Last fall around this time, I posted a recipe for spiced honey; honey infused with spices & lemon. It was a great thing to have around last winter when I thought I’d die. No seriously. I was in the midst of two TERRIBLE bouts of severe cold/bronchitis & it really helped immensely. I added it to tea & I had spoonfuls of it straight from the jar. I’m still making a few jars of it for this winter. However this year… I’m also going with spiced alcohol.
Truth be told, I
am not was never a bourbon girl. Not really. I’d drink it in an old fashioned, even drink it on the rocks. But it’s never been my favorite thing to drink alone. But lately, when it comes to infusions & whipped creams & baked goods & even pickles… bourbon has become my “boo thang.”
Jay loves him some bourbon. He’s my go-to bourbon guy. If I need it for a recipe, I ask him. Which one is best in this, which one would be good for that, which is too expensive to bake with (notice: don’t touch the Pappy Van Winkle, whatever you do), which one would go well in cake, you get the idea.
‘Tis the season for warming drinks. Bourbon, brandy, whiskey, etc. Fall & winter just screams for that kind of thing. Hot toddy’s, hot milk punch, hot buttered whiskey, all that. And like I said, while I’m not a fan of straight up bourbon, I do enjoy some infused varieties. I added that cherry bourbon to Cokes all winter, not to mention I made chocolate sauce with it. And listen: who wouldn’t love some vanilla-infused spiced bourbon?
Loony people, that’s who.
Jay gave me this bottle of Buffalo Trace to use for these purposes, and I trust his judgment. Besides, the finished product is mainly for him anyway.
If you’re not a bourbon expert, then here’s what you need to know: don’t use shitty bourbon. If it’s cheap, it’s not worth it. If it tastes like gasoline, it’s not worth it. Vanilla may be wonderful… but it’s not magic: it can’t change a lousy bourbon into the finest one available. Buy one that tastes good but doesn’t break the bank. According to my resident bourbon connoisseur, Buffalo Trace, Bulleit, Elijah Craig, etc… even Maker’s Mark are all excellent choices.
- 1 vanilla bean, split & scraped (you’ll be using both the bean & the “caviar” from inside)
- 2 cardamom pods, gently smashed
- 1/2 cinnamon stick
- good quality bourbon such as Buffalo Trace
- Add the smashed cardamom, cinnamon stick & vanilla “caviar” (along with the scraped out bean) to a jar or bottle of your choice.
- Pour the bourbon over it. You should use anywhere from 1 1/2 – 2 cups bourbon for the above amount of spices & adjust accordingly.
- Seal the jar or bottle, shake it well & let infuse for 2-3 weeks.
I used one of these tall 20.2 oz. Weck jars. I like Weck jars for making infusions or beverages because the tops don’t rust like a regular metal one or 2-piece lid does. And I never have any of those plastic screw on caps around.
Not only that, but if you’re displaying the jars or giving them as gifts, those plastic lids aren’t as attractive. However I will say that if you put some in these DIY jars it would look beautiful too. And let me just say: receiving a gift of this would be just absolutely lovely. Wouldn’t it?
If you don’t like cardamom, you can leave it out. You can add lemon & orange zest as well, to make a more citrusy spice flavor.
Also, I read somewhere that adding a few slices of apple to it can make an apple pie flavored bourbon. WHAT. I was almost afraid to try it because I thought I’d wake up to Jay lying on the living room floor with all the empty jars & bottles strewn around next to him. Yeah. Pretty much what would happen.
But I did it anyway.
Sometimes, you’ve just gotta say “screw it.”
If you want to do it, too, just add a few slices of apple (I recommend using Granny Smith- I did not but I wish I had!) to the spiced bourbon jar (and personally I’d add another small cinnamon stick too). Let it sit for a full month. Then strain it thoroughly. It’s delicious on it’s own as a straight-up drink, but you can add a little apple cider to it as well.
Just a thought.