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How to save money on liquor by infusing your own spirits
Infusion time, baby!
Have you ever gone to the liquor store and was just extremely disappointed a flavored vodka or flavored rum? Maybe the coconut flavor was a bit too sugary and had no richness like real coconut. Maybe the strawberry flavored vodka had way too much burn and the fruit tasted like cherry food coloring. Well, I'm here to tell you, don't waste your money on that crap! You don't have to spend extra money on a flavored spirit, and here's how!
Buy a plain mid range liquor
There's no point in going out and spending your money on a top shelf liquor unless you really have the money and don't really plan on mixing it up with other stuff.
Vodka - decent price such as an Absolut, Three Olives, or even Stoli (I know it's a bit more pricey but it's nothing like buying a Grey Goose, Ciroc, or something really top shelf). You don't want something bottom shelf because it will just taste crappy.
For rums, get something along the lines of a Cruzan (perfect for infusions and the price point is quite nice). You'll see why I said Cruzan a bit later. Definitely worth your while.
For a tequila, something a bit in realm of a mid-range. Using something like spices and agave nectar will enrich your infusion greatly.
Notice that I did not mention anything like Scotch, Whisky, Whiskey, or Cognac. These are normally too fine for infusion. Yes, there are some infusions out there with Cinnamon and Honey, but clear spirits are much more price effective and easier to infuse.
Getting your fruit and spices together
Now is the time to think of what particular fruit you want to infuse your liquors.
Vodka - now, you can do a lot with Vodka just because it is a neutral spirit. Whether you want to make your own Raspberry, Strawberry, or Orange Vodka. It's not that hard to be honest. You can use a bit more than half a bottle of Vodka then mash and muddle your fruits up...A good thing to before you actually pour in your fruits is to get rid of the seeds. You can pour in the meat of your fruit in for more texture. And you can use the other half for fruit juice. Use a double strainer for the most desired effect. Sometimes, using actual fruit may be a bit tart depending on the sweetness and ripeness. You can use a bit of simple syrup to help the taste be a bit sweeter.
Rum - White Rums are great with using Pineapple, Mango and Coconut. Cutting up these fruits maybe a bit tricky and long winded, but definitely worth it. Forget your light Malibu. You want actual rum that will knock you on your butt with fresh flavors and ingredients! Bacardi, Cruzan, and any other plain rum maybe good for your infusion purpose especially if you don't want to dig in the piggy bank.
Tequila - this is also interesting, but you can get really creative with infusing pineapples, coconuts together to go with an agave nectar. Also, you can use great spices to add some real kick with your meals. Habaneros, Jalapenos, and other spices make for fun party shots or go with your Latin based meals. Perfect for the evening.
Capella Flavor Drops
This might be a bit pricy at the start. However, if you are having a party or want something really flavorful, this is the way to go. Capella is a company that makes flavor drops ranging from apple cinnamon all the way to maple syrup. With just around 8 drops, you will have a fully loaded infused cocktail on your hands. You can definitely experiment with different shots, too. In the long run, it can save you a lot of money and give you the variety you need with just a plain base Vodka, Rum, or Tequila.
I've made my own infusions using Pineapple, Mango and Apple with Coconut Rum and it tasted fantastic. You may have seen my Tropical Storm =). For great tutorials and infusions, please check out the videos below! I hope you enjoy =).