We’ve all seen those tempting cocktail recipes that use flavoured vodka on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. From a cucumber-infused Bloody Mary to a classic vanilla vodka and coke, there are tonnes of ways to add a tasty twist to the popular spirit. So why not infuse vodka at home and make these delicious drinks yourself? This starter’s guide will help you learn how to infuse vodka with ingredients you probably already have lying around the kitchen! It provides answers to questions like “what can you infuse vodka with?” and “how long does infused vodka last?”
Infused vodka picks up the flavours of its ingredients. This creation of flavours doesn’t require a top-shelf, expensive spirit. Generally, an 80-proof, plain vodka like Seagram’s or Absolut is good for extracting flavors and making a smooth final product. The best part about homemade infused vodka is that after the initial infusion process, it can last for years.
Tools and know-how
Infusing vodka is a surprisingly easy process. The equipment isn’t technical at all and can be found in the average kitchen. The first thing you’ll need is a chopping board and knife for preparing the ingredients. The other essentials are a 1-quart container with a lid, a mesh strainer, a small funnel, a large bowl (big enough to fit at least 4 cups of liquid) and bottles with caps or seals for the finished infusion. Of course, you’ll need to choose what infusers you want to use too. Generally, 2 cups of chopped fruit or vegetables are necessary for a fruit infusion. As a nice addition, 2-3 sprigs of fresh herbs are will add a great, mellow flavour. Although not necessary, a cheesecloth will make the process much easier. It helps to catch any small fruit seeds or herb pieces that the strainer might miss.
The hardest part about making homemade infused vodka is the waiting. Properly infusing flavours into vodka takes about 5 days. You can get away with 3 days but it really is worth waiting if you want the best results. A quick general guide for infusion is included here along with a brief summary of each step. This is the ultimate DIY project so let your creative juices flow and experiment with flavours!
1. Prepare the infusers:
Wash and dry whatever ingredient you’re using. Fruits can have peels left on or removed. Vodka infused with peel-on fruit will be richer in colour and flavour but won’t be quite as sweet as vodka infused with peeled fruit. Dice large fruit into 2 cups of small chunks but leave any herbs as whole sprigs. Small fruit like berries can be left whole.
2. Combine ingredients:
Transfer the prepared infuser into your container with a lid. Pour 2-3 cups of vodka in. The fruit should be covered and the container almost full. Seal your concoction tightly and store it in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.
Now it’s the waiting game. It takes anywhere from 3-5 days to get infused vodka. Make sure to shake your container every day. Start tasting it on the third day. When you’re happy with the flavour, it’s good to go!
4. Strain the liquid:
Pour your infused spirit through the mesh strainer into the large bowl. For berries or other ingredients with small seeds, you can line your strainer with a cheesecloth and catch any extra debris. After you’re finished straining, discard the fruit, herbs or vegetables.
Using the small funnel, carefully pour the infused vodka into the storage bottles. It’s okay if they aren’t full but they definitely need to be sealed. A good seal prevents your vodka from evaporating! Store them out of direct sunlight.
The flavour combinations that are possible with infused vodka really are endless. There are some popular basic flavours as well as more complex flavour combinations that are commonly used. The ingredients listed below are all best used fresh.
- Rosemary Lavender Infusion – 1 sprig fresh rosemary, 2 sprigs fresh lavender. Add a herb infusion to classics like a vodka martini, vodka tonic or even add unexpected depth to a classic cosmo.
- Blueberry Lemon Infusion – 1 cup blueberries, 1 lemon sliced in half, juiced and zested. The key to this infusion is muddling the berries slightly before pouring vodka over the fruit. Take a spoon and smash some of the blueberries. Zest adds an extra layer of citrus flavour. A splash of this in some iced tea on a hot summer’s day is a winner.
- Basil Ginger Infusion – 1 knob fresh grated ginger, 8-10 fresh basil leaves. A spicy herby concoction great for adding an extra kick to fresh-squeezed lemonade.
- Jalapeno Pepper and Watermelon Infusion – 1 sliced fresh jalapeno, 2 cups fresh diced watermelon. This is a really popular flavour combo at the moment. Beat the summer heat with a sweet and spicy vodka cocktail!
- Bacon Infusion – 2 tbsp bacon drippings, added to vodka and infused just like other ingredients. Add a meaty, smoky flavour to that traditional Bloody Mary with this weird and wonderful vodka.
- Pineapple Infusion – 2 cups chopped fresh pineapple plus its juice. Use this to give extra flavour to a Bay Breeze or add a tropical twist to a classic screwdriver!
- Caramel Infusion – 8-10 soft caramel sweets. Enjoy an apple pie martini or shots with this sweet, decadent treat!
The world of DIY infused vodka is huge. This simple guide is a great starting point for anyone who wants to make something easy and delicious. Flavoured vodkas are versatile and add an interesting take on lots of classic drinks. Try mixing and matching a variety of flavours into your favorite cocktails or simply have a nice homemade blend on the rocks. The results are sure to impress your friends and scratch your creative itch. If you can wait 3-5 days for your infusions, you’ll have something special to enjoy. With simple ingredients and equipment, there’s no reason to delay any longer! Get artfully crafted, hand-picked vodka flavours straight from your own kitchen.