I came across this super easy how-to on the Bon Appétit blog this Spring and I couldn’t wait to start playing around with different flavor combinations. My very first batch was strawberry vodka that I made at the end of June when the strawberries were at their peak ripeness and I couldn’t get over how incredible the flavor was. Since then I have made blueberry, rhubarb, cherry and apricot. In the next week or two I plan to make some cucumber, pepper and basil infused vodkas (separately of course) with the lovely goodies growing my garden. I also want to play around with other liquors like rum and tequila. The sky is really the limit on what you can do.
I have yet to play with other liquors, since vodka tends to be my first pick. Since the vodka itself is fairly tasteless, it can really let the flavor of the ingredient that you are infusing with, shine. Also, FYI, no reason to buy Grey Goose or Ketel one, but don’t buy that cheap crap on the bottom shelf either. I have been buying a nice middle of the road vodka like Svedka or Smirnoff.
I tend to like the fruit infused vodkas with a bit of soda water, a wee bit of simple syrup and a sprig of fresh mint or basil. I keep a jar of homemade raw sugar simple syrup in my fridge at all times which can be made very easily with 1 part sugar to 1 part water, bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan; simmer until the sugar is dissolved, 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
The strawberry vodka was great with some fresh squeezed lemon juice. Tonight I plan to experiment with an apricot martini of sorts. I cannot wait to make the pepper vodka with the super spicy heirloom Korean peppers growing in our garden, it will be perfect to make delicious homemade bloody marys with. The beet infused vodka that BA suggests is also super intriguing, I think I will have to add that to the list, too.
This is a simple cocktail made with my cherry vodka, just a tad bit of my homemade simple syrup, soda water and a fresh sprig of mint. So refreshing!
Step 1: Choose your liquor
Vodka is an obvious choice, but why not use white rum or tequila, brandy or grappa? Don’t go for the really cheap stuff, but don’t splurge either. A middle-of-the-road, neutrally flavored liquor will produce the best infused spirits.
Step 2: Choose your produce
Use what’s in season. Go to your local farmers’ market or, better yet, pick berries from your own berry patch, and bring home the most beautiful produce you can find. The super-ripe peach that dribbles juice down your chin is a perfect candidate. Also try raspberries, strawberries, pears, figs, lemons, cherries, blueberries, even beets and chiles, as long as they are ripe, ripe, ripe.
Some of Bon Appétit’s favorite fruit-and-spirit combos are:
Apricots + Eau de Vie
Figs + Bourbon
Jalapenos + Tequila
Pineapple + Rum
Beets + Vodka
Step 3: Prep your fruit
Wash it well and cut it into pieces. Remove peels and skins plus any part of the fruit that you wouldn’t want to eat: Stems, pits, cores, and seeds should all be tossed into the compost pile. As the liquor infuses, bitter flavors from citrus pith and seeds can leech into the liquor, so you want to avoid that.
Step 4: Bottle & Wait
Fill a clean resealable glass jar or bottle with fresh, cleaned fruit. Top off with liquor and screw on the lid. Place in a cool, dark place (like a fridge) until the flavors infuse (anywhere from a week to a month, depending on your taste and the strength of the fruit). Shake the jar every few days. When you’re happy with the flavor of the hooch, strain out fruit* and pour infused spirits into a clean resealable glass jar or bottle; store in the fridge.
Step 5: Drink Up
Use your freshly infused spirits in place of plain spirits in your favorite cocktail or serve up on its own as a Martini.
One caveat: This process requires a little patience. I generally start one mason jar of infused spirits per week throughout the summer. Depending on the type and ripeness of the fruit, infusions can take 2 to 3 weeks, so plan accordingly if you’re making it for a party (or use a fresh batch as an excuse to party). A pretty jar of rosy strawberry vodka is the perfect hostess gift, and it’s a lot more appealing than neon-green Margarita mix.
* though eating the fruit may be tempting, don’t bother. After the infusing process, the fruit is merely a ghost of its former self. All of the flavor has been sucked out and infused into the liquor so the fruit is left bland, soggy and tasteless.
This is such a great idea! The only problem is vodka doesn’t usually last long in my house. =]
[…] going to need to wash that down with some homemade infused liquor. — Tasty […]
I love, LOVE this and want to try it myself! Great post – thanks for sharing ——
This is amazing! Im gonna have a try tomorrow!
My mom is not much of a cook, but this recipe sounds easy enough for even her to make it! It will be great for her New Years party that she has every year. Just one question. Do you have to peel the blueberry skins?
[…] do anything major with – so I plan to soak them in vodka to make some tasty Concord grape infused vodka!! Come on, how could it not be […]
[…] Bloody Mary with a spicy (or smoke) salt rim, fresh organic bloody mary mix, and a couple jigs of infused pepper vodka for an invigorating social […]
I found your blog QUITE by accident (followed a link on pinterest) and lo-and-behold there you are (fruit infused alcohols is what caught my attention). In any case, I REALLY think you need to talk to Skinny Girl about their ad. The video ad that was on the right side of your page kept popping open to THEIR product and THEIR commercial (it went full screen at least 5 times) I was actually tempted to leave your site. I finally figured out that if I hit the pause button on the SMALLER video it won’t pop open anymore.
I wonder how much traffic this ad has driven AWAY from your site!
Tammy – glad you found your way to my site, thank you so much for taking the time to comment. Since you are new here I am assuming you obviously missed my recent post regarding the advertising on this site. http://tasty-yummies.com/2013/06/01/tasty-yummies-advertising-update/ I would encourage you to check that post out first and if you have any concerns, are offended by anything at all, etc – I would LOVE for you to email me directly. I take this stuff very seriously and it is unfortunate that I have to have any ads on this site at all. I would prefer not to, but if you read that post hopefully it will shed a little light on why I have to, etc. Thanks so much. Beth
Can you eat the fruit or does it need to be discarded?
You can eat the fruit Shar, but generally it is soggy and quite flavorless and it is VERY strong with alcohol flavor 😉 The good news is, all of the amazing flavor from the fruit goes into the liquor so it is sooo delicious. I generally just add a little fresh fruit when I make a cocktail with it.
This is so exciting!!! I wanted to do an infused liquor for wedding favors. About how much does each batch make?!
Hey, I was just wondering how long you’ve kept an infusion before using it up. I’m making different mixes for gifts and trying to figure out how far in advance I can make them. Thanks!
I usually try to use it up within a month or so. Hope that helps.
Have you tried this frozen fruits?
I would also like to know if you recommend peeling all fruits, even blueberries, cherries, etc.? Thanks!
Have you tried infusing liquor to the point where the fruit completely disintegrates? I asked a guy at my local liquor specialty store which vodka he’d recommend, and on top of his suggestion he suggested not removing or straining fruit at all. Wouldn’t that make it all gross and gooey?
One of our favourites is an orange filled with about 45 coffee beans ,45 cubes of sugar and vodka.I have some that is a few years old even – very potent! Thank you for sharing!
What is the ratio of fruit to booze, roughly? Please? I am defo doing this but don’t want it to be too weak or too strong! Thanx X