About twice a year I do vodka infusions, usually inspired by some cocktail somewhere, usually leading to a month long experiment ending with some surprising results. Last year I was on a tropical bent and made a pineapple-mango infused vodka which mixed beautifully with a cilantro simple syrup. It was deemed the oh-f*ck-thats-good-tini, since that was the most frequent response. The papaya infused vodka was a washout, too goopy and not much flavor; what the hell was I thinking, papaya?
This year I’m doing blueberry, cherry and cayenne pepper infusions. Aside from sterilizing the jars, washing, stemming, pitting and scoring all the subjects, that’s really about all there is to making an infused vodka. For the berries its about 1 C berry to 1 C vodka. For the cayenne, about 5 peppers to 1 C vodka. Jar them up. put them in a closet somewhere, come back in 7-10 days. strain and start making cocktails.
Opinions vary about how long to let them sit. I’ve tried 5 days and that worked fine for the pineapple-mango but was not enough time for herbs or ginger, they needed 14 days. Since berries have smaller surface area, I’ll shoot for 10 days. For the pepper I’ll probably go 14 days since I want it hot.
I’ve also noticed it makes absolutely no difference what vodka you use. One year I did Skyy, another year some off-brand Russian – no difference. This year I tried Dripping Springs, which is Texas local, near Austin; its also only $19/bottle. Save your Kettle One for something else.
To pair, I’m thinking of these simple syrups : Basil, Lemon and Rosemary. I’m curious about Cherry-Basil Martini, Blueberry-Basil Martini, Lemon-Rosemary Martini and Wickedly Hot Bloody Mary.
Recruiting efforts for research assistants begins momentarily.