I made infused vodka for Christmas presents this year. A few people have asked for the recipe. Part of me hesitates to give it because it’s so crazy easy that people will no longer be impressed by my vodka. But then I remember that I’m a grown-up and not petty, so here it is.
Put a bunch of stuff in a jar, add vodka, shake, and let sit till flavors develop.
There ya go. Done.
OK, if you’re like me, you need a bit more instruction. So here it is. Warning: Math will be involved.
Items to add flavor
I did three flavors this time: orange/clove, cinnamon/vanilla, and garlic/habanero. I used a 1.75 liter bottle of vodka for each flavor.
As you can see, you don’t need the Grey Goose to do this. Don’t go too cheap either. Svedka was just fine.
If you use a smaller bottle, you’ll need to adjust the other ingredients accordingly. I bought a package of 12 pint-sized canning jars earlier this fall in anticipation of this project. Again, if you use quart-sized, adjust the amounts in each jar.
Orange/clove (4 oranges and 50 whole cloves)
I used Cara Cara oranges because that’s what the store had. I also got organic because organic fruit usually has a stronger flavor. Cut off the peel of the oranges, being sure to remove all of the white pith. There is a lot of bitterness in the pith, and you don’t want that in your vodka. Thinly slice the oranges and divide the slices evenly among four jars. Add 12-15 whole cloves to each jar, then add about 1.75 cups of vodka to each jar. Basically you want to divide the bottle of vodka equally among the four jars. Screw on lid, and then shake jar to combine ingredients. Set aside for three to four days. Shake each jar occasionally if you wish.
Cinnamon/vanilla (4 cinnamon sticks and 1 vanilla bean)
I used four jars for this one. Put one cinnamon stick in each jar and add 1/4 of a vanilla bean. Divide the vodka equally among the jars – about 1.75 cups in each one.
Screw on lid and shake jar. Set aside for 2 weeks, shaking jars occasionally.
Garlic/habanero (3 heads of garlic and 3 habanero peppers)
Again, use four jars. Separate cloves of garlic and peel each one. Divide cloves equally among four jars. Slice peppers in half and remove seeds and stems. Divide equally among four jars. Add vodka, about 1.75 cups in each jar.
Screw on lid, and shake jar. Set aside for 3 days, shaking jars occasionally.
After the jars have sat for time listed above, taste-test the vodka. (For the garlic/habanero, if you’re like me and not sure if you can handle that strong of a spice with straight vodka, find an awesome friend like ND who is willing to taste-test for you. Thanks ND!) If you think the flavors are good, go to the next step. If you think it needs more time, screw the lids on again and leave the jars to sit a while longer.
When the vodka is ready to go, strain it through cheesecloth and a strainer into clean bottles. (I bought some nice 250ML bottles here.) One 1.75 liter bottle of vodka will fill about seven 250ML bottles. Add labels and tags, and voila! Instant gift.
What’s cool too is that the vodka changes color based on the ingredients. So left to right in the picture above, it’s the orange/clove, the garlic/habanero, and the cinnamon/vanilla.
The cinnamon/vanilla vodka is awesome in ginger ale or ginger beer (or eggnog, I just found out), and the orange/clove is great with tonic or soda. The garlic/habanero which RM described as “holy shitballs freakin’ delicious!” is amazing in bloody marys. (That one was ND’s favorite flavor too I think.) You can also go on the interwebs and find recipes for those specific flavors of vodka. Ah, Google, where would we be without you?
I had originally done a batch of blueberry/mint instead of orange/clove. That one needed more than four jars because the blueberries took up so much room. Something to keep in mind when planning your jars. The flavors on that one never really developed despite crushing the blueberries, so I pitched that batch and did the orange/clove instead.
Rule of thumb:
Intense flavors like citrus and herbs take 3-4 days. Moderate flavors like berries take about a week. Mild flavors like ginger take about two weeks. But be sure to taste as you go.
Right now I have a batch of chocolate vodka going. It’s a bit more complicated but will be so worth it if it turns out! I’m excited for that one.
So now you know my secret for infused vodka. Enjoy it! And let me know if you have any questions on it. And try not to marvel at how easy it is. Pretend you’re still impressed by my vodka-infusing skills.