Flavored whiskey has become incredibly popular and you can create unique cocktails at home with simple, fresh ingredients. Not only will the end-result surpass the commercially available options, but you’ll have great story too.
This primer is designed to keep it simple, so let’s get started.
Buy Some Good Bourbon
A few affordable & widely available bourbon options include:
- Jim Beam ≈ $30
- Wild Turkey ≈ $ 22
- Old Grand Dad 100 ≈ $25
- Evan Williams ≈ $16
- Elijah Craig ≈ $26
For our homemade whiskey infusion, we went with Buffalo Trace bourbon (≈ $26)
Select a Flavoring Agent
Finding a flavor for your bourbon infusion shouldn’t be difficult, but here are a few guidelines:
- Taste the Bourbon First – Select a Flavor That’ll Stand Up to It
- Typical Infusions Use Fruit, Herb, Nut and/or Spice Flavors
- KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid: Pick Something Easy to Prepare and Remove from the Liquor
We were looking to experiment, so we selected different flavors to create three separate infusions: apple, fresh vanilla bean and coffee.
Find a Container
- 750 ml = 25.36 oz.
- 1 liter = 33.8 oz.
You can get away with a covered bowl or even repurposed jars, but we decided to use some miscellaneous Mason Jars lying around the house. They’re inexpensive, easy to use and reasonably attractive – as opposed to an old salsa jar.
Prepare the Infusion
- ½ Apple, Sliced (Medium, Granny Smith)
- 1 Fresh Vanilla Bean (Sliced)
- 1/3 C. Coffee Beans (La Colombe Corsica, Dark Roast)
After preparation, we combined each ingredient with approximately 8.5 Oz. Buffalo Trace Bourbon in a Mason Jar and gave it a good shake. Afterwards we set the jars aside to stew a while.
Wait & Taste
Truthfully we didn’t know how long it would take for our bourbon infusion to generate significant flavor, so we decided to test taste each jar daily. Using a straw we extracted just a drop to evaluate the progress. Our goal was the creation of a distinct flavor without it being overpowering. Here were our results:
|Day # 1
|Day # 3
|Day # 7
|Strong, But Perfect
For this experiment we were infusing a small amount of spirits so your experience may differ based on the bourbon, the ingredients’ flavor profile, preparation and size of the container.
Bottle Your Bourbon Infusion
Once the flavor was just right, it was time to bottle the results. Using everything we learned in How to Bottle Cocktails, we strained the infusion through a fine mesh strainer into some flip top bottles and we were ready for cocktail hour.
Although we intend on using our homemade whiskey infusion in cocktails, this would be an excellent gift idea. Simply put your bourbon infusion into an attractive container with an interesting lable and you’ve instantly made a unique gift that will far surpass the traditional $10 bottle of wine in a brown paper bag.
Here are a few items you may find useful whether bottling your infusion for yourself or as gifts:
Ball Mason Jars
Paper Bottle Tags
Overall this experiment was tremendously successful and easy. Hopefully we’ve simply answered the question on How to Infuse Bourbon? And we hope that you’ll jump in to create some new interesting flavors for your own home bar.