Cocktail mixes for home-infused vodka
April 30, 2011 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Cocktail ideas for home-infused vodkas: Strawberry, cantaloupe, vanilla-caramel, chai tea, tea with lemon and honey, bacon.

Tonight is my partner's 30th Bday party and we've spent all month making various infused vodkas (ok, some of them are suspensions (honey, caramel)) and we need some ideas for mix. They taste pretty good on their own - we bought super cheap vodka and Brita'd it a bunch of times - but still need to be put into drinks rather than just shot/sipped. Any ideas?

1) Strawberries infused in vodka 4 days, switched for fresh berries 4 more days

2) Cantaloupe chunks in vodka 1 week

3) Vanilla bean infused 1 week, a bunch of soft caramel candies added once the vanilla was done

4) Cinnamon, ginger, clove, pepper, cardamom, black tea, sugar

5) Lemon, black tea steeped over night. Honey separate, can be added if people want

6) Bacon steeped for a week, switched for fresh bacon 1 more week. Strained a bunch of times, still a little greasy (barf). We'll prob make this one into Caesars.

If you're in the Lethbridge Alberta area, come on over! :)
posted by arcticwoman to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Separate Skittles out by color/flavor and soak with vodka. It tastes really strong, but it's great when mixed and you get pretty colors.
posted by astapasta24 at 9:37 AM on April 30, 2011

I'd just provide the pantheon of traditional mixers and let people experiment on their own.

Though I'd like to try any of the first 5 with ginger ale...
posted by hermitosis at 9:51 AM on April 30, 2011

Also I've found this stuff by Pellegrino to be the ultimate mixer.
posted by hermitosis at 9:53 AM on April 30, 2011

Strained a bunch of times, still a little greasy (barf).

Freeze it and then strain it through a coffee filter. The fat solidifies in the freezer, then gets caught in the filter. I did this for bacon-infused bourbon and it worked like a dream. Be sure you're pouring it into a perfectly clean bottle (and that the funnel is perfectly clean), or the residual fat will skim the top again.

I made strawberry vodka, and I like it served pretty simply: with plenty of seltzer or club soda, a squeeze of lemon and a lemon twist, maybe a shot of simple syrup, and plenty of ice!
posted by Elsa at 9:56 AM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

For the tea-infused vodka, I'd go with lemonade. Like an Arnold Palmer, but better!
posted by Lulu's Pink Converse at 10:32 AM on April 30, 2011

Response by poster: Elsa: we did freeze it, but strained it through a bunch of layers of cheesecloth. Using a coffee filter is a great idea!
posted by arcticwoman at 12:22 PM on April 30, 2011

You might find that straining it twice, or doubling the coffee filter, is even better. I can't remember which one I did, but I was able to eliminate even the faint slick of shimmery residual fat on the surface.

I'm not sure that level of diligence is really necessary; I tasted it when it still had a bare glimmer of fatty slick on it, and it was fine. But for presentation to guests, it does look best without the trace of fat skimming the top. Be sure to clean your tools thoroughly between straining, too: funnel, sieve, vessel, everything. Or just use two sets of tools.
posted by Elsa at 12:34 PM on April 30, 2011

Response by poster: What did you serve it with? Did you do Caesars or something else?
posted by arcticwoman at 12:48 PM on April 30, 2011

all of those except the bacon would be fabulous with soda - and have some simple syrup on hand for those who like their drinks a bit sweeter

ginger ale would be good too (again, except for the bacon, I can't hel you with that)

the cinnamon and the vanillia would both be great in coffee
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 2:00 PM on April 30, 2011

What did you serve it with?

I 'm not much help there! I made bacon-infused bourbon as a gift for a bourbon drinker. When I tasted it, I just drank it neat. It would probably make a good old fashioned, too.

But I haven't tasted bacon vodka, so I'm not sure how intense its flavor is or how to serve it. Maybe as a smoky vodka martini? Or in a bloody mary, if that wouldn't mask the flavors too much.
posted by Elsa at 3:08 PM on April 30, 2011

Response by poster: Made some simple syrup, and on my way to go get some club soda, a variety of pops, and some limonata! The vanilla-caramel white russian sounds great too, I'll bring my kahlua to the party.
posted by arcticwoman at 4:13 PM on April 30, 2011

Can someone please tell me how to infuse vodka? I want to do a toblerone chocolate one. (there's an option for you!)
posted by Jubey at 4:18 PM on April 30, 2011

I'm a near-teetotaller and you would not catch me mixing vodka with anything. Vodka is to be drunk straight up, down in one, instantly chase with food. If I were Russian I would insist that no bottle be put away half-full, but I am Anglo-Saxon. Also I don't want to die.

If I were you I'd instead be thinking about what foods to serve as chasers. I'm thinking appropriately flavored tartlets. Be
careful about the choking hazard - no chunky bits big enough to block an airway.
posted by tel3path at 4:21 PM on April 30, 2011

Jubey, you infuse vodka by putting the substance in the sealed bottle for 24 hoirs and straining. I must frankly say that Toblerone flavor sounds ghastly. May I recommend instead: 12 legs of star anise, or 12 peppercorns, or several sprigs of dill, or a curlicue of lemon rind.
posted by tel3path at 4:25 PM on April 30, 2011

I'd go with either whole milk or a light cream for mixing with the chai one?

And please, please, please post the recipe for the chai vodka. How much did you use of each spice and how much tea and sugar? Did you use whole spices, ground? Tea bags, whole leaf?
posted by marsha56 at 4:42 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jubey, you might enjoy reading Infusions of Grandeur, where they infuse and review various ingredients into vodka. Different ingredients need different infusion times, and the recipes and tasting notes at IoG really explore the results of different infusion periods.
posted by Elsa at 5:02 PM on April 30, 2011 [1 favorite]

Bacon vodka in Bloody Marys.
posted by plinth at 6:14 PM on April 30, 2011

I've found that cucumber infused and dried longan fruit infused vodka are amazingly fucking delicious.

Other ideas that I've tried, you haven't yet mentioned, and work well include:

Anchovies (so much Umame!)
Violet flowers
Rose Buds
Anise seed
Dried Squid
Licorice root
Valerian root (though really don't do this)
Kava Kava root (though really don't do this)
Kola nut
Pu'erh tea
Really fresh dill weed
Shitake mushrooms
Button mushrooms
Dried seaweed
Freshly crushed rosehips
Any kind of wild edible berries or bitter herbs that grow locally, like blackberries and dandelions
Nettles work amazingly well

Also for cooking mostly,
Black/Red/Green/White freshly ground black pepper
Pandan leaves

(If you strain the bacon vodka while it is cold after putting in the freezer it will work much better and retain more alcohol but taste like ham if you do it right. MeMail me if you have access to laboratory or food grade chemicals and desire adventure.)
posted by Blasdelb at 10:10 PM on April 30, 2011 [2 favorites]

Also if you want protocols on any of these I'm happy to dig out my "lab" notebook
posted by Blasdelb at 10:11 PM on April 30, 2011

I know it's too late, but can't resist answering in case you have any leftovers or plan to do this again.

I used to live near a bar that had an earl grey infused vodka, which was probably similar to your tea + lemon infused vodka. In the winter, they served it warm with vanilla soymilk, which was just about the nicest thing imaginable on a January evening. In the summer, Arnold Palmers all the way.

I'd want to try a splash of the cantaloupe vodka in a Hendricks & Tonic, make an Aperol spritz with the strawberry, and probably shoot the others, or sip them over ice. Except for the bacon one, where you've clearly found the right thing to do!
posted by dizziest at 8:55 AM on May 1, 2011 [1 favorite]

When I'm making drinks with my home-infused vodkas, the challenge is usually that they're just so intense! I often go with the kind of thing you see on "martini menus" at fancy bars, because those are meant to be intense. The other option is refreshing instead of punchy: 2-3 oz vodka in a 12 oz glass with ice, top up with seltzer or ginger ale. (or lemonade, with black tea vodka!)

Recipes, to be served in 6-8oz martini glasses:
- 3 oz strawberry vodka, 1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries blueberries or figs, 1 dash sweet balsamic vinager, simple syrup to taste (depends on how much sugar is in the vodka, how tart the other fruit is) whirled in a blender to puree the berries, add just enough ice to ensure it's cold but not so much that it's slushy. Splash of aple juice if it's too strong.

- half chai vodka half milk, shaken with ice.

- half caramel vodka half milk, shaken with ice. (for extra points, thick caramel ice cream sauce splashed on the rim of the glass. Or chocolate for that matter. That "shell topping" stuff is kind of disgusting but makes excellent glass rims)

- half caramel vodka, half apple juice, shaken with ice, garnish with a slice of apple.

- buy a melon (cantelope or honeydew) and chunk it up into the blender (save a few chunks for garnish). Whirl it up. if it's not sufficiently juicy and liquidy, add a splash of orange or apple juice. Add canteloupe vodka (somewhere between 2-1 and 1-2 ratio depending on how strong you like your drinks, I usually go ~1-1 and then mix with ice, which waters it down a bit more) and serve with garnish. If your vodka is a good deep orange color and you make the puree with honeydew, it should be possible to put the green puree in the glass first and add the vodka, and have it fall to the bottom of the glass in a little bicolor party. Doesn't look as good once stirred up, nor do I guarantee it'll work, but it's kind of fun to try.

Fun to try is really the point of all this, now that I think of it. Make fancy rims on the glasses, too! garnishes! curls of lemon peel! chunks of fruit! sugared rims! fun!
posted by aimedwander at 8:46 AM on May 2, 2011

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