Bay leaf infused gin, which is the basis for this bay leaf infused cosmopolitan, might just be my newest favorite infusion. This recipe is part of the Food Advent Calendar “Spice it Up!“. When Jenny from Jenny is Baking was looking for contributions based on holiday spices, the first thing that came to my mind was bay leaves. Bay leaves are such a ubiquitous and underappreciated spice. I toss dry bay leaves into all manner of savory dishes. But for the holidays, I wanted to try something different to showcase bay leaves.
I really wanted to try this out with fresh bay leaves, but couldn’t find them in any of our local groceries. If I’d had more time, I would have tracked down a plant, because honestly, I suspect that a bay tree would probably grow pretty well on the Southern Oregon coast. That’s an experiment for another day. If you happen to have access to fresh bay leaves, I’m sure this would be as good with fresh as with dry.
I used gin for this infusion because I really like gin. I also spiced it up a little more by adding dried juniper berries, mandarin orange peel, and cranberries. The subtle spice of the bay leaves, especially coupled with the citrus and juniper berries is heavenly. I could easily use this infusion for a regular gin and tonic. But I wanted to do something just a bit more festive. So I opted to make a bay leaf infused cosmopolitan. Beyond the infused gin, this takes just a couple of ingredients: freshly squeezed mandarin orange juice and cranberry juice. Garnish with a bay leaf and call it a weekend. I especially love the dark red of this cocktail – this one is going on my list for holiday imbibing.
Definitely check out all the great recipes from the advent calendar. You’ll be inspired to spice up your holidays!
- 4 dry bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon juniper berries
- 1/4 cup cranberries
- Peel from one mandarin orange
- 2 ounces bay leaf infused gin
- Juice from one mandarin orange
- 2 ounces cranberry juice
- Combine all the spices and fruit in a jar. Cover with gin. Let infuse overnight. Strain into a clean jar through a coffee filter or cheese cloth.
- Combine all the ingredients with a few cubes of ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake. Strain into a martini glass. Enjoy!