Minnesotans anticipate the arrival of springtime far earlier than they do any other season. (Survive a few chilled-to-the-bone months in our frigid tundra, and it’s easy to see why!) Whether you celebrate the promise of more daylight by paging through seed catalogs or perusing CSA memberships, one thing is certain, it is always a time of optimism and creativity. What’s going on in the garden this year? How soon will it be warm enough to put my paddle board on the water? That enthusiastic spirit is alive and well here at Surdyk’s, as everyone in the Cheese Shop is excited about new items on the Spring Menu, and the wine staff is busy tasting candidates for the new “it” wine of the summer.
This is when I like to make liquor infusions. It’s amazing that something so easy can produce something so delicious. All you need is a spirit, a few simple ingredients, and a little patience, and you can transform the familiar into something completely surprising. Try one of these recipes, or let that enthusiastic spirit I mentioned take over and get creative on your own! After all, we do have to wait a bit longer before breaking out the flip flops.
Strawberry Mint Whiskey
- 1 cup of large strawberries, cut in quarters
- 1/2 cup mint leaves
- 1 750ml bottle of Panther Distillery Minnesota 14 Whiskey
Basil Grapefruit Vodka
- Zest of 2 large Grapefruits
- 1/2 cup basil leaves
- 750 ml Silver Vodka
For each recipe, combine ingredients into a Mason jar or similar container and let sit and warm room temperature for two to five days. Give it a good shake daily. Filter your creation after the desired infusion time (to your taste- the longer it sits, the more intensely flavored it will be.)
The jars also make for a great centerpiece while they infuse, especially during a spring party!
Try the Bail Grapefruit vodka with Q Ginger beer for an excellent twist on the Moscow Mule, or the Strawberry Mint Whiskey with crushed ice for a twist on the Mint Julep for the Kentucky Derby.