Flavored Vodka…Why not?

It’s the Season of Flavors. What could be better than an icy cold cocktail while you’re sitting on the deck, in your garden , or by the pool ? Anything you make yourself is more delicious – let’s face it. Here’s how to make the most of your vodka this summer by having fun with flavored infusions – you control the concentration and the flavors you want to use. Additionally, your version will be sugar free, unlike commercially flavored vodkas that have a surprisingly high ratio of sugar to artificial flavor.
You will need:
1. One bottle of Vodka at 80 proof
2. Citrus rind of your choice and flavoring ingredients
3. Cheesecloth and kitchen string
4. Wide mouth jar (quart size) and a long spoon
5. 72 hours.

1. Buy your vodka. We do have some recommendations but 1 Liter of 80 proof (40% alcohol) vodka should suffice – this is not the time to buy premium vodka. (Note that you will get a better extraction with 100 proof – but you’ll also get a bigger headache. We prefer the 80 proof as the extraction is gentler. )

2. Line up your flavor options – some of our favorites (and those we’ve made ourselves) are lemon , orange (a combination of both is fabulous) , vanilla, jalapeno and even cinnamon. Clean and dry your ingredients to remove any debris, pesticide or herbicide residues, then prepare them accordingly.

Citruses : grate the rind (microplane does it) 1/3 to ½ cup
Jalapeño: quartered -one shall suffice
Berries: whole 1/3 to ½ cup
Vanilla: halved and sliced lengthwise 3 to 4 beans
Herbs: Chopped 1/3 to ½ cup
Ginger: freeze and grate (microplane again, no need to peel ) 1/3 cup
Cinnamon: one stick (cinnamon does not need to go in the cheesecloth)
Fruits: peal and dice 1/3 to 1/2 cup

3. Cut a round piece of unbleached cheesecloth roughly twice the size of the jar mouth. Place your ingredients in the center, fold the cheesecloth over and tie with the kitchen string (it should look like a medieval purse) .

4. Place the purse inside the clean jar , fill it with the vodka . Close the jar and shake gently every time you walk by it.

5. 72 hours is the minimum time for this maceration affair. After that use your long spoon to stir gently and taste. Your palate will dictate whether or not extra time is necessary. When the infusion is to your liking, remove the cheesecloth gently to drain it and discard ingredients. Tada!!!! You are left with a flavored vodka ! Note that when you use real ingredients and no charcoal filter, coloring will occur. On a positive note, it’s all natural!