Tag Archives: vodka

Infused Vodkas

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Make holiday gifts for your drinking friends.This is for you fellow procrastinators. If you are like me, you think once you get through Thanksgiving that you have a fair amount of time before you are handing out the presents. This is an awesome gift you can whip this up in about 5 days. You should keep in mind you may be getting drunk dials from your friends telling you how much they “love you man” after they try it.

I have done a lot of experimenting with infusing vodkas over the years and they make great, homemade gifts that are inexpensive and dazzle the brain of your drinking pals. Who knows, you could eventually launch a career as a mixologist creating new and exciting flavor combinations (which you should share with us).

Here is the Ninja skill info:

VODKA: You don’t need to use expensive vodka when infusing.  I prefer to buy Smirnoff triple distilled as it is a good clean vodka, and you can buy it in bulk. Sometimes it is on sale around the holidays. If you use cheaper vodka than that, I have heard running it through a water pitcher that has a built in filter three times.  I haven’t tried it, but it sounded like good information to share. If you are in a hurry and want to kill two birds with one stone, a good vodka bottle that you can reuse easily is EFFEN Vodka. You can cut the rubber label off quickly and reuse to decant back into. 

GIFTING: Jars and bottles with attached rubber stoppers are great for gift-giving. You can find them at craft stores or at stores like World Market. Mason jars can be found at dollar stores, grocery stores, antique shops, even garage sales and are cost-effective. You can purchase new lids and rubber rings at grocery stores (most of the time). A quick way to finish off the look is by cutting a thin piece ribbon or kitchen string and make a small folded card on some thicker paper.   Handwrite the ingredients you used or a recipe you like to suggest.  Punch a hole through the folded card and tie around the neck of the bottle. Awesome gift giver…check!

DECANTING: With any ingredients you leave in the bottle, once the vodka level has diminished, the ingredients can mold if exposed. Then, it has to be thrown away. It is a better idea to infuse then decant into a new jar for long-term storage.   This will make the vodka last for months or even a year. Pour slow to keep the ingredients at the bottom, or use a fine strainer to pour into another container.

INFUSIONS:

I will spare you the dramatic details of my failures. Some ingredients will work, others do not and require you pour it down the drain.  You should always use ORGANIC ingredients when possible. Especially with fruit and herbs. A good rule is to not use anything that won’t hold shape in water over a day. Don’t try throwing chocolate or cheese into vodka, it isn’t going to be good.

YUCK!

1. Cherries – sounds great but was horrid.

2. Peaches- I added two ripe peaches and there was no peach taste at all. I am convinced that the only way to get peach flavored vodka is to use artificial ingredients.

3. Just throwing in citrus. It looked pretty but the pith made it bitter…so make sure to follow the decanting directions or you will just be back to the drain.

Feel free to post comments on this post with any trials you have created that may have made this list.

YUM!

1. Citrus: lemons, (Meyer or regular) oranges, tangerines, limes and grapefruit. Just make sure they are ORGANIC as you don’t want a bunch of pesticides in

Investing in a quality zester is recommended.

your drink. Seriously, don’t even bother as you would have to heat up the skins to remove all the wax on regular fruit and it is a pain in the buttocks. Always zest the lemon or it will become bitter because of the pith (the white part between the rind and the fruit).  If you use the rind, you can always leave it in the bottle.

ZESTING NOTES: Zest two-three rinds of the citrus of your choice with a potato peeler or zester and add to a large jar.   You can use a lot more if you want just a citrus blend. Choose fruits that have a smoother rind for easier zesting. Buy extra fruit if you want to avoid the pith as it is better to just use another lemon or orange instead of risking the bitterness. Make sure to avoid all the white on the fruit, especially lemons.  You can add other items like cranberries, rosemary or ginger.

2. Raspberries: Black or red work great but you will have to decant as the color is drained from the fruit and it looks like creepy white brains floating about. Lemon works well with this fruit.

3. Bloody Mary (Savory): A combo or alone – Garlic, Bell Peppers (a combo of color looks nice) Horseradish, Onions, Jalapenos and Basil (If you use basil, make it easy to remove as it looks gross after a couple of days. You can use a spice ball or mesh tea ball  If you use a wide mouth jar to infuse your vodka, you can always remove it and leave the rest in if you wanted, just keep in mind the levels of the vodka keep it from molding.

4. Cranberries: Great addition to the citrus flavors or by itself.

5. Ginger – This makes a great cocktail with seltzer water and lemonade. You can buy the crystallized ginger at places like Trader Joe’s, World Market and Whole Food’s.

6.  Some other combos are Vanilla and Cardamon, Beet and Horseradish and a great list at Martha Stewart’s web site with the number of days to infuse the vodka flavors. I haven’t tried any of these, but they all look amazing, especially the Cardamon, Anise and Chile recipe.

MMM. Vodka.

MATERIALS:

(makes 3 gift bottles or 4-6 jars depending on the size)

  • Large sealed container or containers to infuse the vodka
  • Sterilized jars or clean bottles to decant your finished vodka into
  • Ingredients you want to infuse
  • Large bottle of vodka such approx 1.5 liters

DIRECTIONS:

1. Add vodka to large container or divide if using multiple containers

2. Add ingredients you want to infuse

3. Let sit in a dark cool place for 4-5 days unless you are using a recipe that requires less time

4. Decant into clean bottles

5. For gifts, decorate for a nice finishing touch and include recipes of ways to use the vodkas if they are really unusual combinations
6. If for yourself, a cool way to display on your holiday table check out this additional craft at Martha Stewart on vodka ice blocks made with juice containers. If you use the napkins like she shows, don’t use cranberries as they stain like mad. I like the greenery and oranges…very beautiful.
Drink Responsibly. Do not spill this!

Spicy Elitist Bloody Mary

Sugar Free/ No Corn Syrup

Sugar Free / Atkin's friendlier

I call this drink the Elitist only because it is perfect.  I will try and write this fast because I am drinking my Bloody Mary as I type this which also means I will be tipsy when editing. No judgy.

I know there are about a bagillion recipes of Bloody Mary’s out there in blogs. Why is the one I am perfecting any different? Well, every commercial Bloody Mary mix out there contains sugar or corn syrup. I was a bit perplexed as isn’t a good Bloody supposed be spicy hot goodness? What is the point other than to spike crazed insulin rampages making you drink four instead of one? Nonsense!

First, I must confess I did not like Bloody’s until about three years ago. I was more of a Rum drinking sort of girl but as the years pass by I gain layers of cush like rings on a tree. Sugar drinks BAD. Vodka drinks GOOD. So if you are on the Atkin’s Diet, Weight Watchers and of course the “I’m not an idiot, I should know better than to put that in my face” diet then this is a great drink for you to drown your diet sorrows in.  Regardless of the diet, no-no on drinks like the Mojito and anything with Bailey’s Irish Cream in it are tasty but will give you a hangover or a sugar coma. Some know that Atkin’s low carbo diets there is NO unnatural sugars allowed. So you can thank me later for getting this figured out.

Here in Chicago, we like to put a lot of “stuff” in our drinks. My favorite Bloody at a restaurant has to be at the Twisted

It may not look pretty but it sure is tasty.

Spoke here in Chicago. I am not going to say much except that it is like lunch in a drink including a “sidecar” of beer which is a small glass on the side. That was actually the first Bloody Mary I ever made it through as I liked switching back and forth with my variety of drinks.

I have experimented by making my own Bloody Mary infused vodka  (recipes coming soon) but you can use any vodka. The key is to make this in batches as they are rather time consuming when you make them drink by drink due to the number of ingredients. It is a great drink to take to the laundry mat and really is much more entertaining than pop machine. If planning on binge drinking, make this ahead of time in your fridge as adding is hard with a hangover.

This is a recipe for 4 large drinks depending if you put it over ice. I like medium spicy, so this is for my taste. If you want it hotter, increase parts of the spice portion of the recipe. This recipe uses spicy vodka which will alter the taste quite a bit.  You can mix this in a large container with a wide mouth and plastic lid if you plan on taking it somewhere. I like reusing the tomato juice containers.

In the container:

  • Mixture for Bloody Mary Recipe
    Make it in bulk so you don’t have to think about it!

    5 shots of vodka. I made my infused vodka with poblano peppers, onions, garlic cloves, basil, habanero hot sauce and olives(big vessel sitting for a month). If you use spicy vodka then you will probably want to adjust the spice section of the recipe to taste. I would only adjust the horseradish and hot sauce as it may get too salty otherwise.

  • 4 cups of low sodium V8 or tomato juice. I like the V8 but ifyou are watching carbs, use the tomato. Make sure it is low sodium as the spice mix has a ton of salt in it. Otherwise, it gets to be too salty and I love salt.
  • 1 1/2 shots of Worcestershire sauce.
  • 2 shots of any olive juice

*SPICE SECTION*

  • 8 TBSP of horseradish. Increase this if you want to have more “bite”
  • 20 Dashes of any regular hot sauce. I prefer Cajun Sunshine but any Louisiana Hot Sauce is good.
  • 4 TBSP of Bloody Spices  (recipe below)

SHIT TO PUT IN YOUR DRINK
Olives Celery, Pickle spears,(Pickled Okra, Beans or Asparagus also work well and often served in the South) Beef sticks, salami on a toothpick, lemons and even shrimp. Steer away from sweet pickles or carrots as they have sugar in them.

BLOODY SPICES (I make this in bulk so I don’t have to make it every time) I just keep it in an air tight dispenser.

2 parts Celery salt
3 parts Cajun Seasoning. (I like the Weber Grill spice mix New Orleans flavor- I would experiment)
Stir Well
This can be used on your glass rim as well.

Use a lemon as water won't work for sticky rims.

To assemble:

  1. Chill 4 pint glasses
  2. Cut a lemon into wedges
  3. Take out the glasses and squeeze a wedge into the glass. With the remainder of the lemon, drag it around the edge of the glass. Dip the rim into a flat bowl or wide ramekin filled with Bloody Spices to coat the rim. Take the lemon and spear it onto a toothpick if desired.
  4. Stick the celery in.
  5. Add ice to 2/3 of the glass if serving with ice
  6. Spear any of the things above to put in your drink Make sure everything can be accessed from the top of the glass. Don’t let toothpicks float to the bottom as it is unsafe if your guest doesn’t see it!
  7. Shake the jug of mix and then pour into the glass.
  8. Smirk (as you just made a bad ass drink)
  9. You can serve with a side car (small glass) of beer with it to drink in-between

A side note is that with the new points system by Weight Watchers(TM) This calculates to be only 4 points per drink if you don’t put meat in it. Virgin’s only are 1 point! As for low carb watchers stay away from any sweet pickles as they are high in carbohydrates due to sugar content. I don’t know the carb count as I am currently on WW as of yesterday.

Enjoy my ninjas ~


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