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Posted by on Aug 12, 2013 in infused | 0 comments

herbed spiked lemonade

herbed spiked lemonade

  Summer requires lemonade. Preferably, one that’s really refreshing. By this point in the summer, though, you’re probably bored with it – probably because you’ve had one too many glasses of boring lemonade. Fresh herbs provide a bright, invigorating flavor that is just plain perfect for beating the summer heat. This recipe will renew your faith – and interest – in lemonade. This recipe can be made with or without alcohol. If you are making the adult version, you have a lot of options, as infused vodkas are proliferating at a deliciously fast rate. I love mango, so I often use Three Olives Mango in this recipe (if you like mango vodka, try it in my sassy summer sangria, too!). You also could use a cilantro-, berry-, or other fruit-infused vodka. Here in Columbus, our beloved Middle West Spirits makes a fantastic stone fruit vodka that is good with pretty much everything I’ve ever paired it with. I encourage you to explore the infused vodkas that grab your eye – and if you want recipes that will help you use the...

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Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in infused | 0 comments

sassy summer sangria

sassy summer sangria

  Sangria is a perfect cocktail for improvising and innovating. In fact, I never make the exact same sangria twice. However, if you’re going to use a bottle of your favorite wine and a few of your best liquors, it helps to have a fool-proof foundation on which to build. This is my reliable base, to which you can add any number of other ingredients to make it suit your taste. I call it “sassy” because the rosemary gives it just a bit of an edge, and it’s not very sweet (but it can easily be made sweeter if you wish). Because it’s infused with fresh rosemary and fruit, it needs to be made a day ahead. I also recommend pouring some lemonade or lemon soda into an ice cube tray; when you serve the sangria, these cubes will keep it cool without watering it down. Before serving, taste it. And taste it again, to make sure you tasted it accurately the first time. Then play around with it – I’d suggest adding any new ingredients to your testing...

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Posted by on Jul 18, 2013 in infused | 0 comments

infused simple syrup

infused simple syrup

  Most of us at one time or another have probably put sugar crystals into a tall glass of iced tea or other cold beverage, only to spend the next ten minutes stirring until all the granules have dissolved. There has to be a better way! There is. A simple syrup is sugar-sweetened water, which blends immediately and effortlessly with most any drink. (The Japanese have already figured this out, and you can get cute little capsules of simple syrup at any coffee shop. Meanwhile, we chumps here in the U.S. continue to have to stir the contents of sugar packets into our cold beverages. But I digress…) Your basic simple syrup recipe usually specifies a sugar-to-water ratio of 2:1. That will yield 3 cups of a nice sweet liquid that you can store in your refrigerator for up to a month. Very handy. But the possibilities go well beyond such a simple, simple syrup. You can add just about any aromatic (herb, spice, floral, tea, etc.) to flavor it, which opens up a vast range...

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Posted by on Jul 11, 2013 in featured, infused | 0 comments

infused cocktails

infused cocktails

  I will never forgot my first herb-infused cocktail. It was a lovely white wine sangria at Chef Jose Garces’s Philadelphia restaurant Amada. Long before he became an Iron Chef, he was a very well respected Philadelphia icon. I didn’t know this at the time, however. All I knew as I walked by it while strolling through the Old City neighborhood was that this was a Spanish restaurant that I had to try. As I sipped the sangria, I wondered what was giving it such a uniquely refreshing quality. It was rosemary. That blew my mind. And it forever changed how I think about cocktails and new cocktail recipes. Seven years later, it now serves as the inspiration for this blog – and ultimately a book – about using aromatics to infuse cocktails in new and delicious ways. When talking about beverages, infusing just means that an aromatic – an herb, spice, fruit, tea, flower, etc. – is placed into a liquid and given time to impart its flavor. Heat speeds up the process, but is not always desirable or...

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