“Infusion” is one of those words that sounds more complex than it really is. Infused spirits are all the rage right now at cocktail bars, but you don’t need to go out to enjoy them. You can make your own infusions with your preferred ingredients at home.
There are three main ways to do infusions:
- Classic immersion method: Mixing the ingredients in a glass gar and letting them sit for a few days to a few weeks in the dark at room temperature. Better for fruit and herbs.
- Heat infusions in a sous vide: Heat speeds up infusions (think coffee and tea) and using a sealed bag in a sous vide helps keep the alcohol from evaporating. This method is better for spices, but can be used for some fruit under a time crunch.
- Rapid infusion with a whipped cream whipper: To quote Dave Arnold, “Rapid infusion makes flavored liquors almost instantly using nothing more than an iSi whipped cream whipper. This technique works really well, and anyone can do it. Briefly: put any porous item into a cream whipper, charge it with N2O, swirl it for about a minute, vent, strain, and drink.”
This time around, I’m using the classic immersion method. In the near future, I’ll walk you through the sous vide method, and in the meantime I’m going to experiment with the rapid infusion method in an iSi whipper.
Classic Rose-Infused Gin
- Mix some high-quality rosebuds with a good gin of your choice in a glass jar or an old liquor bottle. I got my rosebuds from Spices and Teas(e) and I used Berkshire Mountain Greylock, a nice London dry style gin. Use the ratio of 1 cup of dried rosebuds per 750ml. This makes it easy to infuse a whole bottle or to do some quick math and scale it for less than a bottle.
- Shake up this mixture and set this jar in a dark place at room temperature. I put it in our liquor cabinet.
- Shake it a little each day. After 5 days, strain it through a filter into a bottle. (These Bormioli Rocco glass flasks are fantastic for this.) Make sure to squeeze out the rosebuds, as they will hold a lot of liquid after straining.
Do you want ideas on how to use it in drinks? Scroll to the bottom of this post!
Infusing is forgiving. You can taste it after a few hours, or after a few days, or after a few weeks and decide what kind of flavor intensity you like. You can also dial the ratio of rose to gin up and down to see what happens. If the flavor is too intense for your tastes, you can always cut it with more gin.
I used 200ml of gin and 0.267 cups of dried rosebuds. 200ml doesn’t sound like much, but this will make a few good cocktails, but isn’t so much that it will sit on the shelf for a few months until we get a taste for rose-flavored spirits again. If we do, it is easy enough to infuse that I can make another small batch.
Here is how the rosebud gin infusion should look when it is shaken up (it will only look like this for a few minutes before the buds turn yellow/brown, so snap your photos quickly):
More gin infusion ideas:
- Blood Orange Hibiscus
- Earl Grey (or Bergamot)
- Roasted Blackberry
- Caramelized Apricot
Rose-infused Gin Cocktails
- 1 oz rose-infused gin
- 1 oz simple syrup
- 1 oz fresh lime juice
- Splash of soda water
Shake with ice, strain into a martini glass, and garnish with a fresh rose petal or dried rosebud.
Rose Gin & Tonic
- 3 oz rose-infused gin
- 6 oz tonic water
Serve in a collins glass with ice and garnish with a lime wedge.
Lillet Blanc & Rose Gin
- 3 oz Lillet Blanc
- 1 oz rose-infused gin
Shake with ice, strain into a martini glass, and garnish with an orange peel.