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19 Mar 2018 By

With a Few Fun Experimental Steps, You Can Make Your Home Cocktails a Lot More Interesting and Impressive. Here Are Some Spirits Techniques to Add More Oomph to Your Drinks.

With just a few simple spirits like gin, tequila, whisky* and rum, plus some vermouth, syrups and liqueurs, you can make dozens of basic cocktails at home quite easily. However, by adding a few fun experimental steps – stuff you can breezily prep at home – you can make your cocktails a lot more interesting and impressive. Here are some home spirits techniques to add more oomph to your drinks.




A simple process of adding leaves, herbs and fruits to your spirit and letting it sit. You can use tea leaves, mint leaves, berries or cherries. If you’re using tea or mint, don’t let it sit for more than a few hours or it becomes rather tannic. Gin (or vodka if handy) is a great spirit for infusion, and with all that extra unused mint leaves, you can make yourself a Mint Julep.

Tip: It’s easier to pour spirits into a glass container with leaves already in there, than trying to shove leaves into a spirit bottle. Fill the bottle of leaves to the brim for maximum infusion effect. For something different, use lingonberries from Ikea (but let it sit for at least 3 days).




You don’t need to own a distillery to barrel age stuff, you can use a smaller barrel and just do it at home, and in less than two weeks you’d have transformed your spirit into something unique (try adding a few dashes of bitters as well). When you barrel age, the spirit absorbs the characteristics of the cask, so you might get additional flavors of vanilla, oak, sherry or fruits. Best bit is, your whisky continues to age even as you extract a shot of it to make a Boulevardier: One part whisky, one part Campari, one part vermouth.

Tip: If you’re really serious about this, age all three Boulevardier ingredients separately in three different barrels. Buy from Proof & Company, which has Level 3 charred, 100% American oak barrels (2 litres for S$210 and 5 litres for S$300).

[ 13 Booze Hacks That’ll So Improve Your Drinking Life ]



bbq smoking

Now you get to play with fire! Smoking is basically adding smoke directly to a spirit or a cocktail for that leathery, torched flavour.

There are two ways to do this:

1) Smoking Gun. Make your cocktail and cover it with a large glass beaker or dome. Insert the smoking gun tube and fire away for a few seconds. Let the smoke sit for 10 seconds and you’re good to go. Or smoke directly into a bottle of whisky.

2) BBQ pit with lid. When there’s a BBQ going, put a glass container of gin (surrounded by ice so it doesn’t evaporate) by the non-fiery corner of the pit and shut the lid. Give it a few minutes and you’d have smoked gin, which makes a killer Gin and Tonic.

Tip: Keep children away and have an extinguisher or pail of water nearly. Keep dangling sleeves or loose aprons away. You can buy both the handheld smoking gun ($311) and torch ($25) at Sia Huat.



fat washing

This is a sort of infusion, but with animal fat (usually). To get the fatty substance, heat up bacon, duck fat or even sesame oil, and add it to a glass container of a spirit, and then chill the mixture. After the fat has solidified, pour and strain the spirit.

Tip: Chill your container upside down, so the solidified fat floats to the top (i.e. bottom of glass), making it easier to pour out. Glass containers can be bought at Ikea, Crate & Barrel, Muji – get ones that seal tight and with larger mouths for easier access.

At Jim Meehan’s famous PDT bar, the best seller is the Benton’s Old Fashioned, using Benton’s bacon infused with Bulleit Bourbon. Try it:

1 sugar cube or 1 teaspoon of maple syrup

2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters

60ml of your fat-washed bourbon

Either muddle the sugar cube with Angostura bitters (and add a small splash of soda water), or swirl a teaspoon of maple syrup with the bitters in a double rocks glass.

Add fat-washed spirit and oversized ice and stir well; garnish with a lemon or orange peel.

*For this story you can use whisky, rye or bourbon interchangeably, depending on your preference.

Many thanks to Meat Smith/Burnt Ends for the pointers.

All illustrations from The Noun Project.

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