Wine & Spirits

Spring Infusions

Pineapple-infused Vodka
Photo by Caitlin Abrams

Spring brings a freshness that allows the cocktail scene to breathe a sigh of relief. We get excited about the creativity of spring flavors: the tartness of strawberries, rhubarb, and apricots along with fragrant herbs like mint, thyme, and basil, even sweet vegetables like snap peas and ramps.

You can easily bring these flavors home by infusing a vodka or gin with an herb, fruit, or vegetable dropped into an airtight jar left alone for a bit. I enjoy infusing rhubarb and strawberries into gin; a good one to use is Gordon’s. I use two cups of quartered strawberries and one cup of chopped rhubarb per liter bottle of gin. Leave it to marinate for four days in a cool, dark place like a pantry. After the “aging,” I mix two ounces of the infusion with a teaspoon of sugar and top it with soda water on the rocks for a refreshing light sipper. And don’t be afraid to use more interesting combinations at home, such as roasted sweet corn with bourbon or guajillo peppers in tequila for a mild spice option.

Don’t be surprised to see my favorite infusion of rhubarb and thyme with gin on my cocktail menu at Parlour Bar. I will also be using pickled ramps for bloody mary mix at Coup d’√Čtat’s brunch.

Jesse Held is the head barman for Jester Concepts.