When I discovered how to make infused vodka, my life changed. And by my life, I mostly mean my cocktails. And also my Christmas presents.
The process is so easy, you could barely even call it a recipe. It’s a particularly fun DIY because you can personalize base on your tastes, and it’s hard to mess up. I can think of few cases where infused vodka has turned out inedible. (The exception being the time I tried infusing peppered bacon. The bacon was a great idea, the pepper, not so much). It’s also an incredible gift, because it looks and sounds impressive, and tastes delicious of course, but it requires minimal effort and can be made in large batches.Homemade Infused Vodka
- Fruits, vegetables herbs, tea, and/or candy
Yes, it is that easy. You’ll also need jars. I use canning jars, since I always have some on hand, but if you’re planning to give these away, you could jazz them up a bit. Don’t forget, you’ll want the jars to be sizable (I used quart-sized ones), since the food you are infusing will likely take up some space.
For the vodka, I’d recommend using something mid-grade. Basically, you don’t want the vodka to taste so bad it detracts from the taste of the infusion, but you don’t want it to be so good that you’re “wasting” the actual vodka taste by covering it up with the infusion. My go-to for infusing is Skye, and I highly recommend picking up a handle from a bulk store like Costco, where you’ll get the best price. The handle will look like a lot, but you can easily use 1.75L of vodka on just 3 jars of infusions like I did here.
In regards to what you could infuse, a lot of it is trial and error. Some of my greatest successes have been strawberries and rosemary. The ones that didn’t work so well were pomegranate and lemon, both of which didn’t infuse much flavor. But those were just my personal experiences, and I could see you trying those and them turning out delicious.
This time, I did strawberries again (my favorite) and tried two new ones, ginger and peaches. Other ideas I’ve heard before that sound good are black tea, jalapeños, mint, cherries, and mango. I’d also recommend branching out from vodka (cinnamon goes well with whiskey, for example), but vodka is a solid place to start because it’s such a neutral-tasting alcohol.
Now here’s the best trick to making infused vodka: you have to infuse it twice. That’s right – first you prepare the item you’re infusing and cover it with a few inches of vodka. Then you let it soak in the fridge for three days, making sure to shake the jar at least once a day. On the third day, strain each of the vodkas, tossing out the infused item (you could theoretically save it and mix it into a smoothie or something, but it tastes so strongly of vodka it isn’t very pleasant).
Then, do it all over again and infuse the new round of infusion for three more days. This concentrates it and turns the infused flavor from a “hint” that can easily be overpowered to a bold taste. Once the three days are up, toss out the infused item again and filter it through a strainer or coffee filter if necessary.
My favorite way to drink infused vodka is with lemonade, either homemade or store-bought (hint: squirt a fresh lemon into your store-bought lemonade to give it a more vibrant taste). Strawberry lemonade, ginger lemonade, and peach lemonade? Yes, please!