February 22, 2013

Tailgate Recipes: Infused Tequila

Happy National Margarita Day! I am a fan of the holiday for a few reasons. The obvious is because I really enjoy the frothy, sweet and sour beverage. Especially on a hot day, and we have plenty of them here. The other reason is that the event is widely celebrated here in Texas, because the frozen margarita machine was  invented in Dallas in 1971 by Mariano Martinez. I thought a great way to celebrate would be to infuse some tequila with pineapple and mango and share my process. 

Infusing tequila or any other kind of liquor is very easy and it makes for a great way to "elevate your tailgate".  Here are my tips and tricks....

When you are starting out, you don't need to use the most expensive liquors. The middle of the road, like Jose Cuervo is fine. Infusing liquors is a process that you will hone to your liking once you get started. No sense in wasting the good stuff, if it turns out that you don't like the flavors.
  1. Choose your liquor.
  2. Decide what flavors you desire.
  3. You will need a container with a tight fitting lid. Mason jars work great.
  4. Shake and then store your liquor based on the infusion time. Shaking periodically in the process.
  5. Finish by straining your liquor from the infusion. You can store it back in the original container. 

Infuse liquor with the following:
  • Berries - wash and leave whole, peel the skins on harder berries
  • Pineapple, Mango - wash and cut into chunks
  • Strawberries and Citrus fruit - wash and slice thinly or use zests of lemons and oranges
  • Vanilla Beans - wash and cut lengthwise
  • Herbs - wash and use whole (stems and all)
  • Peppers - wash and leave whole or cut in half

General Infusion Times: 
  • 1-2 hours: Spicy peppers, test it more often as different peppers will add their spicy flavor faster and the liquor can easily be burned.
  • 3-4 days: Intense flavors, like herbs, vanilla beans, lemons and limes. 
  • 1 week: Moderate flavors such as blueberries, mangoes, peaches, cherries, and strawberries.
  • 2 weeks: Mild flavors such as pineapple and ginger.

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