Alcohol infusions often take two to three weeks to make.
This is time-consuming, and who wants to wait so long? You might have guests over for dinner and want to impress them with your infusions.
Sous vide alcohol infusions are super quick and easy.
So, in this post, we’ll go over the benefits of infusing alcohol using sous vide, the best types of alcohol to use, and some tasty recipes.
Infusing Alcohol Using Sous Vide: Yay or Nay?
Usually, we’ll just add some fruit to a mason jar with vodka, seal it, and let it sit for a few weeks. The alcohol preserves the fruit so it won’t spoil. But it takes too long, and this is where sous vide can help.
It Saves Time
Using sous vide to make alcohol infusions only takes 90 to 120 minutes. So you don’t have to wait weeks before drinking your new beverage.
This is also helpful when you have guests for dinner or are hosting a Christmas party. Chances are you won’t have two to three weeks to let your alcohol-infused beverage sit. But you can simply toss your ingredients and alcohol of choice in a mason jar and put it in a sous vide bath.
I also noticed that sous vide extracts flavors much better than the traditional method.
You Can Use The Leftover Fruit, Veggies, or Meat To Make Food
Let’s say you’re making kiwi-infused gin. After the alcohol is infused, you can put the kiwis on top of a cake or pudding. This way, you also get gin-infused kiwis which are delicious.
My personal favorite is meat. I’ll cut up a steak into small pieces, add it to a mason jar with some alcohol, and let it cook. Once it’s finished, I can use the meat to make a stew or soup..
When you make alcohol infusions, you know what’s going in your drink.
This is helpful if you’re a health nut like me.
Most companies add sugars, alternative sweeteners, and preservatives that harm your body. These additives are found to cause inflammation, a significant reason behind chronic diseases.
So instead of buying that strawberry-infused vodka at your local grocery store, why not make your own? Store-bought strawberry vodka probably doesn’t contain real strawberries, and you never know what you’re drinking.
Homemade sous vide drinks are taster than ones you’ll find in the store. This is because you’re using high-quality fruits while companies just add sweeteners for flavor.
It Brings Out Your Creative Side
You can make alcohol infusions with any fruit like:
So if you’re bored or trying to kill time, whip out your sous vide machine and get creative. For example, if you’re a fan of blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, you can infuse them all with alcohol. This way, you’ll have a mixed berry vodka or gin. Or, if you have mangoes and bananas, feel free to add them to your alcohol.
But you aren’t only limited to fruit. You can make alcohol infusions with almost anything. This includes:
Personally, I love adding some chopped jalapeno chilies to a bag of tequila to make a spicy drink.
What Type of Alcohol is Best?
Here are my favorite spirits to use when infusing alcohol.
Vodka is the perfect drink to make alcohol infusions with because it adopts most fruit flavors. It’s almost like a blank canvas. You can get a quality bottle of vodka for as low as $15. So it’s an option that won’t break the bank.
If you have a bottle of vodka lying at home and don’t know what to do with it, consider infusing it with strawberry or vanilla beans.
I noticed that vodka goes well with strawberries and vanilla beans. After just 30 minutes in the sous vide bath, you can already taste the strawberry notes.
If you’re feeling a little more creative, add a few slices of apple with a tablespoon of caramel. The result will be a little thicker vodka loaded with flavor.
Tequila is another tasty drink to start your infusion journey with. It might not offer the blank canvas like vodka or gin, but it goes well with different chilies and spices.
If you’re eating a hot dish like chilaquiles or curry, then tequila infused with jalapenos is perfect.
Another benefit of using this recipe is it saves a lot of time. Since the flavor of tequila and jalapenos are so strong, you only have to leave it in a bath for 30 to 40 minutes. Anything longer, and the taste becomes overpowering.
If you love cocktails, there’s a big chance your base of choice is gin. It’s perfect in a martini, bramble, and gin and tonic. So why not spice up your cocktails a little with infused gin? It’ll give you that extra flavor to make your favorite cocktail taste even better.
Gin goes well with ginger, cucumber, or basil. These are basic yet tasty infusions, and you can use the basil and ginger in your food for an extra kick.
Like vodka, gin is cost-effective. You can pick up a quality bottle of gin at your grocery store for $15 to 20.
Rum doesn’t give you that blank canvas. But it compliments certain foods well. If you want to try something new, consider infusing your rum with meat. Some of the best cuts of meat include:
These meats give your rum a taste you won’t find anywhere else.
It’s also super easy to make. Simply cut your meat into a few small pieces. Add it to a mason jar with rum and put it in a sous vide bath. Once you’ve finished straining it, sear the meat, and you have a tasty meal and drink.
I’m a big fan of using whisky to make alcohol infusions because it goes perfectly with nuts. My favorite nuts are:
• Pecan nuts
• Brazilian nuts
Simply crush it and put it in the sous vide bath with some whisky, and you’re good to go.
Now that we know what spirits to use, let’s go through, step by step, how to make alcohol infusions.
How to Make Alcohol Infusions With Sous Vide in 120 Minutes
Equipment for liquor infusions
- Sous Vide Machine – our favorite right now is the Anova or the Joule. You can find our full roundup here – 21 Best Sous Vide Machines (Reviews Updated 2021)
- Container – not necessary, but nice to have for many items. We recommend the Lipavi as it is large and sturdy. You can also use a pot.
- Mason Jars – these ones are solid – Mason Jars
Making alcohol infusions are super easy.
First, gather what you’re going to use to infuse your alcohol. This could be fruits like peaches, pineapples, apples, or strawberries. Vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber, carrots, and jalapenos are also popular options. If you’re feeling meaty, you might even want to add your favorite steak. Spices are also good!
Next, cut them into small pieces and toss them into the sous vide bag. From here, add your liquor of choice.
What is the Best Temperature for Liquor Infusions?
Ideally, anything between 120 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit should be okay. Personally, I typically just go with 140 degrees for all my infusions at home. However, it does depend on what you are actually infusing.
For softer fruits and veggies, I would recommend on the lower end maybe around 120 or 130 degrees Fahrenheit.
For Sous Vide spice infusions, higher works better so I would go with 160 degrees.
Timing wise, as mentioned above I average around 120 minutes or 2 hours per infusion.
What to Look Out For
Cooking foods in a sous vide bath isn’t the same as making alcohol infusions. There are a few mistakes you must avoid.
No Vacuum Seals
You never want to vacuum your concoction because too much pressure can cause your bag to burst. Even vacuum sealing your bag on the lowest setting can have unwanted consequences.
But you don’t need to get all the air out, so vacuum seals are unnecessary.
Instead, use the water displacement method.
To do this, get a bowl of water and slowly submerge your bag into the water while closing it. This gets almost all the air out of your bag. And unlike the vacuum seal, it isn’t too powerful.
Use Mason Jars
You can use sous vide bags if you want. But mason jars are much safer. You won’t have to worry about your bag leaking or bursting.
Mason jars also work better because it prevents the alcohol and aromatics from escaping during the heating process.
Always Label Your Alcohol Infusions
When I first made alcohol infusions, I didn’t label them. And after making several batches, it became confusing.
So if you’re making different alcohol infusions, label them immediately after you’ve poured them into the bottle. This way, it’s easy to keep track of everything.
It also helps when you live with other people. Sometimes you’ll make a spicy, jalapeno vodka, and if you don’t label it, your roommate or partner might drink it without knowing it’s infused with chili.
7 Tasty Alcohol Infusion Recipes
1. Coffee Vodka
If you’re a coffee-lover, you might want to start your alcohol infusion journey with a simple coffee vodka.
I like making this for dinner guests because it’s tasty and only takes 60 minutes. To make coffee vodka, add some beans into your bag or mason jar with vodka. Cook this in a water bath for about an hour at 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
When it’s finished, put it into an ice bath for another few minutes and enjoy.
2. Mixed Berry Vodka
Vodka goes well with strawberries and blueberries. Many people only use one type of berry, but why not mix things up? If you have raspberries or goji berries, feel free to add them also.
Add your favorite berries in a sous vide bag with some vodka, and after cooking it for 90 minutes, chill, and serve!
3. Kiwi and Apple Vodka
Kiwis and apples are another fruit combination that goes well with vodka.
After you’ve peeled your kiwi and apple, cut them into small slices. Add them to your mason jar or sous vide bag with vodka for a few minutes, and you’re good to go.
Pro tip: Add the leftover kiwi and apple slices to an apple and banana pie with cream for a tasty dessert.
4. Cucumber Gin
Cucumber flavored gin is a refreshing base perfect for making cocktails like:
• Gin Mule
• Gin Rickey
• Basil Berry Smash
• Gin and Tonic
This makes cucumber-infused gin a must-have for when summer rolls around.
5. Jalapeno Tequila
If you’re a fan of spicy drinks, look no further than jalapeno-infused tequila. It’s one of the first alcohol infusions I learned to make and immediately fell in love with.
This makes it a delicious option if you like tequila.
And if you’re eating a hot meal, jalapeno tequila serves as the perfect drink.
6. Bacon Bourbon
But if you’re craving meat, consider making bacon-infused bourbon. It’s a good alternative if you’re looking to spice up your bourbon drinks. With bacon bourbon, you can make delicious cocktails like:
• Barbour Sour
• Old Fashioned
• Kentucky Mule
• Maple Bourbon
• Bourbon Sidecar
7. Candy Vodka
If you’re craving some sugar, satisfy your sweet tooth with candy-infused vodka. Some of my favorite candy to use include:
• Jolly Ranchers
Candy vodka is an affordable option for those on a budget because you don’t need top-quality vodka. The candy masks the vodka’s taste, so you can use a cheaper vodka.
Final Thoughts on Sous Vide Alcohol Infusions
Making alcohol infusions with sous vide cooking is super easy. Within a few minutes, you’ll have a tasty drink waiting to be served.
Your options with alcohol infusions are unlimited. You can use any fruit, vegetable, candy, or even meat. This is a guaranteed way to spice up your drinking experience or impress guests. It also works well as a gift for someone’s birthday.