Happy Friday everyone. We all made it through another week….I think. I’m currently in the middle of parental leave from work, so knowing what day it is has been a bit of a struggle. One of the perks of having some time off is the ability to play with some recipes I’ve been wanting to try for a while. I found this infusion recipe a few years ago and never did anything with it…until now. I bring you the Apple Spice Bourbon Infusion:
3 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/2 cup apple juice (unfiltered)
1 apple, cored and cut into cubes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
12 whole cloves
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
1 1/2 cups bourbon
Add the sugar, water and apple juice to a saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the sugar has melted. Add the apple, cinnamon, cloves and vanilla bean, and continue cooking until the apple just begins to caramelize. (The fruit will start to soften and brown slightly.) Remove from heat and allow to cool. Once cool, add the apple mixture to a sealable glass jar. Add the bourbon, and then store in a cool, dark place for 24 hours, shaking occasionally. (You can infuse the bourbon for up to 2 days if you desire a stronger spice flavor). Once the infusion is complete, shake one more time and then strain out the liquid. A tea strainer will work well for this – if you want to strain out the little bits, you can strain a second time with a coffee filter. This recipe makes 2 cups, just enough to fill a pint-sized mason jar.
Seems pretty straightforward. TO THE KITCHEN!
I even made sure to test the bourbon. You know, to make sure it was OK to use.
Once everything cooked down it was time to jar it up:
Here is the finished product:
It’s very, very good. The clove hits you up front, followed by the apple and vanilla bean. The bourbon flavor is muted, but not in a bad way. The cinnamon somewhat gets lost a little bit however. Though any more cinnamon added may over correct and overpower and make it bitter.
The overall flavor palate is of a mild sweetness, reminiscent of apple pie filling, though not as sugary as the classic fall dessert. The infused whiskey is good enough to have on its own, but I wouldn’t recommend more than a finger’s worth at a time. The recipe suggests mixing with ginger ale. I have not tried that yet, but I can see how the ginger flavor there would enhance the raw base. I would also try this warmed up. The fall flavors lend themselves to a quick stovetop warmup before putting in a flask and taking a nice walk outside.
Like most recipes I try, I always go by the book the first time around. The next time I make this (and believe me, there will be a next time) I’m going to try and alter the spice profile a little bit. I’m thinking I’ll back the clove off a little bit, and maybe add in some allspice or nutmeg, since those play nicely with apple flavors. I’d also increase the amount of bourbon infused. There was more room in my jar, and it should be put to good use. Speaking of putting things to good use, I did save the infused apples. I’m thinking they can be used in some sort of dessert application.
(Banner image found here)