Ginuary: Experts share dos and don'ts to follow while trying your hand at infusions

18 January,2023 09:55 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Sukanya Datta

Raise a toast to Ginuary by trying your hand at infusions. Experts give us the lowdown on dos and don’ts

Infusion kits allow you to get creative with gin

Straight up, as a classic G&T, or in a complex cocktail - gin is clearly having its moment in India. The country*s gin market, valued at $914.7 million in 2020, is projected to hit $1,598.2 million by 2030, revealed a report by Allied Market Research. Holed up during the pandemic and without access to bar-style cocktails, discerning tipplers took to infusing gin at home, aided by a host of new desi gins on the horizon and DIY infusion kits available for delivery. More than two years on, the appetite for gin infusion is growing.

Seasonal berries lend a lovely tinge to the spirit

Flavour forward

Anjali Batra, co-founder, Food Talk India and one of the forces behind the Gin Explorers Club, which curates fun infusion kits, notes, "The easy nature of infusing gin, using simple things you have in your fridge or pantry, is what*s made it such a big trend." The process is a hit with mixologists too, who infuse gins to whip up cocktails. Infused gin enables experimentation and creativity, points out Vishal Tawde, bar supervisor at SAZ American Brasserie, BKC.

Black tea and cardamom infused gin Campari-sweet vermouth

But, what is gin infusion? The process involves taking any classic gin and infusing it with flavours by letting the ingredients sit in the bottle, explains Batra. "Infusions can be fast and slow, depending on the intensity of the flavours you are looking for and the kind of ingredients you*re using. Spices infuse faster, and fruits and other ingredients take a little longer. In principle, infusion is adding flavour to a classic juniper gin," she elaborates.

Look into your pantry

What can you infuse gin with? Just about anything in your kitchen. Tawde points to some ingredients - herbs, fruits, flowers, roots, teas or leaves. Batra loves to play with a mix of fruits and spices while embarking on slow infusion. "Vanilla pods are brilliant, citrus fruits like candied oranges work great; mosambi too. Berries are great for infusion and give them a stunning colour," she claims. Both experts prefer different kinds of teas for quick infusions. Drop a tea bag into a glass of gin for 10 seconds, and sip away. "I like using different kinds of tea, such as chamomile, Earl Grey or butterfly blue pea tea - which lends a beautiful presentation to your drink and also changes colour when it interacts with an acidic liquid," Tawde tells us.

Spices are great for infusion

A classic London dry gin is the best option for infusions, suggests Batra. Craft or flavoured gins already have a strong flavour personality, so, using them can leave you with a khichdi of flavours, she cautions. Tawde reminds us that gin infusions should be cold infusions - directly add the infusion ingredient into the spirit for a certain period of time, ranging from 30 seconds to two hours to 24 hours depending on the intensity you seek. "For infusing gin with fruits, we use a technique called sous vide. We pour the gin in an air-sealed bag with the chopped up fruits and give it a hot water bath. It works well with berries," Tawde shares.

Taste test

The mixologist advises us to look out for the botanicals mentioned on the label of the gin one is using. It helps select the ingredients that will complement the botanicals. "For instance, Greater Than has dehydrated orange in it as one of its botanicals, so you can use any citrus fruit to infuse the gin. It will enhance the flavour," he illustrates. It*s important to keep an eye on how long you*re infusing the gin. The proof is in the pudding, as always. "Taste and check whether it*s getting over-infused, especially when you*re using teas and herbs," he adds.

Vishal Tawde and Anjali Batra

Kits to DIY for

>> GEC*s infusion kits offer a fun combination of flavours.
Log on to: @ginexplorers-club on Instagram

>> From florified indigo to laidback scarlet, Otane provides different mixes, apart from an infusion bottle, strainer, tasting card, coaster, cloth bag, recipes and more.
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>> This kit comes with a video workshop.
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