Ladies & Gentleman: Welcome To Flavor Country
As we’ve discussed in our previous post about making your own infusions, vodka has the benefit of being a veritable chameleon when it comes to taking on almost any flavor combination you can throw at it. Though we’ve encouraged you to get as adventurous as you’d like with your infusions, we’d be remiss if we didn’t suggest a few infusions that we feel will be perfect for the season.
These are all simple, mistake-proof mixtures perfect for dipping your toe into a world of infusions that can indeed get very, very deep with flavor.
Green Tea Cucumber: This is a tried-and-true infusion that’s perfect year-round, but especially fitting for the early days of spring thanks to its light, crisp flavor. Now, the type of tea you use can be up to you, but we suggest starting off with something light like a green or white tea. Darker teas like breakfast, black or oolong can work, but their strength means you risk pulling out too much bitterness and possibly ruining the batch.
Use about six standard tea bags per 750 milliliters of vodka. Give the bags a gentle agitation to ensure that they absorb some liquid and don’t simply float on top of the liquid. One standard sized English cucumber should be sliced into medallions measuring about the thickness of a pencil. Resist the urge to craft paper-thin slices, since this will just mean you’ll have a lot of frustrating straining to do as the cucumbers disintegrate before your eyes. These flavors are subtle, so leave the ingredients in for at least two weeks, but no longer than a month. We’d give you a more definitive timeline, but cracking open a jar and tasting your creation for ‘doneness’ is part of the fun of making an infusion!
Mixed Pepper: Spiced cocktails are all the rage right now, so much so that it seems like almost every classic recipe has a version using some ultra-spicy element. Though we don’t condone a ‘spicy old-fashioned’, we think a beautiful spring day is made infinitely better through the presence of a delicious bloody mary with pepper-infused vodka kick. For this recipe we recommend an assortment of peppers to create a balance that doesn’t just hit you over the head with eye-watering heat: bell, serrano, and jalapeno. One of each should be used, with careful consideration given to how many seeds you include from both the serrano and jalapeno peppers. The seeds and the oils within are largely the source of the heat, so make sure to carefully consider their inclusion.
Placed in 750ml of vodka, this infusion will be drinkable in as little as 24-hours due to the strong flavors involved. We recommend testing it at this point for heat, then every 24-48 hours until you feel it has achieved the desired flavor. If you think that it simply won’t get spicy enough for your taste, crush a few jalapeno seeds with the blade of your knife and place them in the mixture.
Lavender: Springtime is all about rebirth and rejuvenation as the various greenery begins to rise from their winter slumber. What flavor encompasses all these things better than lavender? Though it may not seem like an immediately apparent infusion, trust us when we say that it will surprise you with both its depth and deliciousness. Take a half cup dried lavender buds and add it to 750ml of vodka. Since the lavender is dried, it might take up to a month to achieve maximum flavor, depending on personal preference. We recommend tasting after one week and every 3-5 days after that until the desired level of infusion is achieved.
It’s a fantastic infusion that’s perfect for trying out on your next guests, since the first sip of your creation will undoubtedly be met with a look some delight, followed by the searching glance of someone trying to place that mysterious flavor.