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Infused booze: When fruit meets spirit, beautiful things can happen

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Scarlet’s infusions, spirits imbued with fresh fruit flavors, can take up to six weeks to make.
Photo: Sam Morris

At Scarlet, patience is certainly a virtue.

It takes up to six weeks to make one of the petite Palms cocktail bar’s signature infusions, spirits imbued with the essence of cranberry, peach, pineapple or mango. The new summer menu features light sippers full of bright flavors, like pineapple apricot tequila, peach sweet tea vodka and a fig-infused Manhattan, alongside staples like pepper tequila and banana bread vodka, all offered on the rocks ($10+), as a flight ($12+) or mixed into one of the bar’s signature cocktails ($14+).

Mixologist Alycia Sutton suggests sampling over ice, taking in the full flavor of the fruit, which sits in the spirit for three to six weeks. If you want to try a DIY infusion, she says to start with vodka, a neutral spirit that “really mixes well with anything.” Go small-batch with a Mason jar, “so if it doesn’t go right, you’re not wasting too much liquor,” and use dried fruit, which Sutton says has better flavor and doesn’t need to be changed out. The hard part is waiting for the fruit to work its magic. Sutton’s trick: keeping her infusions in the back of the pantry. “Out of sight, out of mind—otherwise I get too impatient.”

Scarlet Tuesday-Saturday, 6:30 p.m.-close. Palms, 702-933-9900.

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