Strawberry Basil Infused Rum
- One 750 mL bottle of clear rum (doesn't have to be fancy or expensive, cheap rum will do)
- One large glass canning/preserving jar with an airtight lid (you want the kind with a glass lid and rubber ring -- I found these most easily at Ikea, fyi)
- One pint of strawberries (preferably local and in season, they taste better!)
- Several sprigs of fresh basil
- Coffee filters
- Mesh strainer
Rinse and hull the strawberries, then cut into halves (larger berries can be cut into quarters if you like). Place these into the canning jar.
Next, slowly pour the rum over the strawberries until it fills the jar and covers the berries completely. Seal the jar and place in a cool, dark spot. Do not place the jar where the sun will reach it. A closet, cupboard, or basement is great. Make sure you keep the original bottle the rum came in, you'll need it later!
Let the jar set for at least six to eight weeks, gently shaking or swirling it once every day or two.
After the berries have infused for six to eight weeks, take several sprigs of fresh basil (for example, I used sweet basil, lemon basil, and also pineapple sage), rinse and dry them, and add them to the jar. Let the herbs set in with the berries and rum for somewhere between 24-48 hours. You don't want to let the herbs steep too long or the rum will gain a bitter, grassy flavor. I suggest tasting a spoonful after the first 24-36 hours.
After the herbs have had time to infuse for a day or two, it is time to strain!
Top the original rum bottle with a funnel lined with a coffee filter. You may also use a mesh kitchen strainer above the funnel, to catch the berries. Carefully pour the contents of the jar through the strainer/funnel. At some point you will probably need to change out the coffee filter if it refuses to allow any more liquid through.
After the infusion has been strained, it's time for it to age a bit. I know you're probably getting impatient by this point, and all you want to do is guzzle the whole delicious-smelling bottle, but it's worth it, trust me! Aging allows the flavors to mix and mellow. Put the cap on the bottle and let it sit someplace dark and cool. I usually put it in the fridge for at least another month before drinking. At this point, you may also add sweetener if you like. I don't sweeten my infusions, but you may want to add a little sugar or agave syrup at the beginning of the aging period.
Enjoy with a sprig of fresh herbs, on the rocks or with club soda. Cheers!