Hump Day Happy Hour
Unleash Your Inner Mixologist with Homemade Infused DrinksBy Julie Fishman
Once a novelty reserved for swanky speakeasies, spirits infused with herbs, fruits and spices have hit the at-home mixology scene. Before coming up with our own misguided concoctions, we thought it best to ask The Cosmopolitan's drink diva Mariena Mercer for the lowdown on DIY infusions.
Adding your favorite tastes to store-bought spirits "deepens and intensifies the flavors," says Mercer. The result? Combinations you just can't get from a bottle, like bourbon with hints of maple-brushed bacon, or vermouth spiced with fig.
While homemade booze may sound like high school chemistry—a subject you really don't want to revisit—anyone can conquer the craft, according to Mercer. The cocktail pro shares two recipes below to help kick off your creativity.
The Infusion: Rosemary- and Cardamom-Infused Applejack
10 sprigs fresh rosemary
6 cardamom pods
1 bottle Laird's Applejack
Place rosemary and cardamom into sealable bottle or large jar filled with the Applejack. Let sit for 48 hours* and then strain.
*Infusions can sit anywhere from half a day to a week. Monitor the taste daily and strain when you like what you've got.
The Recommended Cocktail: "Spiced Jack"
1 tsp. balsamic reduction
1 oz. simple syrup
1 1/2 oz. apple juice
1 oz. Yuzu Sour
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
2 oz. rosemary- and cardomom-infused Laird's Spiced Applejack
Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain over cubed ice. Optional: Garnish with rosemary sprig or apple chip.
The Infusion: Garlic-Roasted Ketel One
1 bulb garlic
1 liter Ketel One
1 tsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°F. Drizzle bulb with olive oil. Wrap in tin foil and roast for one hour. Once cooled, place bulb and Ketel One into a sealable bottle or large jar for about 12 hours. Strain and skim any residual oil from the top. Store for up to a month.
The Recommended Cocktail: "Mambo Italiano"
4 oz. Bloody Mary mix
4 basil leaves
4 turns fresh ground black pepper
4 drops balsamic reduction
2 oz. Garlic-Roasted Ketel One
Lightly bruise or mash basil in mixing glass with Bloody Mary base. Add vodka and transfer the mix back and forth between glass and a shaker two to three times. Pour over cubed ice into a tall glass. Top with freshly ground black pepper and balsamic reduction. Optional: Garnish with olive skewer.
Herbs, veggies and fruit can all be used to create your own homemade hooch.Rob Palmer/Getty Images