When it comes to creating cocktails, polar opposites can be a source of inspiration for me. Over the last few years, lots of the drinks I’ve been served were bitter and brown. But what about the other end of the spectrum? Something light and fresh with a touch of sweetness?
Then I started thinking about how many whiskies and even cocktails can benefit from a splash of water. And while plenty of bartenders infuse alcohol with a variety of fruits, vegetables, and spices, why couldn’t you flavor the water instead? The experimentation commenced. I tried different ratios, infusion times, temperatures, and ingredient combos — everything from berries and lemon peel to celery and lemon verbena. The variations were seemingly endless. Fortunately, the end result was sophisticated and refreshing.
Infused H2O mixes well with a range of spirits, including vodka, gin, light rum, and even silver tequila. (A good ratio seems to be 1 to 1 ¼-ounces of liquor stirred with 3 ounces of water.) It’s simple and the perfect summer party drink, since it can be made ahead of time. I’ve also carbonated my flavored waters for a truly complex Vodka Soda. (To do this, you’ll need a device like iSi’s Twist ‘n Sparkle Beverage Carbonating System.)
At a recent soirée, I served a non-alcoholic, bubbly Cucumber, Clementine, and Mint Water. It was a hit, especially with non-imbibers. I hope my infusions will inspire you to start experimenting.
—Kathy Casey, Liquor.com