My best friend and I have reached a point in our relationship where we pretty much only exchange alcohol, because we know we’ll probably enjoy it together — but they can be great gifts for near-strangers, too. Obviously, booze prezzies aren’t appropriate for everyone, but as long as you’re confident the recipient isn’t in recovery, liquor can be a great general-intereste gift with a bit more bite than a soap set. You can make the gift of a good bottle more personal by making it yourself with one of these recipes for infused vodka.
You will need:
- Pretty bottles. I like swing tops, but you can use anything that creates a good seal: a Mason jar or a cork-top bottle, for example.
- Alcohol. Vodka is the easiest to start with. Choose a decent brand, maybe?
- Produce. You can use just about any combination of fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Commonly used items include basil or oranges.
- A strainer
- Mailing labels and a printer or markers
I’mma be straight with you: The recipes I found online vary wildly, and from that I took the lesson, “There’s no one right way to infuse vodka.” I’m sure some techniques make a better product than others, but I also feel pretty secure in assuming it’s hard to completely fuck up alcohol when you aren’t making said alcohol completely from scratch.
I started with an okay bottle of vodka: FRIS. Some recipes told me I should use GREAT vodka to start with, and others said the quality of vodka didn’t matter much. I went with a bottle that was $10 on sale.
Select and wash your ingredients. Inspect them for gushiness and mold, and compost any grossberries. Cut them up if you need to. We had blackberries and raspberries in our fridge, and when I paired them with lemon zest the smell was enticing, so I threw some peel in there as well.
Drink some of the vodka so as to make room for the infusion. We took out a half a tumbler of drink and used it to make screwdrivers.
Add ingredients to bottle.
Let bottle infuse, shaking once per day. This is another area where I found a lot of variance: some sites had identical recipes attached to personal testimonies, each prescribing a different time span that the infusion must age. One bloggess told me to put the blackberry vodka in the fridge overnight and enjoy the next day, while others told me the bottle needed to steep for two months.
I let mine sit for five days and it turned out just fine. Different ingredients infuse differently, so your mileage may vary. The good news is: if you have an extra bottle or are making your infusion for personal use, you can test as it ages.
[related-post align=”right”]When the vodka’s all grown up you can strain it into its new bottle. Then it needs one final touch: your personal label. Pick up a pack of mailing labels, and print or draw a message on them. Save this step until last, as some inks can run when wet.
Gather your ingredients, and get to gifting. If you can’t figure out what to put in that bottle, check out Grandma Club’s little collection of recipes for limoncello and other liqueurs, or give basil vodka some consideration.