Here's a quick fun little thing to try: infusing vodka. All you need is an air tight jar, vodka and a fruit. Citrus works really well because it has strong flavor and aromatic properties. I've got some little sour oranges from a tree in the Taltree greenhouse. So after making some sour orange poppy seed muffins, sweet and sour orange stir-fry I decided to use the last of the oranges for a vodka infusion.
I've never infused vodka before so I did a little research: How to infuse vodka?
Pick Your Flavor
Start with a well distilled vodka. Triple distilled has less flavor of it's own so the infusion can shine through. You can also filter your own cheap vodka (or so I hear, I haven't tried it) by running it through food grade activated charcoal. Check your local home brew store or look online. Basically choose an organic fruit or spice. Organic is important because you will be using the whole fruit including the peal. Any pesticides on the fruit will be brought out by the vodka and not only make your beverage unhealthy, but taste bad. Suggested flavors include:
ApplePrepare Your Fruit and the Jar
Tomato (think bloody marry)
You want a lot of surface area on your fruit so slice it thinly or if it is a soft fruit like berries or kiwi mash it first; this decrease the necessary time for infusing. Put the fruit (and any juice from macerating) into your clean and dry air tight container. Then pour the vodka on top. Seal and store in a cool dark place. I put mine in the cupboard next to the coffee mugs so I would remember to shake the jar every morning when I get out my coffee cup.
Wait for It
The more subtle the flavor the longer it will take. Citrus can take as few as a couple days while cucumber can take up to several weeks. To speed up infusing you can shake your jar once a day.
Take Out The Chunks
Give a little taste to see where you are at. If you are satisfied with your flavor, you're ready to filter. If it is still a little weak add more of your flavorant and give it some more time. Use cheese cloth or a coffee filter to line a strainer. Then slowly pour your infused vodka through a strainer. Catch your newly infused vodka into a pretty container and your done.
Cocktail Drink Recipes for Orange Infused Vodka
So now that I have this orange infused vodka what do I do with it? I'm honestly not a big vodka drinker. I just tried this because I happened to have both vodka and random fruit on hand. So far this is the best recipe I've seen. It is simple and yet will let the infused vodka shine. It's basically a screwdriver:
Yo Mama Cocktail Recipe
1 1/2 oz Orange Infused VodkaI'm also thinking of using it for a 4th of July picnic. Hop Skip and Go Naked anyone? The citrus will be appreciated I think:
1 splash orange juice
Pour vodka over ice in a highball glass. Add soda, top with a splash of orange juice, and serve.
Hop Skip and Go Naked
24.0 oz Beer
12.0 oz frozen Lemonade
12.0 oz Orange infused Vodka
Thaw the lemonade concentrate and dump it into a pitcher. Fill the empty lemonade can with vodka and pour into pitcher. Pour in three beers. Add ice and mix.