A Cocktail Expert's Top Tip For Infusing Whiskey

cocktail with mushroom slices
cocktail with mushroom slices - Rimma Bondarenko/Shutterstock

As delicious as a straight dram of whiskey might be, infusing some of the whiskey bottles lined up at your home bar can be a fun way to build texture and develop tasting notes. Whether you're looking to infuse a dram with vanilla or bring a fruity, sweet punch to a glass with dates, knowing how to infuse booze can help you feel like a professional bartender. Plus, you'll have something fun to work with the next time you're craving an old fashioned with a flavorful twist.

We spoke to Justin Lavenue, owner of Austin, Texas' The Roosevelt Room and The Eleanor for tips on how to bring creative additions to our favorite whiskey labels without ruining the tasting notes we already appreciate. Lavenue encourages aspiring at-home bartenders to think carefully about pairings. "Choose whiskies that are more value-driven labels so that infusing them with dried fruits improves the end result," he advises. You may not want to use your finest blend for your creative undertakings, so start with a label that you wouldn't mind experiencing an altered taste.

Read more: The 27 Best Bourbon Brands, Ranked

Adding Just The Right Amount Of Flavor

whiskey cocktail on counter
whiskey cocktail on counter - Ryzhkov Photography/Shutterstock

Though Lavenue is hesitant to participate in infusion experiments -- "I'm strongly on the side that great whiskey should remain unadulterated, just like a fine wine," he says -- he does appreciate that some whiskies can take a positive turn when infused the right way.

As with any infusion, the longer you let the ingredients cozy up together, the stronger the flavors will develop. You may want to sample your concoctions periodically so that you can strain your whiskey and serve when the flavors have hit the point that is ideal for your palate. Keep your initial infusion attempts simple by adding only one ingredient at a time before you think about doubling down with a combination of herbs, spices, and dried fruits. Use the best quality ingredients you can find and don't forget to stir or shake the blend as it rests. Infusions can be tricky to master, so as with all creative culinary projects, don't worry if you need a few times to nail your desired result.

Read the original article on Tasting Table