I have been reading about infusing chilies in alcohol to create a liqueur, and I'm not clear on how they should be infused (if at all). Various sources suggest various methods (whole vs. chopped, length of time, etc.), but I'm not clear on the influence of these factors.
How long should the chilies be infused?
Is there a known "upper bound" after which all of the spice gets transfered to the liquid? Can one infuse them indefinitely, or is there a botulism / spoilage risk?
Is there any problem with infusing them whole?
Would making a small hole in each suffice? I'd like to do so for aesthetic purposes, but I'm not sure the implications this will have on flavor / spoilage.
What, if any, are the advantages of cooking them prior to infusion?
I have seen that some people cook the chilies first, but I assumed the flavor would be imparted eventually, even without cooking. So, is there any point cooking them?