The Intoxicated Aesthete
September 7, 2009 3:22 PM   Subscribe

Help Me Give The Gift Of Drunkeness: What can I infuse in these little jars? I got a case of them as a gift and I want to turn it around into another gift, little jars of infused vodka, but I have some questions, mostly about making them pretty.

1) I've washed them out and scrubbed off the labels and kept the tops so I can re-seal them with wax later. Anything else I should know?

2) Are they large enough to successfully infuse in the jar or should I make a big batch and then re-fill all of them? I'd to have some whole fruit/spice/whatever floating in them to make em all pretty. What could I fit in them that would look good (raspberries, for example, just turn white and weird looking) and also infuse the vodka? Cinnamon sticks? Vanilla? Mint sprigs? What's in season now (Eastern US) that infuses well/is totally tasty/unusual?

3) How long should I let them sit, considering the size? Do I have to keep them out of sunlight?

4) Anything else I could do to make them super-attractive little art objects you can also consume? Do they make edible glitter?
posted by The Whelk to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I just read something in Food Network Magazine that included a recipe for candy corn infused vodka. Instructables, IIRC, had a Skittles-infused vodka recipe. I've also seen gummy bears. So it seems candy is trendy, if you've got sweets-loving friends.
posted by cmgonzalez at 3:29 PM on September 7, 2009

If you want a real wow factor using clear bottles, you might be interested in Skittles Vodka.
posted by furtive at 3:51 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

I have had good luck putting fresh mint sprigs into brandy - the mint holds together, adds a little green to the liquid, and turns a darker green
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 3:58 PM on September 7, 2009

If you want to keep the infusing ingredient in the bottle for looks, that will limit your options. The ingredient needs to be pretty dry and not prone to rot--i.e. vanilla beans, coffee beans, cloves, dried ginger, hazelnuts, cinnamon sticks, star anise, etc. Keep in mind that the result will be pretty potent in flavor from the long infusion.
Alternatively, you could make some different infusions with fruit or herbs, remove them after infusing the vodka, then add a dry spice or something else for looks. If you don't remove the fruit or herbs from the vodka, depending on their moisture content they may spoil, turn brown and unappealing, or otherwise affect the looks and taste. Keep the bottles out of the sun while infusing, and the amount of time needed varies from a few days for fresh herbs to several weeks for dry ingredients.
As for question 4--you could strain some Goldschlager and use the gold flakes!
posted by janerica at 3:59 PM on September 7, 2009

Just in terms of logistics, it's easier to infuse one or two big containers than a bunch of little ones. (You have to shake 'em up every day or so while they're infusing.)

As far as purty floaty things: I've tried this and it doesn't really work, at least not with anything organic. The floaty thing turns pale and gets a bit fuzzy at the edges and then the whole thing looks like something from a biology lab. Edible glitter does exist but the alcohol would probably degrade the color and sparkle fairly fast.

Focus on the label and the seal and tart those up to your satisfaction. You want the infusion itself to be as clear as possible to avoid the dreaded bio-lab look.

What to infuse? How about lemon balm, Herb of the Year for 2007! We've got lots of it in my community garden and you're welcome to gather up armloads. It would make an interesting grassy-lemony tipple.

On preview: Oh, hell, just go with the Skittles.
posted by dogrose at 4:00 PM on September 7, 2009

I can't believe a vegan Mefite is the first one here to mention bacon-infused vodka. I don't know who should be more ashamed.
posted by orme at 4:17 PM on September 7, 2009

Google for deals: food grade/food safe/edible gold or gold leaf.

Cook drunk the Whelk way, indeed.
posted by Juliet Banana at 4:49 PM on September 7, 2009

Assuming everyone involved would be amenable, I've heard tell that marijuana infuses quite well (THC being alcohol-soluble) and turns the resulting liquor a lovely emerald color. Start with high-proof peoppermint schnapps instead of vodka, though, and strain thoroughly.
posted by contraption at 5:51 PM on September 7, 2009

I was about to mention Orme's idea, the bacon-infused vodka. You can infuse vodka with just about anything - as far as I know - and it'll take on the flavors. I saw someone do some strawberry vodka once.

What about scouting out a local restaurant supply store and see if they've got any cake decorations that would be fun to throw in? Or if you're planning on gifting this, maybe include something that would go with the liquor well. Make peppermint vodka and include those shot glasses made from candy canes - or the molds that create an ice shot glass?
posted by bubsy012 at 5:54 PM on September 7, 2009

habanero tequila (or other chile pepper + booze of your choice) makes a wonderful gift of this size, because you just add a splash to cocktails for extra deliciousness. also excellent in lemonade.
posted by judith at 6:35 PM on September 7, 2009

As for decorating the bottles once you've made the infused vodka, I think Stuck Labels are pretty swank.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:03 PM on September 7, 2009

See if anyone you know is a beer brewer and borrow his capper. Those bottles look recappable. Reusing caps is probably not sanitary and they won't seal well. Capping with fresh caps is simple and cheap with the right tools.

I don't have any suggestions for what to infuse but I would suggest antiquing your new labels.
posted by chairface at 10:25 PM on September 7, 2009

Just infuse for a couple of days right in the bottle as they are artisanal fresh infusions not meant to be kept long term. They'll be prettiest, freshest and fully flavored after a couple of days. The vodka is a natural preservative. Dont shake. Meant to be enjoyed more or less upon receipt. Lots of happy friends! Bump up the flavor with food grade flavor oils where appropriate (tangerine, ginger, lavender, rose, etc. ) You must use flavor oils not fragrance oils. 100% Bulgarian rose otto and Bulgarian lavender oil from a reputable source are edible and leave the palate delightfully and lightly perfumed. May inspire very fine kisses unlike any you have ever had.

Stalks of lemongrass. (lemongrass vodka.)

A few drops of 100% Bulgarian rose otto and some damask rose petals.(Rose vodka)

fresh lavender branches. (Lavender vodka)

wormwood (what absinthe is made from).

Fresh cepes, morels and other wild mushrooms. (Mushroom vodka)

Fresh vanilla bean pods. (Vanilla vodka)

Cucumber. (Cucumber vodka)

Wasabi (Wasabi vodka)

Pineapple. (Pineapple vodka)

Chili pepper -chocolate (chili pepper chocolate vodka.)

Coconut (Coconut vodka)

Tangerine & mint (Tangerine mint vodka)

Fresh ginger (Ginger vodka)

Tamarind (Tamarind vodka)

Hibiscus tea (Hibiscus tea vodka)

Green tea (Green tea vodka)
posted by Muirwylde at 12:36 AM on September 8, 2009 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: The Wizard Whelk Wants Words! So I went and did it and now I have some beautiful antique jars infusing away, just waiting for cool creative labels. What Fantasy World/RPG nomenclature should I use? Dorks desperately needed! Explanation inside.

I'd like them to sound like old Monster Manuals, all insanely detailed, lots of numbers, and random quotes that are supposed to be important. All that Encyclopedia Nerdica stuff that I loved so much more than actually playing the damn games crossed with crazy old apothecary language.

Example. I made a dried mushroom and saffron vodka. I'd like it's Tag to say something like

"GNOMISH DELIGHT or Rockfruit Juice or Miner's Ruin (vul.)

CLASS: 1 (Earth-Aligned)

Made locally for Mining or Raiding parties and with radishes on Holiday. Increases to Strength, Decreases to Concentration And Dexterity. May cause agoraphobia.


And so on, in that matter. Just thorough enough to be authentic, tongue in cheek enough to be fun to write. The rest of the flavors are

Chocolate-covered espresso beans (Okay this is a haste spell of some kind, duh)
Cinnamon, (it's really strongly of cinnamon already, which makes me think of the desert)
Crystallized Ginger,
Vanilla And Mint,
Jalapeno: See I'm not sure if this dragon spit or bottled Fire elemental or Fire Resistance or ICE resistance or what.

If I do the skittles thing, it'll be a Chromatic Old Fashioned.
posted by The Whelk at 5:59 PM on September 10, 2009 [1 favorite]

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