Any cocktail bar worth its salt prepares its own infusions for its craft cocktails. Savory seasonings are added to a spirit and left to sit before being shaken or stirred into a custom libation. Think a refreshing cucumber-infused gin or a spicy black pepper vodka. Fresh fruits can make a spirit brighter and fresher.
Bars are experimenting with nearly every ingredient out there — herbs, fruits, vegetables, and … candy? Chicago’s Arbella created its Funky Chicken cocktail with a rye that it infused with Mexican lollipops. The experts behind the bar have crafted a beverage that hits all the notes: sour from lemon, sweet from the lollipop-infused rye, and salty and spicy from the Tajin-crusted rim.
To make the infusion, the bartenders toss eight of the sweets into a full bottle of rye and let the brew steep for only 20 minutes at room temperature or two hours chilled in the fridge. (A successful infusion doesn’t take as long as you’d think.)
Swing by this downtown bar or try whipping up an infusion at home.