Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Infusion, Feh

A few years back — quite a few — I sampled a vodka at Zuni Cafe, infused in-house with chiles.
Garbagey, vegetal, over-hot.
I say that this was quite a few years back, because I think most of us have refined and improved our infusing skills over time. They simply got it wrong then, and for all I know, it's a most delectable item nowadays. Wouldn't know. Haven't ordered it again.
I've experimented with a few infusions of my own. My biggest mistake was vodka infused with coffee beans. I simply left them in too long, and I got a very dark, very Juan Valdez drink. At the same time, rather tasty. But, too much. El muy mucho.
Fast forward a couple of years.
I'm pickling sliced jalapeño peppers.
I'm pouring a shot of Hangar One (unflavored) over ice.
I'm thinking, what if? What if?
So, yeah, I tossed in a single jalapeño slice.
The magic of alcohol is that it is able to extract flavor from additives So Fast. (Which is why I goofed with the coffee beans.)
In this case, I could immediately taste the pepper. In fact, I could taste the spices I had used to pickle the peppers.
Biggles, I'm gonna need more jalapeños.


Anonymous said...

Now that sounds right up my alley. If I hadn't already had TWO drinks (what? it was a very hard day), I'd be right there.

Tomorrow is anothah day. Thanks.

El said...


Dagny said...

So you're saying you like things kind of spicy? You should check these folks out. Once years ago, my dad bought some for a party. I was the only one foolish enough to try it. (I've always been his guinea pig.) Yes, there was some burn but by the time I was halfway through the beer my throat had gone numb.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

Ohh, I do lemon quite often, and did basil last year - purple basil, it made for a pretty colour and nice summery flavour.

Jane Tunks said...

I recently infused habanero in vodka, with wormwood to make it 'absinthe,' to bring it to a certain art festival in the desert. It was, ummm, good, but very spicy. I plan to make it next year but also distill it. I'll save you a taste. Also, it might be good for a Bloody Mary.

Anita (Married... with dinner) said...

heh. heh. heh.

This is how it starts, Cookie.

meathenge said...


I was going to axe you about those. I still havne't had a chance to try one, but heard that they contain no heat. I have tons more ...

Chilebrown said...

Do you want to try Habanero's? I have a lot of ripe ones.

michael, claudia and sierra said...

drink aside - that photo is HAMAAAZING!

cookiecrumb said...

KathyR: Where are you? Come over for a shot.

El: Maybe even better than "Beer Friend" edamame. Hee.

Dagny: Oh, well, not *too* spicy. That beer sounds a little scary, but I'm impressed that you tried it.

Mouse: Basil! Sounds gorgeous. Oh gosh.

Jane: Habanero might be too hot. As is Black Rock, you hippie.
Now, distilling. I understand that's the DIY of the future (but illegal). Hot!

Anita: I guess I never told you about my fennel pollen-infused vodka. "Interesting," at best.

Biggles: I'll swap you my jar of pickled Peter Pipers for a sack of 'penos. Possibly the heat from the serranos is what makes the jalapeno slices so nice.

Chilebrown: I am perfectly aware of your ripe habaneros. Can't give 'em away, eh? Hell, I have to hide from you at the market so you don't give them to me. :D
Then again. Sure! I'll take some.

Claudia: The photo is merely back-lit, in front of my kitchen window (you can see the screen), with a glorious backdrop of my across-the-street neighbor's red Dumpster rental in their driveway. Art. Funny stuff.
Thank you.

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Well done you, very brave! And great photo!

Barbara said...

I've bean (coffee bean) infusing vodka too.

Stacie said...

yum! a few tomatoes later, and you'll have a spicy mary!! oo, and some of that home grown celery!! what time is coctails??

Ilva said...

This is my kind of drink! There was a famous brand of vodka that sold chili pepper vodka years ago, I had problems to stop drinking when I started on that. Suppose I'm lucky I can't find it anymore. And then YOU turn up with THIS....

Catherine said...

wow! I'm on my way over for one of those!

cookiecrumb said...

Holler: Easy-peasy! Give it a try.

Barbara: I've been watching your coffee bean/orange/vanilla infusion with envy. It's beautiful.

Stacie: I guess that's why I'm growing tomatoes, come to think of it. Come over any time.

Ilva: Steady, there. You'll be fine. Just don't pickle your own jalapenos... but to drive you crazy, I want you to know that I seasoned them with cinnamon and cardamom. You'd love it.

Catherine: I'll keep a few on hand for ya.

Ms Brown Mouse said...

I'll confess here that it was Ilva that inspired me with the Basil :)

Era said...

HAhahaha, I love the way you write! My friends in Philly had an infusing party last fall using any and all fruit and vegetables available to them. Pomegranate sounded the best to me.

cookiecrumb said...

Mouse: Lovely Ilva. She inspires us all. Right now she's on a Bay (laurel) kick, though, and... Hey! Laurel-infused vodka! Oh oh oh.

Era: When nature hands you too much bounty, make booze.

mo said...

Sounds like this could give the Hangar One Chipotle Vodka a run for it's money!

cookiecrumb said...

Mo: It might... I *did* use Hangar One (plain), and there was none of that smoke from the chipotles.
Hm. I think I like this better!