DIY Infusions – Cocktail Fuel

I’m fond of giving people gifts, but often shy away from just giving people stuff. There’s a complex dance of figuring out if it’ll be useful, if the quality’s any good, if they’ve already got one around, that muddies the water. I prefer to make something that doesn’t take up much space and has the chance of getting used up rather than living out the rest of its existence in storage. I’ve found that infusions work pretty perfectly for this job.


I’ve gone through a lot of recipes and variations over the years (they’ll likely show up on this blog eventually) but I was especially fond of this batch made in 2013. I made 5 infusions as christmas gifts to send to friends and family. The mixes were black pepper vodka, pumpkin vodka, lady grey tea gin, raw honey vodka, and red pepper tequila.

There’s no magic to making them – you just pick ingredients that will infuse well without adding noticeable grease or sediment to the brew. Smoked sausage and peppermint candies both failed for these reasons (I’d try peppermint again with the whole herb instead).

The pumpkin was the most complicated infusion. It involved making an egg-free pumpkin pie mix with pureed pumpkin and whole spices, heating it on the stove for an hour, adding liquor, and straining through a coffee filter. The rest were simply mixed together and then tasted over the course of a few weeks to figure out when to pull the spices and bottle the product. I included a few cocktail recipes using these infusions that have worked out really well. You can find them all here.

One set went out to Eva Galperin of the EFF her husband John.  Given their respective careers, I figured I’d make them a custom wax seal that combined the two.