Alcohol-infused fruit is a super-easy, delicious way to produce unique garnishes for your favorite fruity drinks, or create a great summer dessert when used atop ice cream or lightly-sweetened whipped cream.
There are many ways to do this.
- if you want to use minimal amounts of your booze, just slice your favorite fruits, arrange in a single layer, and cover with the herbs and alcohol of your choice.
- you can also combine the sliced fruit, herbs, and a larger quantity of alcohol in a jar - this means you get a bonus of fruit-infused alcohol to go along with your alcohol-infused fruit.
- either way, let your fruit/alcohol mix sit in the refrigerator for at least 15 minutes and up to a few hours.
- check periodically so your fruit doesn't start to disintegrate! Pour off the juice and pack separately before this happens.
Of course, I have a chamber vacuum sealer, so opted to go the high-tech route. Vacuum-packing in this case means you'll get faster/better flavor penetration, and that the fruit will maintain more of its original shape/texture. If you've got a FoodSaver or similar non-chamber vacuum sealer, you can still achieve some of these effects - just be sure to cut the vacuum and shift to sealing before the liquid reaches the end of the bag and floods your pump. Check out Modernist Cuisine, 3:390 "Compressed and impregnated fruits and vegetables", for more on science details and suggestions.
- slice your favorite fruits, arrange in a single layer, and cover with the herbs and alcohol of your choice.
- vacuum seal under high pressure.
- let your bagged fruit sit for at least 10 minutes. Depending on size of slices, you'll probably achieve maximal effects in the first hour or two, but longer isn't really a problem: since you've vacuum-bagged your fruit it's less likely to disintegrate on you. If you leave the fruit infusing overnight, I'd recommend transferring to the refrigerator.
- remove fruit, drain, and reserve liquid if you like.
- Use as garnish for your favorite drinks.
- Whip cream and lightly sweeten. Fold half of the fruit into the cream mixture, and sprinkle the rest on top of each serving.
- Scoop over your favorite (preferably homemade!) ice cream.
- strawberries, limoncello, and basil or mint (shown here with basil as I was out of mint!)
- mango, cardamom, and cranberry liqueur
- apple, amaretto, and cream (SO GOOD! Baked apple flavor in a fresh crispy bite.)
- nectarines, spiced rum, and mint
- halved cherry tomatoes, vodka, garlic, olive oil (for Bloody Marys)
I find that a bit of cream helps bring out some fat-soluble flavors you don't necessarily taste otherwise. The apple/amaretto/cream mix was the hit of the night due to a mix of crunch and flavor, and everyone suggested adding a bit of cream to everything in the next set of tests.
If you give this a try, please leave a comment with your fruit/flavor combination and how it turned out! There's no end to the options.
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