I’ve found myself incredibly impressed with flavored vodkas lately – whipped cream, birthday cake, froot loops! But every now and then, I find myself wanting a particular flavor that I’m just not finding and that’s when I infuse my own.
Basically, you’re going to let your vodka sit for a while with something that gives it an additional kick of flavor. I’ve done this with mint, and I’ve also infused tequila with jalapeño, but I’ve heard of people using vanilla beans, candied ginger, and even bubble gum. From fruits to herbs to candies to peppers, the possibilities are endless.
SO. First and foremost, the ingredients and amounts all depend on how much you want to make. I used a 750 mL bottle of Smirnoff (though I recommend Svedka if you can find it. By the handle, it’s cheaper than Smirnoff, Absolut and all the other super popular brands that everyone knows about, but it’s triple distilled and much higher quality). If you want to make more, make more, but be sure you have a container for it.
The container you’re going to need will have to seal very well- I actually used an empty vodka bottle (handle sized), but you can use an apothecary jar or mason jar depending on how big it is and how much infused vodka you’re trying to make. Also be sure to keep the original bottle as you’ll be using it again once you’re finished with your infusion.
The Flavoring Agent
Now for your flavoring agent – like I said, I used mint. 1 whole bunch of mint (bunch being what they pre-package/twist tie together at the market) worked for what I was doing. The potency of flavors will dictate the amounts you use for the most part. However, there are a few basic guidelines to follow:
-If infusing fruit, use 1-3 depending on their size. Aim for about two large apples’ worth; one is usually enough for larger fruits (i.e. grapefruit), but you’ll need 3-4 for smaller fruits (apricots, plums, etc.)
-If infusing fresh herbs, use 1-2 fists filled with the herb, depending on its potency. Use about half as much of dried herbs or spices.
-If infusing berries, use 2-4 fists filled with the berries.
-If infusing peppers, use as many as you want. The more you use and the longer you infuse, the more flavorful the end product will be. Also remember that the seeds and spines will intensify the “heat,” so for a spicier kick, keep the seeds and spines. For less heat and more flavor, reduce or skip on them.
For fruits, make sure they’re sliced thin and the pits, seeds and so forth have been removed.
If you’re using herbs, muddle them JUST a little bit – in fact, don’t muddle them so much as roll over them with the muddler to bring out the flavor and essences.
And of course, make sure everything is cleaned well.
OKAY. So now is the fun part.
Putting It All Together
Add your awesomely delicious flavorizers to your sealable container. Pour the vodka over the flavorizers. Close and seal the container, giving it a nice little shake to make sure everything is well saturated.
AND the not fun part. Leave it sitting there (there being out of direct sunlight) for 2-3 weeks. Shake gently every couple days to keep things from settling too much. Depending on what you’re infusing, it might look funny, but don’t worry too much.
Unless you open it after a couple weeks and it smells terrible. Then I’m super sorry.
Le Finished Product!
After 2-3 weeks are up, open, strain back into the original bottle and VOILA! You have a lovely, infused vodka. Depending on your flavor, it could be a great addition to your favorite mixes – peppered vodka is great for bloody Marys, mint vodka is a delicious addition to Sweet Tea Vodka Sours (seriously, it’s amazing), and most flavors will make for an incredible vodka tonic.
Cheers, ladies & gents!