17 simple ways to upgrade your cocktail
infuse your booze.
Published May 12, 2016 5:00 AM
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by Regan Stephens
It’s been real, citrus fruits, but melon season is almost here. Add summer cantaloupe and sprigs of mint to vodka for the cornerstone of a refreshing cocktail. Perhaps, as Martha suggests, a Melon Mule?
Steep rose petals in vodka for a delicate floral flavor. It does wonders for a simple mixed drink, or try making the Peppered Rose with pink peppercorns and grapefruit. On the menu at garden parties, picnics, or outdoor wedding showers, it’s a cocktail that’s as delightful to look at as it is to drink.
ginger citrus rum
We all have a few sad lemons and limes rolling around the crisper drawer, right? Put them to good use — combine chopped citrus fruit with with sliced ginger and soak the mixture in rum for sweet-tart spirit with a bit of bite. Try it in a rum + Coke for an easy upgrade to the retro classic.
fig + vanilla bean + cardamom vodka
Garnished with fresh fig slices, this slightly sweet, aromatic vodka (thanks to the infusion of vanilla beans, cardamom pods, and quartered figs) makes the prettiest pink drink. Serve it straight up or blended with bubbles.
dill pickle vodka
For those who prefers their martini dirty, swap out the olive juice and try an equally salty, savory pickle martini instead. Garlic, mustard seeds, dill, and cucumber add an extra punch to the vodka, and we suspect it would be brilliant in a Bloody Mary too but are planning to put the theory to a test over brunch this weekend.
Infused with sprigs of white fir, juniper berries, cinnamon, and orange peel, herbaceous gin makes a perfect winter cocktail. File it away for when the weather turns cold, apres ski or apres snowman-building, it’ll warm you up nicely.
blueberry basil vodka
After adding a few leaves to your pasta primavera, how should you use all the extra basil in the enormous bunch? Here’s an idea: make this sweet, peppery vodka and mix up some summery cocktails to go with pasta night.
If a whiff of lavender reduces stress, than surely combining the fragrant purple plant with gin is the equivalent of a tropical getaway, right? With lavender-infused gin, try a twist on classic cocktails like the Bees Knees, a French 75, or even a simple G + T.
apple spice bourbon
After tasting this aromatic concoction, flavored with vanilla, cinnamon, and cloves, every future non-infused bourbon may bore you. Try adding it to freshly-pressed apple cider, come fall it pairs particularly well with pumpkin carving and roaring fires.
rosemary + lemon + pomegranate gin
With herbal appeal and a dose of antioxidants, this gin seems like it could cure all that ails you. Pour a dash into a glass of pomegranate juice the next time you feel a cold coming on, or drink it all winter long, just in case.
lemongrass + lemon vodka
Raise the bar on your next Thai takeout night with fragrant, peppy cocktails made with signature Southeast Asian flavors.
bell pepper rum
Sweet, tangy bell pepper is a pleasantly surprising addition to light rum. Slice one up, fresh from the farmer’s market, and experiment with mixing it into your favorite rum-based cocktails. Bell pepper mojito, anyone?
pear spiced vodka
Wintery flavors like pear, cinnamon, and ginger make this a festive DIY holiday gift. Experiment (read: taste test often) to determine how long to steep the ingredients. In other words, this is really a gift for yourself, too.
cilantro jalapeno tequila
earl grey gin
The best part of infusing alcohol with tea is how quickly it can be done — no need to wait days for tea time, just an hour or two does the trick. Try the Lady Jane, with lavender syrup and egg white, or a host of other Downton Abbey-appropriate refreshments.