It’s time for an infusion. An infusion of flavor!

July 1, 2015 Potent Potables  4 comments

I don’t think I’ve ever noted my fascination with infusions over at my home web site at dakotawarcollege.com, as it’s not really the thing one often has a chance to bring up.

Years ago, I discovered a Chinese food cookbook called “The China Moon Cookbook” from the restaurant of the same name. As part of cooking with the cookbook, you have to prepare a number of spice blends from hand, as well as a number of specialized oils which you infuse with various flavors. Ever since I’ve thought it fun from time to time to create concoctions such as chili oil, and garlic infused oil for use in cooking.

infusedSeveral weeks back when wandering through World Market in Sioux Falls, I came across a book recommending a different type of infusion (Infused)  – Specifically, an infusion with liquor as the base instead of cooking oil.

It’s been lying around my house for a while until a momentous occasion occurred this week – the cherries on my pair of Northern Sour Cherry Trees started to ripen – and I got to the fruit of my trees’ labor before the local population of birds.

We were able to salvage a decent size bowl of berries from what was hanging amidst the limbs of the two pint size trees. The only question my wife had was “What are we going to do with all these cherries?”  They were small and given the name of the trees, as one might expect they were somewhat sour.  That’s when I recalled the book, and the grand experiment began.

We had a half a bottle of unused vodka that had been hanging around the house for quite some time… since about the last time we made Moscow Mules. Which was perfect for the recipe found on page 15 of the book, which I’m providing in a somewhat modified manner:

vodka_and_cherries750-ml bottle of brandy, vodka, rum, or tequila
1 quart fresh berries, such as black currants, blueberries, cherries, raspberries, strawberries, and/or cranberries, or one 16-ounce package frozen berries
1/4to 1 cup sugar syrup  (Optional, I did not do this.)

Decant the spirits into a clean 2-quart (2-liter) glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Soak the original bottle to remove the label. Let dry.

If using frozen berries, allow them to thaw. Place the fresh or thawed frozen berries in a bowl, crush with a fork, and add to the spirits. Allow the spirits to infuse away from direct sunlight and intense heat for 3 months. Shake the container a few times each week. When you’re satisfied with the intensity of flavor, strain the liqueur through a metal sieve into a bowl. Discard the berries.

Add the sugar syrup to taste, if desired. (Optional. Again, I didn’t do this, as I’m after Cherry Vodka, and not a liqueur.)

Using a funnel, pour the liqueur into the original bottle (or another container). Label with the name of the liqueur and the date. Age for 1 month away from light and heat.

I also added the zest of 1/2 a lemon as per an option in the recipe.

The immediate effect was to turn the vodka into something resembling chum, but as the cherries soak in the vodka, it should pick up a stronger flavor, especially if you let it go for the full three months. In this summer heat, I’m not sure it’s going to make it quite that far, but we’ll see how our experiment goes.

I suspect it’s going to make a splendid and fruity cherry vodka, which I’ll probably end up using as the base of a home-made version of a drink they serve at one of the local restaurants – the Old Market – which serves a light summer drink called “a Riverboat.” It’s a mix of cherry vodka, Bacardi Limon, lime, and sprite… (If I remember correctly. I may have to have one in the next few weeks to jog my memory.)

As the summer progresses, I’ll let you know how things turn out, and if I can make it three weeks without trying the infusion brewing in my refrigerator!

4 comments to It’s time for an infusion. An infusion of flavor!

  • duggersd  says:

    Have you ever considered using the cherries for pie? From two dwarf trees, we got enough cherries for six or seven cherry pies. I believe that is a much better use. Also, we put a net over the our trees. Worked wonders.

    • PatPowers  says:

      We actually have enough left for a pie. The trees are pretty new, one installed last year and the other a couple years before, but eaten down by bunnies.

  • Cıvata  says:

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