The New Wave of Artisan Cocktails
Story and recipes by Carly Browning
As each cold day passes, I snuggle up with my mug and think: Man, I’m tired of just a plain Hot Toddy. What about some cinnamon whiskey to spice things up? Or vanilla Bourbon? Or orange whiskey? Flavor-infused spirits have been trending around the bar and restaurant scene and are incredibly easy to do at home. They’re flexible, creative and very rewarding. Felicia’s Atomic Lounge & Cupcakery has a cucumber-fused vodka served in their Zen Mary, which I raved about in my recent piece on brunch. Stella’s Restaurant, Bar and Café has created several house-infused spirits such as vanilla vodka, blueberry vodka, and —wait for it — cinnamon-chili sherry, which goes into a cocktail aptly named Arson on Third. Stella’s takes it one step further, making house-infused syrups like rose-peppercorn and liqueurs like pomegranate-sage shrub, which they use in their cocktails. With such great local inspiration, I thought I would rise above the standard cocktail and try some infusions of my own. I played around with what ingredients to use and how long to let them infuse, and your preferences may be different. Try these variations and send us your own!
3.5 cups vodka
6 sprigs rosemary
Fill a mason jar with your vodka of choice. Place springs of rosemary in the jar. Screw the lid on and keep in a cool, dry place for 24 hours. After 24 hours, take a sniff and see what you think. If you want it to be stronger, you can let it sit for up to 3 days. By day 3, remove the rosemary. It should be semi-golden in color.
A Fragrant Moscow Mule
1 shot rosemary-infused vodka
1 tablespoons lime juice
1 bottle Ithaca Beer Company’s ginger beer
Fill an 8 ounce glass with ice. Add 1 shot rosemary-infused vodka. Add lime juice. Fill glass with ginger beer.
3.5 cups vodka
About 10 mint leaves
Fill a mason jar with your choice of vodka. Cut the top and quarter the berries and drop them into the jar. Screw on the cap and let it sit For 24 hours. Add mint and let sit for 12 hours. Remove strawberries and mint. If you want that bright mint color, add some fresh sprigs to the jar.
1 shot strawberry-mint vodka
1 bottle Dry Cucumber Soda
1 strawberry for garnish
Muddle mint leaves in the bottom of an 8-ounce glass. Fill with ice. Add 1 shot strawberry-mint-infused vodka. Fill glass to the top with cucumber soda. Garnish with a cut strawberry.
Carly Browning is a senior at Ithaca College and the Edible Finger Lakes writing intern.
For more drink recipes, check out this Hot Red cocktail.