. Apples, clementines, rhubarb, blackberries, cherries, limes, or perhaps herbs. Mint, rosemary, basil? A little bit of vanilla? See what works for you. My quinces are beginning to ripen – so I know what my next brew will be infused with. Apparently, experimenting with liqueurs and infusing alcohol with flavours is in my blood. Some members of family have been making alcoholic beverages for a very long time. My grandfather always welcomed us with his latest concoction. It didn’t matter to him that it was 9am and we had just had breakfast, it was all “for good health.”
This recipe that I use, from Abel&Cole, couldn’t be any easier.
- about 750g crab apples
- a 700ml bottle of whisky
- 5 tbsp honey or sugar
- 3 or 4 slices of fresh ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 or 3 cloves
- 1 star anise
- Rinse and dry your crab apples, picking off any stems and leaves. Cut them in half and place in a big jar. Always use a wide-mouthed, sealable and airtight container, and sterilize it with boiling water before adding your ingredients.
- Top up with whisky, add the remaining ingredients, and give it a good swirl.
- Put the lid on and leave it to rest making sure the apples are covered with whisky.
- Hide it in the back of a dark cupboard and conveniently forget about it. The longer you let it infuse, the better. Ideally at least 1 year.