Pick Your Poison
Here’s the good news: You don’t have to buy top-dollar vodka to make a top-notch infusion. Since you’re adding your own flavor, you don’t have to worry about ending up with something that has notes of rubbing alcohol. If you’re gluten intolerant, just make sure your bottle of choice isn’t distilled with wheat or barley.
Choose A Vessel
Properly infusing vodka takes a couple of days, so go with a glass container. It won’t add any weird plasticky flavor to your finished result. Wide-mouthed mason jars are great when you’re using something large, like fruits or whole spices—do not try to shove an entire orange through the neck of your vodka bottle. You will fail.
Prep the Ingredients
Now comes the fun part: picking the flavor! The options here are basically endless. Fruit, veggies, herbs, spices, you name it, you can probably infuse it. There are a few rules of thumb, though. Herbs and spices should be added whole, so your vodka doesn’t get gritty or murky in color. Toast them over the stove if you’re feeling fancy—this will help them release their flavor more effectively. Fruits and vegetables can be cut into large pieces, and any citrus should be zested. There’s no need to add any sweeteners at this point—you can do that when you’re mixing the actual cocktail.
Here are some of our favorite combos and their proper ratios:
- 1 quart vodka + 1 cup cucumber slices + 1 cup melon
- 1 quart vodka + 1 cup sliced apples + 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 quart vodka + 1 cup muddled berries + 1 handful fresh mint
- 1 quart vodka + 1 sliced grapefruit + 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
- 1 quart vodka + 1 cup sliced mango + 1 chopped habanero pepper
Infuse, My Dudes
Now the waiting game begins. Add the vodka and infusion ingredients to your jar and keep it on the countertop for at least three days. Give it a shake once or twice a day. It’s also a good idea to taste it periodically to see if it’s flavored to your liking, especially if you’re using strong additives like cinnamon or hot peppers. Keep in mind that dried ingredients will infuse more quickly than fresh ones.
Strain, Store, Serve
At long last! It’s time to strain out your infusion ingredients and get your drink on. Use a fine mesh sieve to make sure all the bits and pieces that might’ve floated around are removed. Mixtures flavored with fresh ingredients like fruit should be kept in the fridge, and those made using shelf-stable stuff like spices are OK to stay at room temperature.
Trust us, infused vodka is worth the wait—just think of all the creative cocktails in your future. We’ll drink to that!