With a little time, you can funnel your energy into creating colorful and flavored vodkas, offering a taste that is all your own.
Step 1: Gather the essentials
Ingredients: It can take under a week for citrus fruits or strongly flavored ingredients to infuse. Softly flavored or fibrous ingredients such as strawberries, pineapple or fresh ginger, can take between one and two weeks.
Infusion Jar: Basic, tall or round glass jars with tightly fitting lids, preferable complete with pouring spouts are the only initial outlay required for your new in-house vodka infusion center.
Base Vodka: Choosing a suitable vodka base is key to effective flavor infusion. Rye or potato based vodkas are not conductive to effective flavor and color infusion, as they detract away from the taste you are trying to create. The more times vodka is distilled, the clearner and purer it becomes. So try choosing vodkas that are distilled more than three times. More about vodka's taste & quality
Step 2: Choosing your flavor
The choice is almost infinite and stretches as far as your imagination. You can choose between either fresh fruit, or more alternative ingredients.
Mellow flavors include cantaloupe, peach, strawberry, cherry, blueberry, raspberry, blackberry, pineapple, mango and vanilla beans.
Lemon, lime or grapefruit flavors offer a sharper bite to the palate.
If you're seeking more darling flavours, look to fresh ginger, lemongrass, herbs, garlic or chili peppers and mix them with tomato juice for Bloody Mary with a difference.
(also see - Bloody Maria)
Step 3: Time to infuse
Fresh fruit and produce should be washed thoroughly to ensure they are free from presticides and any unwanted party guests. Berry-like fruit, such as blueberries, raspberries and blackberries, should be left whole. Fibrous fruits like pineapple or mango should be chopped into small chunks and strawberries or citrus fruit, cut into thin slices. Thin-skinned juice oranges or Meyer lemons work best, as excess pitch quickly creates a bitter taste. Vanilla beans should be cut lengthways and herbs left on their stems. Chili peppers can be left whole, or cut i half if you want to increase the rate of infusion.
The glass jar should be filled full with the infusion ingredients and the remained with vodka. Tighten the lid securely over the jar and place in the refrigerator or at room temperature, away from direct sunlight.
Approx. 3 - 4 days: Vanilla beans, lemons, oranges, grapefruit, limes, mint, garlic, tarragon, basil, oregano, dill & thyme
Approx. 1 week: Cantaloupes, strawberries, peaches, mangoes, pitted cherries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
Up to 2 weeks: Whole chili peppers, pineapple, fresh ginger and lemongrass
If you want to speed up the flavor infusion process, or deepen the flavor, sprinkle a layer of sugar over the top of fruit. Occasionally stir the mixture to dissolve any settled granules.
These are only guidelines. Just remember that stronger flavored fruit and herbs/spices take less time to infuse, whereas softer flavor and fibrous fruit take longer. The most accurate method is to continually taste them, adding more or diluting, until the flavor reaches your preferred intensity.
Infusion Cocktail Recipes
Colorado Vodka Sun Infusion
Vodka 101: Taste and Quality by vodka distiller
(Sources: Extreme Beverage Company, Infused-vodka.com)