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Authors: Eric Prum,Josh Williams

Infuse: Oil, Spirit, Water

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Copyright © 2015 by Eric Prum and Josh Williams
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of the
Crown Publishing Group, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York.

CLARKSON POTTER is a trademark and POTTER with colophon is a registered trademark of Penguin Random House LLC.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Prum, Eric.
Infuse : water, spirit, oil / Eric Prum, Josh Williams.
1. Pickled foods. 2. Cooking (Oils and fats) 3. Cooking (Spices) I. Williams, Josh. II. Title.

TX805.P78 2015

eBook ISBN: 978-0-8041-8677-3
Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8041-8676-6

Book and cover design by W&P Design
Cover photograph by W&P Design

For more recipes and to purchase the tools used in
visit us online at


uring my time at the University of Virginia, a friend introduced me to Josh and Eric. Beyond a friendship that immediately blossomed over glasses of bourbon, a partnership among the three of us started to brew in the kitchen. When we met, Josh and Eric had just begun a catering company. Having recently created a catering venture of my own, I began working with them and started cooking for events from central Virginia to Washington, D.C. Josh and Eric focused their expertise on savories while I did desserts. It was a match made in heaven.

Catering with the guys taught me two major lessons. The first: If you commit to a 400-person party as your very first catering gig, ask for help (oh and try not to light your oven on fire halfway through the night). The second: Three individuals could come together to produce something greater than the sum of the individual contributions.

Infuse: Oil, Spirit, Water
embodies this second point. As a trained pastry cook, I learned that there are many occasions when a list of recipe ingredients can seem disjointed at first glance, but, when combined, these seemingly disparate elements can create something completely new and more complex. Josh and Eric have put together a book filled with recipes that transform simple, fresh ingredients into unique infusions that will help you develop and expand the depth of flavors in your own kitchen.

complements Josh and Eric’s cocktail knowledge showcased in their first full-length book,
Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails
, and highlights their understanding and passion for the culinary world outside of the cocktail glass. So pick up a few Mason jars and get to work. It is amazing what inspired ingredients and a bit of time can produce.

Elizabeth Tilton is professionally trained in pastry and has cooked at Sucré and Restaurant August in New Orleans, among other places. She is on the public relations and marketing team at Momofuku in NYC.

he story behind
begins one summer nearly a decade ago, the day we first made peach bourbon. We were awestruck. The combination of two basic ingredients, eight-year-old Kentucky bourbon and fresh, local peaches—and a handful of weeks had resulted in an amazing peach-infused bourbon that we couldn’t get enough of.

It seemed like alchemy, being able to transform two simple ingredients into such an utterly delicious new substance. The moment we tasted that liquid gold we knew we wanted to share this feeling of creative joy with others. Over the coming years we started incorporating infusions into our everyday cooking and entertaining, until it became second nature. Whether it was a spicy chili oil drizzled over homemade pasta, a Mason jar of roasted pineapple-infused mezcal passed around a “Friendsgiving” party, or a citrus-infused water stored in the fridge for an especially hot day, we couldn’t resist the 1+1=3 magic of infusions.

is the result of all those delightful experiments and a few more we’ve tinkered with at our Brooklyn workshop. Although spirits have always been our game, we’ve found that great infusions can derive from a variety of liquids. In this book, you’ll find three main types as we see them: oils, spirits, and waters. All three liquids have distinct characteristics that influence infusing times, temperatures, and ingredients, and all are equally exciting to us.

Our hope is that
inspires you to pick up some fresh ingredients and to experiment with your own infusions. If you experience anything close to the joy we felt that day so many years ago, jars full of peach bourbon and smiles on our faces, well, we’ll have succeeded in our mission.

We cover the fundamentals of how we infuse, including the tools we stock at home, the types of liquids you can use for infusions, the kinds of ingredients out there, and the role time plays in getting the flavors you’re after.

Oil infusions present salty, spicy, and herbaceous flavor possibilities. Infused oils can elevate any everyday dish, whether it’s a grilled pizza finished with chili oil from the spicy southern tip of Italy or a basic salad tossed with our essential vinaigrette (which we guarantee will upgrade your salads for all time).

As cocktail guys, we’re especially fond of infused spirits. Alcohol can be used in a wide variety of infusions, so we offer up our very favorite techniques and recipes: flash-infusing spirits with farmer’s market produce, crafting our version of a classic Italian liqueur, and creating the perfect Bloody Mary base that we keep on hand for whenever the mood strikes.

Though it doesn’t often get the credit it deserves, water is the most versatile liquid for infusions. We use this Swiss Army knife of a medium to make everything from cooling cucumber mint water, to soda syrup infused with sea salt and lime, to our take on a Vietnamese cold-brewed coffee. Read on, and get thirsty.



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