A Few Infusions for Margarita Day

Infused liquor is the latest buzz around foodie town and so for Margarita Day I thought I would try my hand at making some margarita infusions. I made a classic margarita and taste tested it against four differently flavoured infusions. Here’s how to do it yourself, along with the results of my own experiments. 

Infusing liquor is fun and a great way to add a dash of excitement to your cocktail experience. The basic concept of an infusion is to add a single flavor or a combination of flavours to a distilled spirit. Each of the margaritas I tried used tequila that had been infused with a different flavour.

Step 1: Choose your flavours

For my margaritas I obviously needed to use tequila. I chose a silver tequila over gold or black so that the flavour and colour of the infusion could come through more. Next I chose 4 flavours and a standard traditional margarita to test against. The flavours I chose were:

  • Pomegranate
  • Passion fruit
  • Coffee
  • Basil

Step 2: Prepare your equipment

You will probably have everything you need in your kitchen already but as a basic checklist you can follow this guide:

  • Distilled spirit of your choosing. (For margaritas tequila is the spirit of choice.)
  • A few airtight containers with lids.
  • Coffee filter and a strainer
  • Herbs, fruit or any other ingredient you want to use for flavour

Step 3: Prepare the ingredients

Most of the ingredients here were easy to prepare. The passion fruit and pomegranate just need to have the fruit’s flesh scooped out and placed into jars. The basil I washed and then crushed to release the flavours. For the coffee, I used a ground filter coffee wrapped in a coffee filter and tied up with a piece of string. If using fruit, chop it up into sizes that will fit into your jars and be sure to remove any skins or seeds that might make your infusion bitter.

I placed each of the ingredients into individual clean jars and measured out equal amounts of tequila into each jar. I then sealed the jars and left them in the fridge for two days. Depending on what flavour you use, your infusion time will vary. Here is a handy guide to give you an idea of how long to infuse different ingredients for.

Recommended infusion times:

  • 1 to 2 hours: Spicy flavours like chillies. Be careful not to overdo chillies as the infusion can become very strong very quickly.
  • 2 to 4 days: Strong flavours like basil, cinnamon, vanilla, lemon, lime, orange and mint.
  • 1 week: Mild flavours like apple, berries, melons, cherry, peach, and strawberry.
  • 2 weeks: Delicate flavours like pineapple, ginger, and lemongrass.

Step 4: Drain the infusion

Once your infusion has soaked up the flavour of the chosen ingredients, you need to strain the liquor. Use a strainer lined with a paper coffee filter to strain the liquor into another bowl. If you don’t have a coffee filter, a sieve or a tightly meshed colander will also work. Once strained, you can return the infusion to its original jar. Store the finished infusion somewhere dark and cool. You can keep your infusion for as long as you would normally store that type of alcohol so long as you haven’t added any extra sugar.

Step 5: Make the basic margarita mix

Now we need to make the basic margarita mix. This is a very simple process. First you will need some limes or lime juice. Next add sugar and water to a pot and put your lime juice in along with the rinds and bring to a boil. Once your mixture has come to the boil, take it off the stove and drain it.

You can then discard the lime rinds and allow the strained mixture to cool. You can find a full list of instructions and the recipe for an awesome margarita mix by following the link here: Classic Margarita cocktail recipe.

Step 6: Make the margarita

Once you’ve made your margarita mix, you can follow the method below while being sure to substitute your tequila for the infused tequila. For more detailed instructions on making the mix, check my Classic Margarita cocktail recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 25 ml Tequila
  • 25 ml Triple Sec
  • 35 ml margarita mix
  • Handful ice cubes
  • Salt to garnish glass

Instructions:

  1. Pour the flavoured tequila, Triple Sec and lime juice into a cocktail shaker. If you do not own a cocktail shaker, any durable jar or container with a lid will do.
  2. Add a handful of ice cubes and shake vigorously for 10-15 seconds.
  3. Dampen the edge of your glass with water and then dip in salt to frost the rim.
  4. Strain your cocktail into a glass be sure to not let the ice cubes fall in.
  5. Drink and enjoy.

The taste test results

Classic Margarita:

  • Colour: Beautiful light colour
  • Flavour: Sharp and a little sour but very refreshing
  • The verdict: You can never go wrong with a classic margarita. This was delicious
  • Stars: ****

Pomegranate Margarita:

  • Colour: Vibrant pink, absolutely gorgeous colour
  • Flavour: The pomegranate taste came through well and added a touch of sweetness while taking the edge off the lime. Very yummy!
  • The verdict: This was my favourite out of the flavoured margaritas. Definitely give this one a try.
  • Stars: *****

Passion Fruit Margarita:

  • Colour: Stunning bright sunshine yellow
  • Flavour: The passion fruit flavour was strong although I did feel that it tasted very similar to a passion fruit cordial or tropical fruit punch. It didn’t seem worth the effort to achieve this favour.
  • The verdict: Although this one was tasty it felt a little bit generic. It would be nice as a summer time day drink.
  • Stars: ***

Coffee Margarita:

  • Colour: Light brown, I was hoping the colour would come out a bit richer.
  • Flavour: This tasted very similar to coffee-flavoured tequilas such as Patron or Poncho’s. It had a very good flavour, though I thought it was a bit too sweet for a margarita.
  • The verdict: Definitely a yum one but not as exciting as I had hoped for.
  • Stars: ***

Basil Margarita:

  • Colour: The green colour I wanted didn’t really come through sadly.
  • Flavour: This has a distinct botanical taste but in hindsight I think I could have left this to infuse for longer than 2 days to really get the full flavour.
  • The verdict: This was very refreshing but lacked enough flavour to be interesting.
  • Stars: **

So now that you know how to make an infused margarita, I hope you celebrate your new-found skills with a beverage or two. I would love to hear your own ideas or see your versions of these cocktails. Happy Margarita Day!

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