One of the most appealing things about liquor is its ability to absorb flavors.
Whether bacon, fruit or oak, the process of infusion can make any run-of-the-mill vodka a taste sensation, given the right proportions and enough time.
While leather-infused bourbon may seem like an unapproachable or acquired taste (it does exist, for the record), you can never go wrong with a good old fashioned fruit infusion. Many drinkeries around the Baltimore area have their own varieties. In Federal Hill, Mother's Grille has the Summertime Infusion.
Head bartender "Queen" Colleen Broersma takes pride in making her infusion decanters beautiful, with layers upon layers of fruit. Each imparts an individual flavor to a potion that winds up being a refreshing — and customizable, depending on your mixer of choice — drink prime for outdoor sipping.
Blueberries, kiwi, oranges and strawberries soaking in Stoli Blueberry make the Summertime Infusion, well, especially summery. Smooth and mellow, with a topper of your choice (I went with soda water), these infusions are easy to suck down. Please drink responsibly.
As an added bonus, the Summertime Infusion gets better with age. Some infusions call for months of steeping, but the Summertime Infusion usually peaks around three weeks. It takes on a colorful hue, becoming a deeply fruity and alcoholic beverage. Queen Colleen often runs into the desirable problem of folks drinking the batches too quickly.
But personal tastes and sales numbers prevail, so if you're lucky enough to get an "old" batch of Colleen's infusions, chances are pretty high it'll pack a bigger punch than when it's freshly made.
While making a custom infusion of your own might be a bit cheaper at home, if you don't feel like chopping up a bunch of fruit by hand and waiting weeks for peak flavor, truck on down to Mother's and say hi to one of Queen Colleen's creations. Your taste buds will thank you.
How to make Queen Colleen's Summertime Infusion
1/2 lb blueberries
2 oranges, large
8-10 strawberries, large
Bottle of Stoli Blueberry Vodka
Cut or carefully slice all fruit into small pieces and, depending on presentation preferences, dump into glass container or layer attractively. Add Stoli Blueberry Vodka and allow 24 hours to infuse at a minimum — the longer the better.
Where to get Queen Colleen's Summertime Infusion
Mother's Federal Hill Grille
1113 S. Charles St., Federal Hill
$6, $4 happy hour (2 p.m. -6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, all day Tuesdays)