How To Make Vodka Infusions

Learn how to make vodka infusions and you will please your palate (and your guests) with surprising custom flavors you cannot find at the liquor store.

How to Make Vodka Infusions

  • Do not use cheap vodka. Vodka that is hard to swallow without flavor will be equally hard to swallow with added flavor. Make sure the vodka is smooth enough that it doesn't impart a strong taste.
  • Place the infusing vodka in the refrigerator, as it will remain in a cool, dark place with no chance of sunlight spoilage.
  • Always use size-appropriate jars. Fill the jar to the top with vodka.
  • Some infusions require only a few days, such as pineapple-infused vodka. But others can take a week or longer. Rarely does the infusion require more than two weeks.
  • While it is against the law to distill alcohol at home, it is not against the law to add other ingredients to your store-bought alcohol. However, it is still illegal to serve alcohol to minors or to sell home-brewed alcoholic concoctions, even if you are selling it to friends. Rather than gifting others with your home-brewed specialties and running the chance of a minor getting his hands on your flavored vodka, it's best to serve your house specialty in the privacy of your own home to guests who are of age.

How To Make Vodka Infused With Pepper
One of the best vodka infusions can be found in the kitchen or in the herb garden. Step into the garden, and visit the row of peppers. To make spicy hot vodka, start with two banana peppers, two jalapeno peppers and two habanero peppers. The idea is to let your guests work their way from warm to hot to blistering. You'll also need a gallon of unflavored vodka, three Mason jars with lids, cheesecloth and about a week's worth of patience.

Wash and dry the Mason jars, and then wash and dry the peppers. Cut the banana peppers into pieces, and place the pieces into the first jar. Cut the jalapenos and habanero peppers in the same manner, and put them into jars two and three.

Either fill the jar with vodka, or pour in at least enough vodka to cover the ingredients. The more ingredients added to the jars, the stronger the flavor of the vodka. Place the lids on the jars, and shake gently to stir. Place all three jars in the refrigerator.

Check the jars four days later. When the desired taste has been achieved, tape the cheesecloth over a clean glass bowl with a pouring spout, and then pour the vodka from jar one into the bowl, being careful not to splash. Discard the banana pepper debris that collect on the cheesecloth. Wash out jar one, and then pour the flavored vodka back into it. Seal the jar, and label it. Do the same with all three jars of pepper vodka.

Peppered vodka can be used in food recipes that require a kick, but, for the most part, flavored vodka or infused vodka is used primarily for making cocktails. Another option would be to add two to four cloves of garlic and a handful of fresh basil leaves to vodka, and you have a wonderful base for making Bloody Marys.

How To Make Vodka Infused With Fruit
The process for making fruit-flavored vodka isn't all that different from making spicy vodka. Simply start with clean Mason jars that have lids. Always place the fruit or vegetable into the jar, and then pour the vodka over the top, never the other way around. Seal the jar, and shake. While some fruits take a little longer to impart a strong flavor, sometimes the vodka is best when the flavor is subtle. Experimentation is the only way to discover when the flavors have reached the best concentration, so taste-testing the vodka on a daily basis is a good idea. Start on day two, and continue testing for up to two weeks. When the vodka tastes right or you have reached the two-week mark, it's time to drain the debris and serve.

Keeping A Journal
When you begin creating infused vodka for home use, it's best to keep a journal handy. Note the time and day you started the infusion and what type of ingredients you added, as well as the measurements. For instance, if you add garlic to the jar, you'll want to note how it was added so that you can duplicate the recipe if it becomes a favorite. If the entire head of garlic was placed into the jar, the outcome won't be the same as if only one clove were added and the paper skin removed.

When adding spices, it is important to know exactly how much was added and also how much vodka was added. Don't rely on the Mason jar being full, as that is not an accurate measurement. Instead, write down the exact measurements.

Experiment With Flavors
Since you already know what your favorite flavors and blends are, try adding them to the vodka. For instance, lemons and oranges or limes go well together, but, if you want to get a little crazy, add a split vanilla bean to the mix, or stir in chopped pears and ginger root. Always add enough vodka to cover the ingredients, but don't worry if those ingredients eventually float to the top.

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