So you’re at this swanky bar that has a separate menu for their own special cocktail drinks and you see some pretty crazy concoctions. Rather than using flavored vodkas, they have opted to use their own batch of vodka infusions from various herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables. Vodka (and gin for that matter) possess another quality besides being able to get you drunk. Because they are light with little to no flavor, they are able to take on the flavors of other ingredients around them. From habanero peppers, to watermelon, to even skittles, infused vodka is a fun way to create your own original flavored vodka.
The process is relatively simple: take vodka, and let it marinate and absorb the surrounding flavors. For my vodka infusion, I made beet infused vodka. Sounds weird huh? Well I love beets and they have a high amount amount of sugar, starches and strong flavor to make a very unique flavor of vodka. I’ll walk you through my process step by step to make it really easy for you!
Step 1. Prepare your work space
What you’re going to need is your fruit or vegetable infuser (as fresh as possible), vodka, an air tight sealed jar, and a knife or tool to help you slice up the infuser. I prefer hermetic jars because they have a washer to prevent any leakage or air seeping in and a clamp to ensure it stays shut. Feel free to use mason jars if you prefer those.
Step 2. Slice up your fruit or vegetable
You don’t have to have a fancy KitchenAid to complete this step. Using a mandolin or peeler will work equally as well. If you are using herbs or spices, you may not need to do this step. You basically just want to open up the fruit or vegetable to allow maximum exposure for your infused vodka.
Step 3. Place fruit/vegetable in hermetic jar with vodka
Fill up your jar with your infuser and add vodka. If you are using a lighter flavored infuser (ie. cucumbers) then you may need to add more than my example of beets. I used 2 whole beets to about 750 ml of vodka.
You may already see a color change in your jar. Once your jar is sealed, it’s time to store it away in a dark cabinet, away from light. You want to keep it away from the sun to avoid deterioration and rotting. Make sure to not open it for a minimum of 3 days. In addition, make sure to shake your jar a few times a day. This will speed up the break down of the infuser for maximum flavor in your vodka.
Step 4. Filter your vodka into a separate container
You can pick up cheap funnel sets at dollar stores like Dollar Tree for only a buck. Place a coffee filter in the funnel and slowly pour your vodka through it. When your fruit or vegetable breaks down, tiny particles will break off and you’ll have a slight sedimentation in your vodka infusion. Filtering is important to avoid getting particle settlement in the final product of your infused vodka. It takes a while to filter through, so be patient.
Step 5. Store your infused vodka in a container for future use
I basically just cleaned out my hermetic jar and will be using it for storage. The shelf life of fresh fruit and vegetable infusions is somewhere around 2-4 weeks, depending on the infuser. The alcohol will prevent any growth in the drink, but the taste will gradually decline. I recommend finding an old vodka bottle or nice glass bottle with a cap for easy pouring (these hermetic jars are somewhat difficult to pour out of).
Oh, and in case your wondering, this beet infused vodka turned out great! Smells just like beets and have used it to make a great beet and basil martini!
Use this basic vodka infusion recipe to make any kind of flavored vodka you can think of!
The fun thing about this is that only your imagination can stop you from all sorts of exciting infused vodka creations. Some other fun infused vodkas involve cucumbers, jalapenos, basil and rosemary, and even bacon! So go for it and give it a try!
If you want even more help with your infused vodka, check out the video where you can see me do every step! Good luck and let me know what kind of vodka infusions you make or want to see me make!