Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Infusion #2: Strawberry Rum

You really have to feel sorry for strawberries. Much like limes, their flavor is one that very poorly translates into our modern world of processed foods and artificial flavors. Sure, you may enjoy those old strawberry candies or even that strawberry-kiwi drink from the soda machine, but those don't actually have a flavor like fresh strawberries. This is also mostly true of liqueurs and flavored liquors. Strawberry vodka is an abomination, as is the bottom shelf syrupy nonsense that you can sometimes find at your local liquor store. Long have I wanted an honest strawberry flavor in a spirit, and so that's what I set out to accomplish. It's quite easy, really.

A concoction that's been floating around for a while is the Tequila Por Mi Amante. It's basically a recipe for a strawberry-infused reposado tequila, and I've heard from several people that it's simply delicious. I chose to start there for my experiment, but used rum instead of tequila because, well, I know rum better than tequila, and frankly put, good rum is cheaper than good tequila.

I reached for the Cruzan Estate Light, like I always do. Its subtle but likable flavors are a good platform on which to build things. I poured about 500mL of the rum over top about 3/4 pint of fresh strawberries and 3/4 pint of organic frozen strawberries. (You just can't get sweet fresh ones in the spring here on the east coast.) I stored this mixture in small container and stashed it in the fridge, where I let it sit for a little over 3 weeks.

When I took it out and strained it, it was a tad bitter. I believe I should have removed the fruit earlier, but it still tasted good. I made a rich simple syrup and began to slowly add it to the rum in order to counterbalance the bitterness. Would it not have needed sugar if it infused for less time? I don't know, that's a question for another time.

In the end, I finished with a slightly sweet strawberry rum (not unlike the sweet flavored rums you can buy on the market) that actually tasted like it should, and has a beautiful almost-neon red color (though not as pretty as the cranberry rum). Its best application I found so far? In an aperitif glass over crushed ice with a lime wedge/twist.


  1. I agree with your comment on the strawberry vodka. What you need to do is look around for strawberry liqueur from a Italian company called Russo. This liqueur is made with grape as the alcohol base. The strawberry liqueur (ABV 32%) is beautiful. Russo also make a strawberry cream liqueur, which tastes like a strawberry milk shake, (ABV 20%). If you get a chance to taste the strawberry liqueur, you will be amazed.

  2. You can use gin to get a wonderful strawberry liquer - I generally add some refined white sugar to make it a sweet drink that can be used in trifles etc. You can get tipsy just licking the spoon but dont try the strawberries as the juniper is absorbed and they taste awful. Thanks for the headsup on vodka, will try a barcardi rum as a trial and go from there.