How to Make Homemade Infused Vodka
Guide to Make Your Own Flavored Vodka
Like many vodka connoisseurs, we`re not immune to poking fun at the flavored vodka market. Having seen it expand from the reasonable (light notes of citrus) to the preposterous (birthday cake), we think it’s time to take crafting flavored vodkas into your own hands.
Being a neutral spirit, vodka is effectively a perfect vehicle for taking on flavors, since it acts as a blank canvas ready to absorb whatever your heart (or more accurately, taste buds) desire.
So before we get into the nitty-gritty of infusing your own vodka, here are some baseline tips:
- Cheap vodka is your friend. Infusing vodka is an experiment in the truest sense, so things are going to go disastrously from time to time. Try a few flavors and combinations to get the balance of the infusion right, and then apply it to your favorite vodka brand.
- You have to remember, it isn’t about the flavor profile of the vodka at first, it’s about mastering the flavor of your infusion mixture.
- Slight variations are the key to nailing the perfect recipe. Compare fresh vs. dried ingredients. Toasted vs. raw. In the end seeing what small changes do to an infusion recipe will help you dial in exactly what you like and what works.
Think outside the box. Maybe it’s not a handle of lemon-infused vodka you`re looking for. Maybe there’s a mixture of herbs or more vegetal flavors that would compliment as a component in a cocktail.
Gather Your Supplies: Infusions require a few basic supplies and the infusion jars can be used over and over again. It doesn’t require a big investment and it’s possible you already have everything you need.
- Herbs, spices, fruits and vegetables (use your imagination)
- Mason jars, infusion jars, or any other airtight container
- Coffee filter, cheesecloth, or a fine mesh strainer
- Choose a clean, airtight jar; quart mason jars work well. Also, you may want to divide your liquor into smaller jars and experiment with a few infusions at one time.
- Wash the ingredients, cut them if needed, place them inside the jar, and fill it with liquor.
- Shake the jar a few times and seal tightly with a lid.
Tip: Place labels on each jar to make notes about ingredients, dates, and other customizations so you know what works and what doesn’t. Believe us when we say that doing the work as you go will save the trouble of remembering (after a few taste tests) what exactly made one recipe so good!
Store your infusion in a cool, dark place and give it a shake once or twice a day over the course of the process. Though it varies slightly, the ingredients should stay in the vodka for anywhere from a few hours, to a few weeks. Stronger flavors like herbs typically take less time, while more subtle fruits like lemon or apple will skew towards the longer end of the infusion spectrum. Open the container from time to time to assess the boquet of the infusion, note the color, and taste test it.
As a general guide, here are some infusion times that we`ve found work best:
- 1 to 2 hours: Spicy elements such as hot peppers.
- 3 to 4 days: intense spices or more herbaceous flavors like basil, cinnamon, cucumber, lemon, lime, oregano, and vanilla bean.
- 1 week: Medium flavors such as apple, strawberry, and cherry.
- 2 weeks: Mild flavors such as ginger and pineapple.
Finish Your Infusion:
Once you`re happy with the infusion, strain the mixture through a cheesecloth or other filtering material to remove the added ingredients and clarify the mixture. You can rebottle the mixture in any airtight vessel, as long as it has been thoroughly cleaned and disinfected using boiling water (avoid soap due to residue).