For those of you who followed WellPreserved over the Holidays you may recall a post on infusing vodka. The idea was simple and we followed tested techniques. We were on a path to success.
And then I left the fruit in too long…
Despite warnings in all I read, I did not pull the apples and pears out in the recommended 24-26 hours. The fruit went brown and the liquid followed. The color isn`t the end of the world – in fact I like it. It`s lovely on the shelf – medicinal to the mouth.
Since this experiment started with almost a litre of vodka, this was an expensive flop. It was time for a rescue mission – all faith is not lost. I am pleased to say that while it was not ready for the Holidays, our infusion experiment is turning the corner towards success. We did some research, tweaked our recipe and it`s starting to taste fantastic.
Here`s what we`ve learned about `saving`an infusion that was left too long:
- Don`t panic. Don`t throw it out. Keep calm. Carry on.
- Strain the entire lot through several layers of cheesecloth to remove any solids. This worked well and lowered the bitterness from battery acid to that of a 9-volt battery. Progress but not success.
- Wait patiently. Like preserves, taste can change over time. It will likely get milder over a 30-day period. I`ve been tasting it weekly and it`s calming down.
- Dilute with more vodka. An obvious remedy that I would have missed.
- As a measure of last desperation, mix in sugar – I would create a simple syrup (water and sugar) to mix at the last-minute.
We tried a combination of things:
- Strain it.
- Mix the two infusions together.
- Add vanilla bean to infuse a smoother, sweeter undertone. We left it in for a long time (about 7 days). The beans will be used with ice cream.
- Wait 30 days and see if it needs further tinkering.
Our tipple on New Years Eve was tough to swallow. A small sample last night showed clear progress is happening – it`s not a struggle to force back and, in fact, tasting smooth and special. I think we are headed in a great direction here.
Our future infusions (starting soon) will be done in smaller quantities and will risk under-infusing as opposed to soaking for too long. We could always add a second batch of apples to continue a mild infusion if we wanted more flavor. Just like cooking, it is easier to add more flavor than remove it after all.