It’s August! My birth month! The only month with no official federal holidays. At least not until I become so wildly (in)famous that they declare my birthday a federal day of remembrance for my greatness (or lack thereof). So in early honor of my future endeavors, this month’s Infusion Flavor of the Month (the FIRST in my ongoing series) is one of my favorite fruits and a staple of the tropics worldwide, Pineapple!
Often prized for their sweetness, pineapples can found in everything from smoothies to salsa to cakes. But the true value, in my opinion, is its simple complexity. More than just a tropical fruit, as it is often pigeonholed as, it plays very well with many earthy herbs (i.e. rosemary, tarragon, etc) and plays the perfect complement to heat/spice (cracked pepper, jalapeño, etc). Aside from it being one of my favorite infusion flavors, it was also my first infusion (outside of Skittles). Thus this seems a fitting place to begin, again…
½ a pineapple
Properly cut the ½ pineapple into small segments, removing as much of the outer skin as possible. Place the pieces into your Mason jar (or air tight container). Pour in up to 750mL of your spirit of choice. Make sure the pineapple pieces are completely covered by the liquid before you seal the jar. As usual, give it a quick swirl to unpack the fruit and set aside in a cool, dry place to infuse for 7 days. Starting on day 7 begin to taste test the infusion daily, and when it is to your liking, strain the fruit off and enjoy.
As usual, each particular spirit you choose will being a bit of a different nature to the infusion. Pineapple has grown very popular as a vodka infusion and obviously plays well as a rum infusion due to its tropical connections. However, when infused into tequila or bourbon, the true complexity of this infusion shines through (as will be noted in a few of our weekly cocktails this month). The latter two infusions need a bit more time to produce. Like Bourbon itself, aging adds a greater complexity, so 8 – 10 days usually produces a better quality outcome. Pineapple infused Tequila should sit for no less than two weeks and often benefits from a second batch of fresh pineapples to replace the first after a week; a second infusion if you will.