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Alcohol

For years alcohol has been consumed both as a drink and as a cooking ingredient. Today you can turn a simple drink into a fancy cocktail by adding a modernist twist: dispense flavored foam on top just before serving. Perk up a party by adding gelatin in a rum mixture to create gelatin mojito shots or elevate a meat sauce by thickening a bourbon whiskey concoction with agar and xanthan gum. The options are limitless!

Blueberry foam in drink and cocktail

Another very popular alcohol option is turning it into an alcohol infusion. Alcohol infusions can be used in cocktails, shrubs, foams, gels, and spheres. Base spirits like vodka, whiskey, and rum are the most common alcohols to infuse because they allow the full flavor of the flavoring agents to shine through. However, white rum and silver tequilas are also very common because of their mild flavors, which lend well to many infusions.

Traditional infusions can be done on any spirit with a high alcohol percentage. Using the sous vide or whipping siphon methods allows even high-sugar liqueurs or quick-to-fade wines to be safely infused. Regardless of the method, most alcohol infusions will last indefinitely in a dark cabinet, though the flavors will fade over time.

Many of these recipes and others are available in our book Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Infusions: The Ultimate Guide to Crafting Flavorful Infusions Using Modernist and Traditional Techniques which you can get on Amazon.com.

Alcohol Recipes and Articles

Cucumber and Sour Apple Gin Fizz Recipe

Placeholder This refreshing fizz drink gets the tartness from the sour apples but you can add some lime or lemon juice if you want it more sour. If you want a sweeter drink you can add a teaspoon or so of agave syrup.

Strawberry Basil Rum Fizz Recipe

Placeholder This rum is infused with sweet strawberries and herby basil making it an ideal fizz to sip on a hot day. I add a little agave syrup for sweetness and lime juice for additional tartness.

Limoncello Cocktail Recipe

Placeholder Limoncello is a classic Italian digestif. For this quick cocktail version I combine a simple syrup and a Lemon Infused Vodka. The final product is a little less rounded than the original, but it's still a refreshing drink!

Apple Pie Bourbon Liqueur Recipe

Placeholder This liqueur is perfect when served with dessert or as an after dinner drink over ice. For even more apple flavor I add some Calvados or Apple Jack or for a fun take on a bourbon White Russian add a splash of milk or heavy cream.

Triple Cherry Manhattan Recipe

Placeholder This cocktail combines the Black Cherry Rye, Cherry Vanilla Bitters, and Luxardo liqueur for a super-intense cherry Manhattan.

Clementine Brown Sugar Old Fashioned Recipe

Placeholder The Old Fashioned is such a fun drink because you can take it in so many different directions. I use the clementine bourbon in addition to a brown sugar simple syrup to make a rich and flavorful Old Fashioned.

Spiced Rum Infused Raisins Recipe

Placeholder Infused raisins are easy to make and take on a great flavor from the spiced rum. Both the raisins and the resulting rum infusion taste great and can be used together or separately.

Classic Aromatic Bitters Infusion Recipe

Placeholder Bitters add aromas to subtly tweak the flavors of cocktails. Classic aromatic bitters infusions have notes of cinnamon, clove, and cardamon while using several bittering agents to round out the flavors.

How to Use Infused Alcohols in Cocktails

Placeholder There are many ways you can use infused alcohols in cocktails. I highlight my favorite drinks drinks including tasting flights, classic cocktails, composed drinks and more!

Mulled Wine Infusion Recipe

Placeholder Mulled wine is a traditional spiced wine, usually flavored with cinnamon, raisins, orange, and star anise. Using the sous vide infusion process results in a more flavorful, nuanced mulled wine by preventing flavor loss that normally occurs when wine is boiled.

Rum Punch Infusion Recipe

Placeholder Rum punch is a strong, fruity drink that is best sipped on the beach! This infusion takes many of the common rum punch flavors and infuses them directly in the rum. I like to serve the resulting infusion with a splash of orange juice and pineapple juice.

Strawberry Basil Infused Rum Recipe

Placeholder This infusion always reminds me of eating ripe strawberries and relaxing on the deck. With the basil adding a nice hint of spice to the rum infusion, it goes great in a mojito, rum punch and a fizz.

Peach Infused Brandy Recipe

Placeholder Making your own infusion allows you to produce the exact flavors you are looking for. This peach brandy recipe infuses the sweetness and fruity flavors from ripe peaches into brandy. It also works well with other fruits or berries.

Barrel Aged Negroni Infusion Recipe

Placeholder You can make nice versions of aged cocktails in a few hours with a Mason jar by taking advantage of the quick and easy sous vide process. It does not give the cocktail as much body as aging it for 6 weeks in a barrel, but it still is a satisfying drink.

Apple and Pear Infused Gin Recipe

Placeholder The light, fruity flavors of apples and pears complement the herbal notes from the gin, resulting in a rounded infusion full of flavors. The infused gin is great in martinis and holds up well to other complex cocktails.

Apple Pie Bourbon Infusion Recipe

Placeholder This bourbon is flavored with fresh apples and classic apple pie spices like cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. It's a perfect bourbon infusion to sip with dessert or make into a liqueur.

Espresso Infused Bourbon Recipe

Placeholder Bourbon holds up wonderfully to the strong flavor of espresso and this infusion results in a rich, bold bourbon that can be used in many different cocktails. For a fun variation you can also add a vanilla bean or cinnamon stick to the infusion.

Black Cherry Infused Rye Recipe

Placeholder The fruity cherry notes in this infusion complement the spicy rye and tone down its bite. The cinnamon and clove also contribute background flavors to round out the infusion. The resulting infusion can be enjoyed over ice or mixed into cocktails.

Arnold Palmer Infused Vodka Recipe

Placeholder I like to mimic an Arnold Palmer by infusing vodka with the lemon and tea flavors, resulting in a flavorful addition to drinks on a hot day. I infuse the lemons first to fully extract their flavors, then add the tea near the end to minimize the bitterness that can be released.

Spiced Ground Cherry Infused Vodka Recipe

Placeholder Ground cherries, or golden berries, have a sweet and tart flavor, that makes a flavorful sous vide vodka infusion. I add some nutmeg and ginger to round out the flavors and contribute some spiciness.

Chile Tomato Infused Vodka Recipe

Placeholder This recipe uses guajillo and chipotle chiles to infuse the vodka with smokey and spicy flavors that complement most Bloody Mary mixes. This vodka is very spicy and made to be mixed but it can be tweaked for a mellow, sipping style infusion.

Orange Vanilla Infused Vodka Recipe

Placeholder The resulting vodka from this orange and vanilla sous vide infusion is citrusy with a deep vanilla backbone. It is awesome in a martini but my favorite is in a Creamsicle, a rich and creamy dessert cocktail.

White Sangria Infused Wine Recipe

Placeholder White sangria infused wine is a popular fruity, sweet refreshment. Using the whipping siphon infusion process makes the wine more robust because all the flavor from the fruits is extracted.

Grapefruit Tonic Infused Gin Recipe

Placeholder I use a whipping siphon process to quickly infuse gin with tonic flavors, resulting in a tart alcohol that isn't watered down. Infusing grapefruit adds acidity and citrus notes while cinchona bark adds the quinine tonic flavor.

Cucumber and Sour Apple Infused Gin Recipe

Placeholder This infusion adds the sweet and tart subtle flavors of cucumber and sour apples to the natural gin taste of juniper and herbs. Enjoy this infused gin over ice with club soda or just a splash of tonic water!

Pineapple Kiwi Infused Tequila Recipe

Placeholder This tropical tasting tequila infusion is fruity and flavorful. The pineapple and kiwi add sweetness with a touch of sour, making the infusion a great liquor to use in sours or margaritas.

Mojito Infused Rum Recipe

Placeholder Mojitos are a combination of tart lime and fresh mint combined with simple syrup and sparkling water over ice. By using a mojito-infused rum you can quickly serve up this refreshing cocktail any time!

Chocolate Mint Infused Vodka Recipe

Placeholder I used the whipping siphon to quickly infuse fresh mint and rich cocoa nibs into vodka for a delightful drink. It is great in a martini and adds a lot of nuance to a White Russian.

Lemon Infused Vodka Recipe

Placeholder Lemon infused vodka is a citrusy, flavorful drink and the base for limoncello. By using the whipping siphon to quickly extract the flavors from the lemon peels, the final product is a little less rounded but still so refreshing.

Nitrous Oaked Manhattan Infusion Recipe

Placeholder Nitrous oaking is a take on the barrel aging prepared cocktails process by utilizing the whipping siphon. The high pressures draw out the caramel flavors from the toasted oak chips and infuse them into the liquid.

Chocolate Pecan Infused Bourbon Recipe

Placeholder This infusion pairs rich chocolate and nutty pecans in a bourbon that is robust and full of flavor. It's great served on the rocks but it also makes a mean Manhattan!

Barrel Aged Alaska Cocktail Infusion Recipe

Placeholder Barrel aging is the process that gives whiskey, dark rum, aged tequila and many types of wine their flavor. This barrel aged infusion recipe is for the Alaska Cocktail.

Bushmills Hot Toddy Infusion Recipe

Placeholder A hot toddy is a classic cold- and flu-killing drink consisting of hot water and whiskey flavored with lemon and cloves. This hot toddy infusion might not cure you of your sickness but it sure tastes great!

Dried Chile Pepper Tequila Infusion Recipe

Placeholder This tequila infusion takes on a spicy, fruity, smokey flavor of dried chile peppers; it's a great way to add complexity to different cocktails. I really like it in a paloma or Bloody Mary drink!

Blackberry Basil Infused Rum Recipe

Placeholder In this infusion the sweet and tart flavor of blackberries pairs wonderfully with the slightly spicy and herbal basil. It is a fruity, flavorful addition to many cocktails and is especially tasty in rum punch or as a liqueur.

Margarita Gel

Placeholder This is a tastier take on the commonly served Jell-O shot especially if you top them with some candied lime peel and a little sprig of mint. You can even substitute any of your favorite drinks into this recipe - let your imagination run wild!

Sous Vide Chile-Tomato Infused Vodka Bloody Mary

Placeholder This recipe uses guajillo and chipotle chiles to infuse the vodka with smokey and very spicy flavors that complement most Bloody Mary mixes. You can reduce the spiciness by only using 1 guajillo pepper.

Quick Limoncello Recipe

Placeholder Limoncello is a classic Italian digestif from Southern Italy made by macerating lemon peels in alcohol for up to a month. In this recipe I use the modernist equipment power of the whipping siphon to reduce the process down to only 5 minutes. This end product is added to sugar and water; now it's ready to use.

Foamed Fruit Cosmos Recipe

Placeholder Cosmos are becoming a more and more popular drink and I mix it up by making different flavors of cosmo and by adding some flair in the form of a fruit gelatin foam from a whipping siphon.

Creamsicle with Sous Vide Infused Orange-Vanilla Vodka Recipe

Placeholder Using sous vide infused vanilla-orange vodka makes this modernist cocktail extra flavorful and the half and half adds a richness that cannot be beat.

Paloma Recipe with Grapefruit Foam

Placeholder Tequila has a bad reputation as a party drink but you can tame it if you replace the shots with this sophisticated cocktail. The paloma is a traditional Mexican cocktail and is much more common than a margarita south of the border. It is usually made with tequila and a grapefruit soda, such as squirt, served over ice, and is both easy to make and delicious.

Strawberry Daiquiri Agar Gel Cubes Recipe

Placeholder These cocktail cubes are a fun way to entertain your guests. They are rum infused strawberries encased in a daiquiri cube. When you bite into them the cube starts off with a sweet and tart flavor followed up by the kick of the rum-infused strawberries.

Orange-Cinnamon Infused Bourbon

Placeholder My favorite end-of-day drink has to be bourbon. Most days I'll stick to my favorite brands on the rocks or I'll make a Manhattan, but sometimes I'm up for trying something different. In this case, an orange-cinnamon infused bourbon made with my whipping siphon.

Bloody Mary "Ants on a Log" Recipe

Placeholder My wife's relatives in Florida love their Bloody Marys and this is her modernist take on them, focusing on the celery garnish and turning it into the serving vessel a la the traditional "ants on a log" children's snack.

Agar Bloody Mary Gel Recipe

Placeholder One of the fun things about modernist cooking is changing the textures of common dishes while keeping the flavors the same. This creates almost a confusion in the palate when it's being eaten and the brain recognizes the flavors but not the textures. This recipe creates a solid Bloody Mary gel with agar agar that has applications in various dishes.

Bourbon Glazed Sous Vide Pork Tenderloin

Placeholder My Mom isn't a big fan of pork but when my Dad made this recipe for her she fell in love with the combination of the bourbon sauce with the perfectly cooked sous vide pork tenderloin. The sous vide tenderloin comes out incredibly moist and the bourbon sauce creates a flavorful glaze that just adds layers of flavor.

Sous Vide Champagne Zabaglione Recipe

Placeholder Summer is upon us and my thoughts have turned to berries, and cherries, and luscious stone fruits. I love to combine the sweetest fruit of the season with a simple yet elegant sauce such as Italian zabaglione (or sabayon, as it is known in France).

Frothy Tequila with Citrus Air Recipe

Placeholder My wife loves tequila, especially straight or in a margarita. I wanted to do a fun twist for her so I decided to make a cocktail with tequila that would resemble a beer. This frothy tequila with citrus air recipe is a fun play on a margarita, tequila shot, and beer combination. If you like tequila you'll love this!

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