Category Archives: Vodka

Vodka Research – Demon Mary

IMG_1304The vodka research continues with the only infusion I haven’t tried yet – Cayenne Vodka! This is my absolute favourite Bloody Mary rendition – Demon Mary.

  • 2 ounces Cayenne Vodka
  • 4 ounces Tomato Juice
  • 2 t Lemon Juice
  • 1/4 t Horseradish
  • 1 pinch Celery Salt
  • 1 pinch Lava Salt (or other seasoned salt)
  • 3 dashes Sriracha
  • 2 dashes Green Tabasco
  • 2 dashes Red Tabasco
  • 2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce

Shake with ice and pour over ice. Garnished in the photo with lemon, spicy pickle, garlic-stuffed olives, cherry toms and a cayenne pepper.

Fair warning, this is a little warmer than mildly amusing. If you have more than one, then as they say in Texas – “Bless your heart”. And while you’re at it, might as well bless your colon.

Vodka Research – Lemon Rosemary

Still in experiment mode, however other life events are making my vodka research efforts more difficult.

IMG_1293Lemon-Rosemary is also a great combination but I’m still partial to the Cherry-Basil. No infused vodka in this mix, just a straight vodka mixed with two flavoured syrups.

  • 2 ounce vodka
  • 1 t Lemon Syrup
  • 1 t Rosemary Syrup

For Lemon Syrup: Grate/Microplane one lemon. Boil up 1.5 C sugar, 1 C water, remove from heat, throw in grated lemon peel, let cool, strain off peel.

For Rosemary Syrup: Boil up 1.5 C sugar, 1 C water, remove from heat, throw in 4 sprigs rosemary, let cool, strain off rosemary.

It was sheer accidental genius that I made lamb kebabs as a interlude snack for myself and research assistant since the lemon and rosemary paired beautifully with the lamb. I’m going to advertise that as strategy to everyone else.

Vodka Research – Cherry Basil

Another day,  another combination. I’d really like to do them all in one sitting but 5am would look worse than it already does.

Whoa! The Cherry-Basil combination is better than the Blueberry-Basil and I was not expecting that. The Cherry Vodka is extremely rich;  cherry hitting all parts of the mouth and tongue at once with a sweet-tart flavor. The basil from the Basil Syrup adds a citrus note to the mix, brightening the cherry flavor and  balancing the sweetness.

Overall this was a sweeter experience than Blueberry-Basil but I found adding basil strips tricked my brain into focusing more on the basil than the sweet. Next time I think I’ll tie up the basil strips somehow so its less like drinking a martini through lawn cuttings.

The same proportions as Blueberry-Basil seem to be the bestIMG_1282

Shake over ice and strain into a martini glass.


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Vodka Research – Blueberry Basil

Here at the Institute for Vodka Research we take our work seriously for many reasons. Our research indicates that vodka increases your ability to dance and sing loudly  by yourself to songs you don’t even like  by over 29%. It also increases the aesthetics of almost everyone you meet by more than 32%.

If you missed the bit about how to make your own Blueberry Vodka, refer back to the Infusions post. Personally I don’t like off-the-rack flavoured vodkas, they taste chemical to me. Tastes vary.

To make a Basil Simple Syrup bring 1 1/2 C Sugar, 1C Water to a boil, remove from heat, throw in 4 sprigs of basil and let cool. Strain off the basil. This will make loads but you can freeze it ice cube trays then pop it into Ziplocs for later research. Probably best to label the Ziploc before the research.

After a few renditions, the best proportion isIMG_1281

  • 2 oz Blueberry Vodka
  • 1 1/2 t Basil Simple Syrup

Shake over ice then strain into a martini glass.

The blueberry gives the mix a tangy quality that hits mid palate. The basil syrup gives a little citrus quality and sweetness to round out the flavors. The pairing is surprisingly good.


Your horrible bitch-boss is a fading memory. You can dance. Everyone loves you.


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?

IMG_1205 IMG_1206

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.