The days are shorter and the nights are colder so in the fall, entertaining is done a little bit differently. The all night outdoor parties are now around a fire pit or brought inside altogether. But this doesn't mean entertaining has to be boring!
When hosting a get together this fall, try something a little different. Instead of stocking the bar with top shelf liquors, make it personal with some unique and simple DIY infusions. Create days before the party begins in order to create personalized and fun cocktails. Infusions, or the process of soaking any combination of botanical ingredients in spirits, are a simple way to make all-natural flavored liqueurs not available in stores-- and there's no end to the creative possibilities! Herbs, spices and fruits are most commonly used for infusions. It's a great way to make your party different instead of serving the same old cocktails and, you can send guests home with these infusions packaged in a cute apothecary bottle or mason jar.
You can also dress up your drinks with unique garnishes, such as fresh cranberries skewered on toothpicks or cinnamon sticks. For the table, use brown craft paper that you can write on and indicate where your guests can go for the different flavor infusions and draw a line connecting the best food pairings for each flavor.
I had the pleasure of interview Mixologist Ted Kilgore, and he gave some awesome advice about fall entertaining and infusions.
GMG: WHAT CAN WE DO TO MAKE OUR FALL AND WINTER ENTERTAINING EASY AND UNCOMPLICATED?
TK: Prepare the day before. Chop, slice, set your table the day before so you can spend time with your guests. All you have to worry about is replenishing the dishes.
GMG: WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE WAYS TO INFUSE NEW FLAVORS INTO HOLIDAY BEVERAGES?
TK: Tea infusion. Chai makes an excellent infusion. Only takes an hour with evercler. Add water or simple syrup and you are good to go. Unique flavors for punch or coffee work great. You can give out as gifts also.
GMG: WHAT SEASONAL HERBS ARE GOOD FOR INFUSIONS?
TK: Rosemary is a great one. The infusion can take 24hrs – 48hrs. Use it as a spritizer with gin and it also blends well with bourbon, rum.
GMG: WHATS THE CRAZIEST INFUSION YOU’VE EVER MADE?
TK: Seasonal ingredients can be pretty intense. Cranberry, apple & cinnamon can be great. Chop the apple & add cinnamon sticks & cranberry with 10 ounces of Everclear. Its perfect for ham & turkey or holiday punches & cocktails.
Now who wants to come over and try some of my Everclear punch ;-)
**Special thanks to First Line Media and Ted Kilgore for the opportunity and information provided for this post