Gourmet Veggie Mama

Tag Archives: Infusing

Black Magic Kombucha Cocktail

Let’s continue with this fermented foods theme, shall we? I recently had kombucha (fermented tea) for the first time, and I was blown away by how good it actually tastes. I always figured it was something hippies drank for the health benefits, and never mind the taste, but I am a convert now.

So, why not take something so healthy and mix some booze with it? It’s already fermented anyway — I’m just taking it up another notch. I’m definitely not the first one to have this idea (check out this list of kombucha-based cocktails), but a good idea it is.

black magic cocktail

Kombucha tends to be mixed with ginger anyway, so, naturally, I thought I’d pair it with my very own ginger-infused vodka. I figured ginger kombucha (though it is my favorite by itself) would be a bit too much ginger all at once, so I went with a blackberry, raspberry and ginger blend (called Black Magic) from Austin-based Kosmic Kombucha instead. It was lovely, and even my kombucha-loathing hubby admitted it was pretty good. Cheers!

Black Magic Kombucha Cocktail
  1. Fill a shaker with ice and shake the vodka until very cold. Strain into a cocktail glass.
  2. Top the glass with the kombucha. Sip and enjoy!


Gingersnap Martini

A couple of weeks ago, I got a yen to try infusing some ginger vodka. I had planned to make some sort of ginger liqueur for quite some time, but it hadn’t worked its way to the top of my to-do list, so I decided to just mix some crystallized ginger and some vodka together and see what happened. I was banking on the sweetness from the candied ginger being just enough to make the infused vodka pleasantly sweet, but not sticky. I used purchased crystallized ginger from bulk foods section, and minced it so that the ginger’s potency would really come through.

After 2 weeks, my ginger vodka was perfect, and I was ready to test-drive it in a cocktail. It really didn’t need much — it was delicious as a sipping drink by itself — but with Christmas right around the corner, I couldn’t resist concocting a boozy version of a gingersnap.

Gingersnap martini


It took a little trial and error, but I perfected it. If you don’t happen to happen your own ginger-infused vodka on hand, you could always use regular or vanilla vodka and ginger liqueur instead.

Cheers, and Merry Christmas!

Gingersnap Martini
  • 3 oz ginger-infused vodka
  • ½ tsp molasses
  • dash cinnamon
  • dash allspice
  1. Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass and enjoy!


P.S. I am trying out a new recipe plug-in. Let me know what you think! The main improvement is that there’s a link to a printable version.


Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Coffee Bourbon Sauce

I am on a bread pudding kick lately. I dabbled in savory bread pudding recently, but, of course, with my sweet tooth, bread pudding is almost always a dessert. Preferably with chocolate.

I sent the hubby out to do some last-minute Thanksgiving shopping, and, since I make my shopping lists for my own reference, it was no surprise that he read “chocolate chips” and brought home a bag of semisweet chocolate chips. However, since I was planning to make White and Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding, what I really needed was a bag of white chocolate chips, too. At least he got the right brand (Ghirardelli, for the record) — I give him bonus points for that!

In light of our scaled-back Thanksgiving, I opted not to make the bread pudding after all, but since I had all the ingredients, I ended up making a new version of a few days later.*

* Yeah, gotta get that sweet tooth under control. When the pie ran out, I was jonesing. I feel another sugar detox coming on… but not until after the holidays are over!

This time, I used all semisweet chocolate instead of half white chocolate, and made the sauce with the remains of my precious coffee bourbon.

chocolate chip bread pudding with coffee bourbon sauce

Yes, please.

It was absolutely delicious, and the coffee bourbon really put it over the top. I think it’d work just fine with regular bourbon, but I need to get started on infusing more anyway. There are just too many delicious uses for it!

Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding with Coffee Bourbon Sauce
For the sauce:
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • ½ cup coffee bourbon
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp water
For the bread pudding:
  • 1 loaf of French bread with crust (about 12 oz), cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup plus 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups cream, divided
  • ½ cup whole milk
For the sauce:
  1. Bring the cream, coffee bourbon, sugar and vanilla to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring frequently.
  2. Mix the cornstarch and 2 tsp water in a small bowl to blend, then whisk into the cream mixture.
  3. Boil until the sauce thickens, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes.
  4. Cool, then cover and refrigerate until cold, about 2 hours.**
For the brad pudding:
  1. Combine the bread cubes and chocolate chips in a large bowl and toss to blend.
  2. Beat the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla in a stand mixer to blend. Gradually beat in 1½ cups of the cream and all of the milk.
  3. Add the cream mixture to the bread mixture and stir to combine. Let stand 30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease or spray a 13×9 baking dish with vegetable oil.
  5. Transfer the bread mixture to the prepared dish, spreading evenly. Drizzle with the remaining ½ cup cream. Sprinkle with the remaining 2 Tbs brown sugar.
  6. Bake until golden and set in center, 50 to 60 minutes. Cool slightly.
  7. Drizzle slices of the bread pudding generously with the sauce and serve warm.
** Can be made up to 3 days ahead. Keep refrigerated.


Espresso Martini

Tonight I decided to combine a couple of my own infused liqueurs — coffee bourbon and vanilla vodka — to make a new cocktail. Actually, this is based on a recipe I once got off the label of a bottle Starbucks coffee liqueur, which became one of my favorite winter cocktails. It’s something you can sip by the fire, but it’s not too over-the-top, like a hot buttered rum (although, man, those are tasty).

espresso martini

Espresso machine not required.

After just a little tweaking, it was perfect… although I think next time I’d use Kahlúa instead of wasting any of my precious coffee bourbon on anything other than a coffee bourbon milkshake. Cheers!

Espresso Martini
Serves: 1
  • 2 oz vanilla vodka
  • 1 oz coffee liqueur, such as Kahlúa
  • ½ oz simple syrup*
  1. Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a martini glass.
* To taste; this will depend on how sweet your vanilla vodka is to begin with. Since I made my own and added very little sugar to the infusion, mine needed a bit more sweetness. if you use store-bought vanilla vodka and Kahlúa, you may not need to add any sweetness at all.


Grown-up Dreamsicle

Hooray! It’s Cocktail Thursday and I actually feel halfway like having a cocktail tonight! In celebration, let’s crack open the vanilla vodka I’ve been infusing.

vanilla vodka

Bottoms up!

I like vanilla. I like vodka. But commercial vanilla vodka? Not my thing. It’s just too sweet and not “real”-tasting enough. So, inspired by Boozed + Infused, I decided to try my hand at infusing my own. I split 2 vanilla bean pods (from Penzeys, my favorite source for all things spice-related) and filled a quart Mason jar with vodka, adding about  teaspoon of sugar. i allowed the mixture to infuse for about a week, which was just the right amount of time to give it a nice, deep vanilla flavor without turning it into vanilla extract, and just a touch of sugar was all it needed.

Now, onto my second problem with vanilla vodka: Most of the cocktails you can make with it have obnoxious names, contain too much cream or are otherwise unacceptable. Never fear! I put on my thinking cap and came up with a cocktail worthy of a tasty, home-infused vanilla vodka.

Grown-up Dreamsicle

I’ll drink to that.

I love the combination of vanilla and citrus, so a dreamsicle-inspired drink was a natural choice. I did end up adding a little splash of cream to it, just because it kind of needed it to tie it all together, but you’ll hardly even know it’s there, promise.

I’ll be dreaming up a few more cocktails in which to use my delicious vanilla vodka in the near future (espresso martini, anyone?), so stay tuned!

Grown-up Dreamsicle
Serves: 1
  • 2 oz vanilla vodka
  • ½ oz Grand Marnier
  • splash of cream
  • orange slice for garnish
  1. Combine all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.
  2. Twist the orange slice over the glass and throw it on top as a garnish. Cheers!


Orange-Hibiscus Sidecar

As I mentioned, the ladies over at Boozed + Infused have inspired me to try a few liquor infusions recently. Our latest experiment (spearheaded by the hubby) was a trio of orange infusions: valencia orange brandy, naval orange brandy, and valencia orange vodka.

On their way to greatness.

For each of the infusions, we used 1 1/2 Tbs of zest per cup of liquor, and let it infuse for 5 days. We tested after 3 days and decided they could each use a little more time. After the flavors were perfect, we strained the zest out, and the only thing left was to figure out what delicious cocktails we could make with our newly infused liquors. Thus was born the orange-hibiscus sidecar.

Drink up.

I was inspired by Alicia’s recipe for a hibiscus sidecar, but I had to turn it a bit inside-out, since she used hibiscus-infused brandy for hers. I used my orange-infused brandy instead, and added a float of hibiscus tea.

My secret ingredient.

The result was delicious. Look for more creative cocktails soon using our orange infusions. Cheers!

Orange-Hibiscus Sidecar

3 oz orange-infused brandy
1 1/2 oz Grand Marnier or Cointreau
1 oz fresh lemon juice
a cup of hibiscus tea, brewed double-strength

Combine the brandy, Grand Marnier or Cointreau, and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake well and strain into cocktail glasses. Using the back of a spoon, float a couple of spoonfuls of the tea on top of each glass. Makes 2.


Come check out my guest post over on Boozed + Infused. I infused a Hatch chile tequila and made my own version of the New Mexican Martini.


Besides, if you haven’t discovered Boozed + Infused yet, it’s time! They inspired me to try infusing several liqueurs, and I even have a couple going right now.

Cheers, and happy weekend!

Coffee bourbon milkshake

Yes, you read that right. I am featuring a grown-up milkshake on this fine Cocktail Thursday. I have never in my life had a more delicious milkshake. This, my friends, is the drink that really made coffee bourbon pay dividends.

Yes, please.

It’s more than a little ironic that I am posting this now, since I have sworn off processed sugar for a month, but a girl can dream, can’t she? Besides, I first made it a few weeks ago, but I thought it was a more appropriate drink to feature in fall. Then I made it again. And again.

This milkshake is perfectly dreamy right out of the blender, but it’s even better if you freeze it for a little bit first. It will firm up a bit, but it won’t completely freeze because of the alcohol content. However you enjoy it, definitely use a top-quality ice cream — it makes a difference. This is one reason I’m happy to be back in Texas: Blue Bell!

Coffee Bourbon Milkshake
Based on this recipe from Boozed + Infused

2 cups vanilla ice cream
3 oz coffee bourbon

Combine the ice cream and coffee bourbon in a blender and blend until well-combined and creamy. Serve in a martini glass, or freeze for a couple of hours (or more) before serving, until it reaches the consistency of soft-serve ice cream.

Coffee bourbon… and a couple of experiments!

Alicia from Boozed + Infused inspired me to try infusing some coffee bourbon a while back. Following her instructions, I crushed up some coffee beans, split a vanilla bean, added a little brown sugar, and let it all stew with some bourbon in a mason jar for 3 weeks.

Waiting patiently…

Finally, after all that waiting, it was time to sample the goods.

Bottoms up!

The product was delicious all by itself. The flavor of bourbon, coffee, and vanilla, with just the tiniest hint of sweetness, blended perfectly. Other then infusing some pineapple vodka way back in the day, this is my first infusion, and I’m so glad I tried it. I think it might make me infusion-happy… so look for more creative cocktails to come!

The hubby and I couldn’t agree on what cocktail to try first, so we decided to go head-to-head. I went super-simple with a bourbon “latte” martini — just the coffee bourbon and a splash of cream.

Want some booze with your coffee?

The hubby decided to go classic with a Black Russian (cousin of the White Russian).

Sporting some logo gear from his trip to Kentucky bourbon country…

Although I enjoyed my martini, I have to say, his Black Russian won the day. The vodka mellowed out the strong flavor of the coffee bourbon and made it more drinkable. Regardless, both were excellent drinks, so I’ll share both recipes with you today — a Cocktail Thursday two-fer!

Watch out, though, because what I really want to try is a coffee bourbon milkshake. I have a feeling that will be the hands-down winner!

Bourbon Latte Martini

1 1/2 oz coffee bourbon
1/2 oz cream
chocolate shavings for garnish

Combine the coffee bourbon and cream in shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously until cold. Strain into a cocktail glass and garnish with chocolate shavings.

Bourbon Black Russian

2 oz vodka
1 oz coffee bourbon

Combine the vodka and bourbon in a rocks glass over ice. Stir well and serve.

Carrot-ginger martini

Wait, what? A carrot martini? Seriously? That sounds almost… healthy.

Yep, you read that right. I was inspired by the gals over at Boozed + Infused (and also by a glut of carrots just sitting in my fridge, just begging to be put to good use) to infuse my own carrot vodka. I figured, why not? This has to be one of those things that tastes better than it sounds, right? It was.

What’s up, doc?

The carrot infused vodka is not something I’d drink by itself, but it’s earthy with just a hint of sweetness. Add some crystallized ginger and a sugared rim, and it makes a lovely cocktail. The hubby thought it tasted vaguely Asian, so I’d definitely pair this with a stir-fry or something. Drink up!

Carrot-Ginger Martini
Based on this recipe from Boozed + Infused

2 oz carrot-infused vodka*
2 tsp chopped crystallized ginger, divided
Baker’s sugar

Place vodka and 1 tsp of the ginger in a shaker filled with ice. Rim a martini glass with sugar and add the remaining ginger, along with a carrot curl from the vodka. Shake the vodka and ginger until very cold and strain into the prepared glass.

* Briefly, peel 3 or 4 carrots (depending on size) and shave them into curls. Put the curls in a mason jar, fill with vodka, seal, and let it sit for at least a week. Here’s a more detailed how-to from Boozed + Infused.

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