Infuse It! (Apple Schnapps & Pepper Sauce)

Every holiday season I make up a TON of infused alcohols and homemade liqueurs. There are many, many benefits to homemade flavored cordials. The biggest reason I love making homemade flavored alcohols is the difference in cost, and the quality control. In addition to simply being cheap, it’s ridiculously easy to do and you can make an endless variety of flavors. I love giving home preserved goods, and of course home brewed mead or beer. Flavored liqueurs are incredibly easy and you don’t need to commit to buying any special equipment to make it. With a $12 bottle of vodka and some fresh or even dried fruit you can make a wondrous creation to share with your loved ones. (sharing is optional) Packaged fancy, or simple as can be, homemade anything sets the scene for a wonderful holiday meal. In the past I’ve purchased nice jars with gaskets, I’ve used 750ml glass vodka or wine bottles, (with screw on lids and handmade labels) but most often I just shove the booze back in the container it came in. Its nice to give a pretty jar but honestly, I can’t stand to keep buying them. If your setting out to impress, go ahead pretty things are nice! I’ve seen so many lovely packaging ideas on pinterest and around the blogosphere. In my house for gifting, I just go the simple route. Mason Jar + Booze or goods = Done.  

Orange & Jalepeno Vodka, Apple Schnapps, Home brewed Mead & Beer,
Front: Honey Vodka & Spiced Liqueur

So if you can see beyond my lack of finesse, I assure you I do know what I’m talking about. I love my booze, and I love not going broke enjoying gourmet variations. I’ve made homemade not-khalua, Amaretto, cherry vanilla cordial, Honey Vodka, orange and jalapeno vodka, and of course an endless variety of fresh fruit cordials. With a large container or a variety of jars you add a basic ratio of 3 cups or one pound of fruit, 1 cup of sugar 1 liter of booze. You can sweeten it, or simply infuse it. For basic infusions just toss herbs, spices  and fruits or vegetables into a jar. Infused alcohols knock up your cocktails without spanking your budget. Mint & cucumber Mojitos, Basil & Habanero Bloody Mary’s, Bacon martini’s or even just a sip of schnapps. The world is yours to drink. These ideas are perfect for gifting, even better for drinking.

Homemade Apple Schnapps (with cinnamon)
Perfect when you have fresh un-pasteurized cider, and delightfully sweet apples. This is absolutely the most wonderful seasonal beverage to make if you are not into home brewing, but want something special. Extremely similar to apple jack or hard cider. The good news: Its extremely drinkable. The bad news: It is entirely drinkable. 
1 gallon vodka
2 cups sugar 
2 pounds ripe apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2-3 cups fresh apple cider
2-3 cinnamon sticks
Combine all ingredients in a large clean container. Place lid on tightly and shake vigorously. Shake once or twice a day every day for a week or two. (this dissolves the sugar) Allow the mixture to rest at least three weeks. (A month or two is better.)
To bottle: Strain apples and cinnamon from the liqueur. To clarify run through a strainer with coffee filters. Place in desired bottle and enjoy cold over ice or warm with cider or tea. 

You Might Also Like to Try any of These Ideas

Vodka- Apples, berries, limes, oranges, hot peppers, herbs (mint, sage, basil), spices (cloves, cinnamon) bacon… Yes I said bacon. Bacon martini anyone?
Natural Extracts- coconut, raspberry, vanilla, anise, strawberry 
Candy (Don’t judge me!) – skittles, peppermints, strawberry, butterscotch or any other hard candies
To Sweeten: Sugar, (any kind) Honey

Bourbon & Whiskey- vanilla, cinnamon, bacon, coffee, fresh peaches,
To sweeten: brown sugar, maple syrup (bacon & maple bourbon? Yes Please!)

Tequila- Habanero, jalapeno, pineapple, lemon, lime, orange
To Sweeten: Agave syrup, Honey

Dark or Light Rum- hot peppers, pineapple, mango, any tropical fruit
Light Rum- Cucumber, mint, rosemary (Think mojito on high)
To sweeten- Brown Sugar

Infused Vinegar-  It’s just as easy to infuse vinegars. Infusing oil is delightful however it is a little bit more tricky. (Certain combinations can go rancid.) To kick up your salads infuse vinegars. Try pepper, onion, garlic, rosemary, orange, lime, or herbs (Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, Mint)

Southern pepper sauce is probably the most popular flavored vinegar. It is a southern staple most often served on collard and mustard greens. Its extremely tasty with salads, or drizzled into any sauce as a finisher. Its easy peasy to make. Same process as infusing alcohols. Just take distilled white vinegar and clean jars, place peppers into the jar and cover with vinegar. Cap and store. Allow to rest 3-6 months. The pepper vinegar is incredible and the peppers are tasty too! (I used Thai Chili and Banana Peppers) 

For More Great Drink Recipes Check These Out!