Macerados translates as Macerated in English. It literally means infusion. Macerados are very popular in Latin speaking countries. The story of macerados goes back to grandmas macerating fruits in aguardiente (alcoholic beverage that contains 29%-60% ABV) to make it fruity and mellow. Flavours of macerados can be anything from bananas to chocolate, herbs, spices, wood, tea and many more. In modern bars, bartenders add sugar to extract full flavour of fruits and keep the flavours consistent.
In earlier times, Macerados were used as night caps to refresh the palate after a dinner or sipped straight chilled in a grappa glass. But in the growing cocktail world it is also used in cocktails to replace vermouths, bitters and liqueurs.
A pisco crazy mixologist Miguel Arbe from Ceviche UK in London has gone to an extent that he has replaced most liqueurs and spirits used in cocktails with Macerados based on Pisco. Top Macerados in Miguel’s bar are cereza (cherry), fresa (strawberry) & frambuesa (raspberry), kion (ginger), ciruela (plum), Aji Panca (a type of Chili Pepper), nasturtium and Pineapple Chilli.
Depending on the flavours it can take from two days to months for a good quality macerado with a person checking it every day.
How to make a Macerado
It’s simple – fill a mason jar with a 750ml spirit like vodka, rum, gin, tequila or aguardiente. Drop chunks of fruits like strawberries (300 grams) and sugar (150 grams) (sugar is optional depending on the desired flavour profile). Lid the jar and leave it for 4-5 days and make sure it is air tight. Keep shaking the jar vigorously every day so that fruits and sugar keep mixing to give out the maximum flavour. Taste it after 4 -5 days. If happy with the flavour strain it into a bottle. Store it in the fridge. Remaining fruits should be picked with the spoon and stored in an air tight container. Unfortunately there is not an overall rule on how to make macerados so the best way to learn what goes well and how to make it is by trial and error. Normally fleshy fruits, herbs and spices (strawberries, lychee, mint, basil, vanilla…) take lesser time to infuse whilst stone fruits (apricot, cherry, plums) and coffee take a longer time, even months, to reach a perfect flavour.
Sip Macerados whenever you want and use it for flavoured margarita, daiquiri, mojito, caipiroska or martini and many more. The stored left over fruits can be used in the same cocktail or could be eaten after dinner. Those fruits are very yummy and alcoholic.