(v.) The practice of steeping herbs, spices, or fruits in alcohol to transfer flavor to the liquid. There are two basic ways of flavoring alcohol: during the distillation process, in which spices and herbs are added to the mash or sugar solution before undergoing distillation, or infusion, in which flavorings are soaked in distilled liquor, including many liqueurs. With infusion, through the process of osmosis, color, flavor and sugar can be imparted to the spirit. Flavor absorption rates differ from agent to agent, but generally, the longer the flavoring agents are kept in the alcohol, the more flavor they will transfer. If left too long, sometimes bitter or medicinal flavors tend to dominate. While some commercial spirits are made by infusion (Chambord, some flavored vodkas), the technique has long been employed for doctoring spirits at home. Recently, bartenders have been experimenting with using nitrous oxide to infuse spirits, which is thought to impart a clearer, less muddied flavor.