DIY Infused Liquors make for a fantastic holiday gift for a host/hostess, friend, family member or really any other adult in your life. In this post, we'll teach you how to make a few different infused liquors. We're also sharing some of our favorite flavor infusions for vodka, tequila, rum & more.
Over the last few years, we've gotten really into mixology and craft cocktails. We love experimenting with different liquors, simple syrups, fruits, bitters, etc.
If you know our family IRL, we pretty much always have company. My parents have hosted countless full-blown, 60+ person parties, smaller dinner parties, holidays, and hundreds of weekend get-togethers. After hosting so many events, we've gotten pretty good at throwing together cocktails with whatever we have on hand.
In more recent years, we've gotten extra ~fancy~ and started experimenting with infusing various liquors and simple syrups. For my wedding last year, we made huge batches of homemade infused vodka and tequila for my signature cocktails. They were a huge hit - some of my friends were even taking straight-up shots of the jalapeño infused tequila! (Yes, it was a very fun wedding.)
In addition to majorly improving just about any cocktail, homemade infused liquors also make for a great DIY holiday gift. Any host/hostess, family member, friend or coworker will surely appreciate the originality and effort!
The flavor combinations are really endless, but we do have a few favorites we're sharing in this post. They include Strawberry Vanilla Bean Vodka, Pineapple Infused Rum, Cinnamon Cranberry Orange Whiskey, Jalapeño Infused Tequila and Ginger Lemon Cardamom Gin.
The whiskey is a particular favorite for Christmas - it's so festive! We also recently made this apple pear infused vodka. It's perfect for fall cocktails!
How to Infuse Liquor
Infused liquor may sound complicated, but it really couldn't be easier. In fact, it only requires about 20 minutes of hands-on time, including the gift wrapping!
Step 1: Choose your Liquor and Flavorings
The first and most obvious step is to choose your infusion. Most common liquors, like vodka, tequila, rum, whiskey and gin, are all great choices. More complex liquors, like mezcal, aren't as easy to work with.
Vodka is my favorite option - it's essentially a blank canvas that can take on any flavor combination. If you're not a fan of vodka, tequila and rum are easy to start with, too.
When it comes to choosing flavors to infuse, think about your favorite cocktails involving that liquor. Rum, for example, is often used with tropical flavors like pineapple, mango, guava, etc. Whiskey, on the other hand, often calls for warmer flavors like cinnamon, anise, orange and vanilla.
You can infuse liquor with just about anything - fresh fruit, herbs, spices, dried fruit, and anything else your heart desires. It's best to stick with just a few complementary flavors - don't overdo it with too many ingredients. Here's a breakdown of the ingredients we used in these infusions:
- Vodka + Fresh strawberries + Vanilla Bean
- Tequila + Jalapeño + Lime
- Gin + Fresh Ginger + Lemon + Cardamom
- Rum + Fresh Pineapple
- Whiskey + Cranberries + Orange + Cinnamon
It doesn't have to be complicated. The pineapple infused rum (just 1 ingredient!) is actually my favorite - it's SO good in tropical cocktails!
Step 2: Start your infusion
All you need to get started is a bottle of liquor, your flavorings of choice, and a clean glass jar with an airtight lid. Since most bottles of alcohol have small spouts, you'll have to infuse in a separate jar.
We find that quart-sized mason jars work really well. They have an easy-to-seal lid, and they're cheap and easy to find online or in stores.
If you're using fresh fruits, wash and dry them before adding to the jars. The amount depends on the infusion. If you're infusing liquor with fruit, you can add a lot, but go easy on the spices and herbs, which tend to impart stronger flavor. Of course, if that's what you're going for - that's perfectly fine! But too much ginger or cinnamon can be pretty overwhelming.
Unless you're totally confident about how much to add, I'd suggest consulting a recipe first. A quick google search should answer most of your questions!
Add the ingredients to the jar, then fill the jar with your liquor of choice. Seal the jar with an airtight lid and store in a dark, cool place until it's ready to strain.
How long should I infuse liquor?
Again, this really depends on the ingredients/type of liquor.
For something like strawberry infused vodka, you can leave it to infuse for up to a week. In fact, the longer you infuse it, the better it will taste! Last year when we made it for the wedding, we ended up leaving it for about a week and it smelled more like syrup than vodka. So good!
For something like jalapeño infused tequila, however, less than 24 hours will do the trick. In fact, if you're heat-sensitive, 10-12 hours is plenty. We use this same rule of thumb for infusions made with lots of herbs or spices.
If you're not sure, open the jar after 24-48 hours and give it a smell. If it's very fragrant from the infusion, it's probably good to go. If not, let it infuse for another day or two and check again. As a general rule of thumb, 3-5 days is the perfect amount for most infusions.
And don't worry - even if you're using fresh fruit, you don't have to worry about anything going bad. The alcohol prevents any mold from growing on the fruit, so even after you strain it, you can keep it for years.
Step 3: Strain and store your infused liquor
To strain your infusion, pour the liquor through a fine mesh sieve into a wide-mouth jar, measuring cup or glass bowl. If the infusion contains fruit with seeds/pulp (like strawberries), line the sieve with a cheesecloth to remove as much sediment as possible.
Discard the fruit/infusion ingredients. Clean the glass jar you used for the infusion and return the infused liquor to the jar. Seal and store in a dark, cool place. It will last indefinitely, but we're willing to bet you'll get through it pretty quickly!
How to use infused liquors
There are really no rules when it comes to using your DIY infusions. Add them to any cocktail for more flavor. You may even find you can use less sugar than usual, especially if it's a fruit-infused liquor.
Here are a few quick ideas using our infusions:
- Use jalapeño-infused tequila in these Frozen Watermelon Margaritas or these Pineapple Jalapeño Margaritas
- Use strawberry vanilla bean infused vodka in a Moscow Mule or Strawberry Peach Sangria
- Use cranberry orange cinnamon whiskey in this Cranberry Orange Whiskey Cocktail or this Hot Apple Cider Cocktail
- Use pineapple-infused rum in this Pineapple Coconut Rum Punch or this Long Island Iced Tea
- Spike homemade lemonade with lemon ginger infused gin
The possibilities are endless - we'd love to hear how you're using your infusions in the comments below!
Gift wrapping ideas
If you're gifting these DIY infusions, pick up a few cute glass jars, ribbons and gift tags for wrapping.
You don't have to gift an entire huge bottle. If you're packaging smaller gifts for hosts/hostesses, coworkers or other acquaintances, use a smaller jelly jar.
Tie festive ribbon or burlap around the jar and attach a gift tag. Be sure to write the ingredients on the gift tag, and even a few different ideas on how to use it. If you want to get extra fancy, you can even write out a full recipe - it's up to you!
That's it - your infusion is ready to go. The perfect gift!
For a larger gift, pair a bottle or two of your infused liquor with more cocktail-oriented gifts. Pair with your a few cocktail glasses, a cocktail shaker/other bar equipment, mixology cookbooks, unique ice cube trays or ingredients like bitters and shrubs.
Questions? Anything we missed? Leave your response below! We'd really love to hear about your favorite infusions. We also love to see your creations on Instagram – tag us at @crowded_kitchen so we can see what you’ve been making.Print
How to make Infused Liquors (5 Ways)
- Total Time: 72 hours 10 minutes
- Yield: 1 quart 1x
DIY Infused Liquors make for a fantastic holiday gift for a host/hostess, friend, family member or really any other adult in your life.
Strawberry Vanilla Bean Infused Vodka:
- 2 cups strawberries, washed and sliced
- 2 vanilla bean pods, split lengthwise
- 1 qt. vodka
- 1 small pineapple, cored and sliced into spears
- 1 qt. white rum
Jalapeño Lime Tequila:
- 2 small jalapeños, sliced into rounds
- 2 limes, sliced
- 1 qt. blanco (silver) tequila
Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Whiskey:
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- ½ cup fresh cranberries
- 1 orange, sliced into wedges (keep peel on)
- 1 qt. whiskey
Lemon Ginger Cardamom Gin:
- 2 inch piece peeled ginger, sliced into rounds
- 3 lemons, sliced into rounds
- Optional: 3-4 cardamom pods
- 1 qt. gin
Strawberry Vanilla Bean Infused Vodka:
- Wash and slice strawberries. Add to clean glass jar with vanilla beans, top with vodka and seal with airtight lid.
- Store in cool, dark place for at least 3 days, but up to a week. Strain into a measuring cup or glass bowl through a fine mesh sieve and discard strawberries and vanilla bean. You may need to strain a few times or use a cheesecloth to remove all sediment. Seal in clean jar and store in pantry.
- Core and slice pineapple. Add to clean glass jar, top with rum and seal with airtight lid.
- Store in cool, dark place for at least 3 days, but up to a week. Strain into a measuring cup or glass bowl through a fine mesh sieve and discard pineapple. You may need to strain a few times or use a cheesecloth to remove all sediment. Seal in clean jar and store in pantry.
Jalapeño Lime Tequila:
- Slice jalapeños and limes. Add to clean glass jar, top with tequila and seal with airtight lid.
- Store in cool, dark place for at least 12 hours, but up to 48 hours. Strain into a measuring cup or glass bowl through a fine mesh sieve and discard jalapeños and limes. You may need to strain a few times or use a cheesecloth to remove all sediment. Seal in clean jar and store in pantry.
Cranberry Orange Cinnamon Whiskey:
- Add cranberries, orange and cinnamon sticks to clean glass jar, top with whiskey and seal with airtight lid.
- Store in cool, dark place for at least 3 days, but up to a week. Strain into a measuring cup or glass bowl through a fine mesh sieve and discard cranberries, oranges and cinnamon. You may need to strain a few times or use a cheesecloth to remove all sediment. Seal in clean jar and store in pantry.
Lemon Ginger Cardamom Gin:
- Add lemon, ginger and cardamom pods to clean glass jar, top with gin and seal with airtight lid.
- Store in cool, dark place for at least 3 days, but up to a week. Strain into a measuring cup or glass bowl through a fine mesh sieve and discard lemon, cardamom and ginger. You may need to strain a few times or use a cheesecloth to remove all sediment. Seal in clean jar and store in pantry.
Read full blog post for answers to FAQs.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 3 days
- Category: Cocktails
- Method: Infusion
Keywords: infused liquors
For the recipes you provided, what size jars did you use?
We used large 32 oz jars for making big batches, then we moved them to 16 oz jars for gifting.
I have a question really.
I've made a peach whiskey(jack Daniel's) and a fig whiskey(jack Daniel's) separately.
Could i mix them to create one infusion? Will i need to combine them or them back in the fridge to infuse more?
Sure, you could definitely combine! Have you already strained the fruit out of the alcohol? If so, then you can just combine and enjoy.
Rather than tossing the fruit, try feeezing it and adding back to the cocktail in place of or in addition to ice,
We recently got an Avid Armor Chamber vacuum sealer. We want to use it for infusing.
Are we looking at an hour instead of a day... or a few hrs instead of a week?
Hm, I haven't tried it with a vacuum sealer. When vacuum sealed, will it heat the liquid? If so, that would not be good for the alcohol.
Yes you can vacuum infuse and it's quicker too. Works great with fresh herbs and fruits. So does pressure used the opposite way i.e. a who cream siphon or keg. Sous vide for dried spices. Best of luck
I’m making 3 different flavors.
1st. Huckleberry vodka with lemon and mint.
2nd. Raspberry rhubarb vodka with lemon and mint
3rd. Strawberry rhubarb vodka with lemon and mint
Could you perhaps flameabe the fruit especically strawberries or cherries
I discovered your blog and I have always wondered how to infuse with flavor. Now I know 🙂 The question I have is about the fruit. Could you add simple syrup to it and put that in a glass container airtight of course place in the refrigerator for a few days and the sweetness would also infuse in the fruit and use the chilled fruit that way, after sweetening it could be frozen and used as garnish for whatever drinks you create? It would still have the the liquor plus be sweetened by the syrup. Or is that not possible?
I have only tried store bought infused alcohol before but your recipe's have inspired me to try my own and yours too of course I will let you know how I get on
Love these recipe ideas. Using for c-mas gifts. I want the jars to look like yours with the fruit. When I gift them will they have to strain it? or should I infuse and add a slice of fruit for presentation prior to gifting?
Hi! Such a great gift idea. Either option would be totally fine, but if you leave the fruit in I would just write a little tag on the bottle explaining that they will have to strain in xx amount of days.
My friend used some sour cherries to infuse some vodka. The result was that the vodka tastes terrible and you really can't taste the Cherry. I do not know how long they left it to infuse my question is can you back sweeten vodka?
You can probably add in some simple syrup to add sweetness. I would just refrigerate instead of storing at room temperature.
I have been infusing dried fruit & orange rind in wine for a few years & doing same with spirits. So far seems ok. Now I am told it should have sugar syrup to preserve. Confused.
Hi Carol, where did you find the information on needing sugar syrup? From our experience, that shouldn't be necessary.
Hi! Thanks for the info. Have you come up with anything to do with the leftover fruit? Seems an awful waste to just throw 2 cups of strawberries away.
Hi! Unfortunately not that I can think of. The fruit soaks up a TON of alcohol, so it's not very edible (And it's very strong!).
You could be creative and make an infused strawberry and cream sounds yummy just thinking about it.
Freeze the fruit and use as ice in the drink. I do it all the time. Super yummy.
Watermelon soaked in tequila and frozen is a fav summer treat.
Ooh I made Lemoncello by using 69% Neutral Grain alcohol, then adding five cups of simple sugar syrup, making it I’d say 30% Vol approx. Now I have some frozen berries in the freezer and I’m wondering if I could use these for the same process. My thoughts are frozen fruits ok to use?
That should be fine!
Have pure pasturized cherry juice from a British Columbia. Can I make a liqueur from that
Hello, I wondered if the quality of the spirit (vodka, rum etc) that you use initially is important? Looking forward to trying your recipes!
I would love a recipe for I can make a liquor. I have sugar and fruit like apple and oranges, honey, powdered sugar,corn, tomatoes grape and strawberry jam, raisins, just some simple quick recipes and techniques that would help me be more successful. Thank you so much
Can you over infuse vodka? If i were to put dried fruits in vodka and leave it a few months? could it over infuse and have a bad effect on the taste?
Hi Sam, it probably depends on the fruit. As a general rule of thumb, I'd say 1-2 months is plenty of time for an infusion and there's no need to go beyond that.
Yeah. I think 6 weeks is okay.
Very nice article. Any suggestions for infusing rice wine?
Great informative article! When you seal to store, do you need to boil like when canning veggies? Thanks! 🙂
Nope! As long as the jars are sanitized in hot water, you won't have to go through the canning process. Let me know if you have any other questions! 🙂
How much liquor (vodka, rum, Everclear etc) and proofs you do you need for using liquor in fruit juices. Then putting in a 4-8oz jar to be used as gifts or individual drinks. How long are they shelf-stable.
For the pineapple infused vodka, do I store in the fridge while it’s infusing or on the counter (cool and dark place)?
As long as the pineapple is completely submerged in the alcohol, it's perfectly fine to infuse at room temperature. Be sure to sanitize your jars ahead of time as well to prevent any mold growth.
I gave a 5 rating without even tasting yet. I have a jalapeno lime tequila infusion going right now. Looking forward to trying all recipes.