Habanero Infused Shochu
Today we’re going to try a recipe – our first – a habanero infused shochu. I needed some use for my leftover Juhyo Special Suntory, which was nigh well undrinkable in its undiluted form. Apparently I am not the first person to have this idea for salvaging Suntory shochu.
I started with fresh, locally sourced habanero peppers, which I was able to procure at the Columbia Greenmarket. I purchased a handful, but only needed one. The others will be used for similar experiments, I’d imagine. I diced the pepper into a small pieces, retaining the seeds (the “heat”).
I then poured the remaining Suntory shochu (about 1/3 of the bottle) into a glass jar, adding the chopped habanero. I sealed the jar and left it on the counter. Each morning and evening for 3 days I gently shook the jar to motivate the infusion.
After 3 days I poured the habanero infused shochu into a leftover Aiome bottle, which is nice and simple. (note: I had to discard the Suntory bottle as soon as it was empty. It was an affront to my liquor cabinet). I used a funnel to ease the transfer from jar to bottle – there’s shochu running through the funnel in the picture if you look closely.
Be sure to use a strainer in your funnel to get out the habanero bits. By the end it’ll look something like this.
What you’re finished with is a habanero infused shochu. As you can see from the picture, the previously clear Suntory has taken on a slight tint thanks to the pepper infusion.
My first sip of the undiluted, unmixed habanero infused shochu was a huge kick in the mouth. This is one firey concoction. Fortunately, the previously uninteresting Suntory has become very interesting in this form. I’ll let it sit for a few days before trying it out in some cocktails, which I’ll report back on. If you’ve tried other shochu infusions or have ideas, please let me know in the comments. I’m happy to try other experiments.