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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012

Pecans can add warmth to cocktails


Pecans can add warmth to cocktails photo
Emma Janzen/American-Statesman
The Rainey Strett bar Icenhauers is known for infusions. For fall, bar manager Julie Campbell infused roasted pecans into bourbon for the Autumn’s Up cocktail.
Pecans can add warmth to cocktails photo
Emma Janzen/American-Statesman
Icenhauers bar manager Julie Campbell left roasted pecans in bourbon for three or four days to infuse the whiskey with fall nuttiness.

By Emma Janzen

American-Statesman Staff

Pecans shouldn’t be limited to use in savory dishes and desserts. You can also infuse the nuts into spirits like whiskey or rum for use in cocktails.

At Icenhauers, bar manager Julie Campbell infuses pecans in bourbon for the Autumn’s Up, which also features sweet vermouth and chocolate bitters. Campbell prefers a direct infusion over pecan simple syrup or commercial liqueurs because it injects “a lot more pecan flavor and a lot less sugar.”

Much like the classic Manhattan, whiskey provides the focal point for the friendly Autumn’s Up, but because the drink is shaken and served over ice, it’s significantly less intimidating than its bold cousin. The pecans contribute a warm, nutty dryness that evens out and boosts the whiskey’s inherent oak and vanilla flavors, and the chocolate bitters and vermouth add an additional complexity and slight sweetness.

Autumn’s Up

2 oz. pecan-infused Kentucky bourbon

Dash of chocolate bitters

1/2 oz. of sweet vermouth

Orange peel for garnish

Dash of cinnamon (optional)

Combine liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Top with orange zest and orange twist.

For the infused whiskey: Soak three cups of shelled pecan bits and halves in water for about 45 minutes, to extract some of the bitterness. Season with salt and pepper and roast in an oven at 315 degrees for approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Place nuts in a liter of bourbon and leave to rest for three or four days to allow the flavors to steep completely. When pouring the liquid for mixing with other ingredients, be sure to strain or double strain to eliminate remnants of nuts.

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