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10 Secrets to Perfect Liquor Infusions

10 Secrets to Perfect Liquor Infusions

Industry insider tips from New Leaf Restaurant & Bar's Mark Comer.

Maryse Chevriere

Recipes that call for ingredients like "bacon-infused bourbon" and "housemade tangerine and serrano vodka" needn't send novice home bartenders running. Liquor infusions are not just a hat trick reserved for experienced and creative-minded mixologists. Just ask Mark Comer, bartender at New York's New Leaf Restaurant & Bar.

His biggest piece of advice for first-timers? "Don't be intimidated." The process is meant to be fun, and experimentation is key. He shared that in the two years he had been infusing alcohol he'd only botched one batch out of dozens. "Most likely, the worst case scenario is not quite getting the flavor you had hoped for. So either infuse it again, or make a drink with ingredients that will make your so-so infusion part of an outstanding cocktail."

OK, so the pressure's off — he admits that things rarely turn out exactly the way you would expect — but how about a few helpful industry insider tips? We got Mark to share his top 10, from the more obvious ("start by listing your favorite flavors") to the wisdom that only comes with experience ("go easy on the cloves when you use them").

10 Secrets to Perfect Liquor Infusions Slideshow.

Already an expert at DIY liquor infusions? Share your tips and experiences with us in the comments below!


  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce oolong tea-infused ruby port*
  • 1/2 ounce cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle**
  • 1 tsp Fernet-Branca
  • lemon peel
  • Garnish: Luxardo maraschino cherry

Add all ingredients except tlemon peel to a mixing glass and fill with ice.

Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass.

Express lemon oils over cocktail and discard the peel.

*Oolong tea-infused ruby port: Steep loose tea (the author uses Wuyi Oolong tea and a small amount of rooibos tea) into Graham's 6 Grapes port. For every 20 ounces of port, add 8 ounces of dry oolong tea and 1 ounce of rooibos. Let steep for about 18 minutes.

**Cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle: Add a crushed (green) cardamom pod to each ounce of liqueur and let steep about 25 minutes. You may wish to taste it as it infuses, as cardamom pods can vary in strength.


  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce oolong tea-infused ruby port*
  • 1/2 ounce cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle**
  • 1 tsp Fernet-Branca
  • lemon peel
  • Garnish: Luxardo maraschino cherry

Add all ingredients except tlemon peel to a mixing glass and fill with ice.

Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass.

Express lemon oils over cocktail and discard the peel.

*Oolong tea-infused ruby port: Steep loose tea (the author uses Wuyi Oolong tea and a small amount of rooibos tea) into Graham's 6 Grapes port. For every 20 ounces of port, add 8 ounces of dry oolong tea and 1 ounce of rooibos. Let steep for about 18 minutes.

**Cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle: Add a crushed (green) cardamom pod to each ounce of liqueur and let steep about 25 minutes. You may wish to taste it as it infuses, as cardamom pods can vary in strength.


  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce oolong tea-infused ruby port*
  • 1/2 ounce cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle**
  • 1 tsp Fernet-Branca
  • lemon peel
  • Garnish: Luxardo maraschino cherry

Add all ingredients except tlemon peel to a mixing glass and fill with ice.

Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass.

Express lemon oils over cocktail and discard the peel.

*Oolong tea-infused ruby port: Steep loose tea (the author uses Wuyi Oolong tea and a small amount of rooibos tea) into Graham's 6 Grapes port. For every 20 ounces of port, add 8 ounces of dry oolong tea and 1 ounce of rooibos. Let steep for about 18 minutes.

**Cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle: Add a crushed (green) cardamom pod to each ounce of liqueur and let steep about 25 minutes. You may wish to taste it as it infuses, as cardamom pods can vary in strength.


  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce oolong tea-infused ruby port*
  • 1/2 ounce cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle**
  • 1 tsp Fernet-Branca
  • lemon peel
  • Garnish: Luxardo maraschino cherry

Add all ingredients except tlemon peel to a mixing glass and fill with ice.

Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass.

Express lemon oils over cocktail and discard the peel.

*Oolong tea-infused ruby port: Steep loose tea (the author uses Wuyi Oolong tea and a small amount of rooibos tea) into Graham's 6 Grapes port. For every 20 ounces of port, add 8 ounces of dry oolong tea and 1 ounce of rooibos. Let steep for about 18 minutes.

**Cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle: Add a crushed (green) cardamom pod to each ounce of liqueur and let steep about 25 minutes. You may wish to taste it as it infuses, as cardamom pods can vary in strength.


  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce oolong tea-infused ruby port*
  • 1/2 ounce cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle**
  • 1 tsp Fernet-Branca
  • lemon peel
  • Garnish: Luxardo maraschino cherry

Add all ingredients except tlemon peel to a mixing glass and fill with ice.

Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass.

Express lemon oils over cocktail and discard the peel.

*Oolong tea-infused ruby port: Steep loose tea (the author uses Wuyi Oolong tea and a small amount of rooibos tea) into Graham's 6 Grapes port. For every 20 ounces of port, add 8 ounces of dry oolong tea and 1 ounce of rooibos. Let steep for about 18 minutes.

**Cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle: Add a crushed (green) cardamom pod to each ounce of liqueur and let steep about 25 minutes. You may wish to taste it as it infuses, as cardamom pods can vary in strength.


  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce oolong tea-infused ruby port*
  • 1/2 ounce cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle**
  • 1 tsp Fernet-Branca
  • lemon peel
  • Garnish: Luxardo maraschino cherry

Add all ingredients except tlemon peel to a mixing glass and fill with ice.

Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass.

Express lemon oils over cocktail and discard the peel.

*Oolong tea-infused ruby port: Steep loose tea (the author uses Wuyi Oolong tea and a small amount of rooibos tea) into Graham's 6 Grapes port. For every 20 ounces of port, add 8 ounces of dry oolong tea and 1 ounce of rooibos. Let steep for about 18 minutes.

**Cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle: Add a crushed (green) cardamom pod to each ounce of liqueur and let steep about 25 minutes. You may wish to taste it as it infuses, as cardamom pods can vary in strength.


  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce oolong tea-infused ruby port*
  • 1/2 ounce cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle**
  • 1 tsp Fernet-Branca
  • lemon peel
  • Garnish: Luxardo maraschino cherry

Add all ingredients except tlemon peel to a mixing glass and fill with ice.

Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass.

Express lemon oils over cocktail and discard the peel.

*Oolong tea-infused ruby port: Steep loose tea (the author uses Wuyi Oolong tea and a small amount of rooibos tea) into Graham's 6 Grapes port. For every 20 ounces of port, add 8 ounces of dry oolong tea and 1 ounce of rooibos. Let steep for about 18 minutes.

**Cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle: Add a crushed (green) cardamom pod to each ounce of liqueur and let steep about 25 minutes. You may wish to taste it as it infuses, as cardamom pods can vary in strength.


  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce oolong tea-infused ruby port*
  • 1/2 ounce cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle**
  • 1 tsp Fernet-Branca
  • lemon peel
  • Garnish: Luxardo maraschino cherry

Add all ingredients except tlemon peel to a mixing glass and fill with ice.

Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass.

Express lemon oils over cocktail and discard the peel.

*Oolong tea-infused ruby port: Steep loose tea (the author uses Wuyi Oolong tea and a small amount of rooibos tea) into Graham's 6 Grapes port. For every 20 ounces of port, add 8 ounces of dry oolong tea and 1 ounce of rooibos. Let steep for about 18 minutes.

**Cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle: Add a crushed (green) cardamom pod to each ounce of liqueur and let steep about 25 minutes. You may wish to taste it as it infuses, as cardamom pods can vary in strength.


  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce oolong tea-infused ruby port*
  • 1/2 ounce cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle**
  • 1 tsp Fernet-Branca
  • lemon peel
  • Garnish: Luxardo maraschino cherry

Add all ingredients except tlemon peel to a mixing glass and fill with ice.

Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass.

Express lemon oils over cocktail and discard the peel.

*Oolong tea-infused ruby port: Steep loose tea (the author uses Wuyi Oolong tea and a small amount of rooibos tea) into Graham's 6 Grapes port. For every 20 ounces of port, add 8 ounces of dry oolong tea and 1 ounce of rooibos. Let steep for about 18 minutes.

**Cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle: Add a crushed (green) cardamom pod to each ounce of liqueur and let steep about 25 minutes. You may wish to taste it as it infuses, as cardamom pods can vary in strength.


  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce oolong tea-infused ruby port*
  • 1/2 ounce cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle**
  • 1 tsp Fernet-Branca
  • lemon peel
  • Garnish: Luxardo maraschino cherry

Add all ingredients except tlemon peel to a mixing glass and fill with ice.

Stir, and strain into a chilled cocktail or coupe glass.

Express lemon oils over cocktail and discard the peel.

*Oolong tea-infused ruby port: Steep loose tea (the author uses Wuyi Oolong tea and a small amount of rooibos tea) into Graham's 6 Grapes port. For every 20 ounces of port, add 8 ounces of dry oolong tea and 1 ounce of rooibos. Let steep for about 18 minutes.

**Cardamom-infused Amèr Nouvelle: Add a crushed (green) cardamom pod to each ounce of liqueur and let steep about 25 minutes. You may wish to taste it as it infuses, as cardamom pods can vary in strength.