If there’s anything I’m a huge fan of, it’s customizing drinks to suit your own needs. I mean, I’m a geek, but I also love a good adult beverage – and when those two interests collide, I wind up making some crazy drinks at the bar to try and experiment with new flavor combinations.
I happened upon this fantastic article on making your own Bailey’s over at The Cupcake Project (thanks to the venerable Lifehacker) and it got me thinking about the value of really making your own drinks – not always buying off the shelf ingredients, but really getting your hands dirty at the bar and trying new flavors. For example, the point of this “Make Your Own Bailey’s” article is to point out that all of the ingredients for Bailey’s are easy enough to come by that you could make it yourself.
Now I hear your cries already – it wouldn’t save you any money to do this, and it wouldn’t really get you anything terribly different from the genuine article – so why bother? I can answer that for you: control. You get complete and utter control over the mix of ingredients in your drink. If you prefer your Bailey’s more chocolatey than it comes in the bottle, you can make it that way. If you prefer it creamier, you can do that as well. If you prefer it with more vanilla flavor, you can do that too – it’s entirely up to you.
Another thing I’m a huge fan of doing is infusing my own vodkas – making your own fruit, vegetable, or even herb infused vodka is as simple as adding it to a jar and steeping the vodka in it for a good long while. Simply add the fruit or herbs that you’d like to infuse to a jar and fill it with vodka and let it rest in some dark corner of your cabinetry for a good long while.
Most recipes say you can turn it around in a couple of days, but I like to leave it for a matter of weeks, if not longer – the longer you let it set, the stronger the infusion will be. Here’s one of my favorites:
If you’re looking for a good starter, grab a small package of blueberries and a nice large bell jar. Make sure the blueberries are clean and well rinsed, and put them in the bell jar. Grab a bottle of your favorite vodka – and this part is important, you should use a vodka you actually like to drink; don’t Cheap NFL Jerseys assume infusion will make cheap vodka more palatable – and fill the jar so the blueberries are completely submerged. Close the jar tight, and toss it in your cupboard for a couple of weeks. If all goes well, it’ll turn a delicious shade of purple/blue, and when it’s ready to drink you can just strain out the blueberries and any skin or other sediment that may have come off of them during the infusion.
Then toss in a bottle, mix with your favorite beverage, or enjoy a vodka shot with more than a hint of blueberry!
Vodkas, cordials, and the perfect Limoncello aren’t the only things you can make at home – there’s always the obvious: homebrewing your own beer – the ultimate in the ability to create unique and new drinks using your own combination of flavors and ingredients. The trick with homebrewing is that it generally requires more equipment, skill, and facilities than doing something like infusing your own vodka, but if you’ve ever tasted a proud homebrewer’s perfect pour, you may be hooked.
Even if you’re not adventurous enough to start making your own beer, or rolling your own Bailey’s, or even infusing your own vodka, the least you can do for yourself is put your mind to the test and make your own mixed drinks with flavors you may not have initially thought to use. Create your own named beverage using tastes that you already enjoy – there are tons of pre-flavored and infused spirits out there, some of which were in our Bar Essentials: Essential Spirits guide, and a little creativity, a little geekiness, and a willingness to put on the lab coat and experiment in the bar will go a long long way towards making drinks you can boast about with your friends or serve the next time you have a few people over.