I don't know what it is about infusing spirits that I like so much. Especially considering you can buy practically any flavor ready made.
There's lemon, cranberry, cucumber, raspberry, grapefruit, vanilla, pepper just to name a few and that's just vodka. You can also buy flavored rum and gin.
Maybe it's the sight of jars chock-full of fruit lined up on my kitchen counter, or how I can control exactly what goes in those jars - like the freshest, local ingredients combined with the highest quality booze, or perhaps it's the creative license the do-it-yourself method provides.
If you want to try infusing, here are a few basic guidelines and recipes that I find helpful.
For today's cocktail, I chose Bing cherries simply because they looked irresistible in the market not because I had a specific recipe in mind. But that's the fun part for me - researching, mixing and tasting, and tasting some more.
And then there's the question of what to call this drink? Of course, Cherry Bomb comes to mind - and speaking of happy hour starter, 20+ years later and this song STILL makes me very happy.
As it turns out, there are already several drink recipes called Cherry Bomb. But that's okay, it implies a much heavier impact than what I had in mind anyway.
I used part coconut rum and some sparkling wine. So I think I'll call it Coco Cherry Mist - you know, more of a slow jam than a full-on jubilee.
Coco Cherry Mist
1 1/2 oz cherry-infused rum
1/2 oz coconut rum
1/2 oz Cointreau
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T thyme-infused simple syrup*
dash of sparkling wine
*combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water and 6-8 springs of fresh thyme in sauce pan. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes. Cool completely before proceeding.
Combine all ingredients, except sparkling wine, in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into champagne glass, top with dash of wine, garnish with lemon twist and enjoy!