Last-minute gift: Holiday infused vodkas


Infused vodka | Kale and AleAfter coming across a festive cranberry-lime infused vodka (on where else, Pinterest!), I knew that would be a great gift for my friends who enjoyed my infused vodka post. I found cute airtight bottles at Crate and Barrel, and Ikea has something similar.

I made cranberry-lime vodka for Christmas and blueberry-lemon vodka for Hanukkah, but any combo that sounds good with the colors you want would work. (For example, strawberry-basil vodka would also work for Christmas, or use your friend’s favorite colors or flavors.)

If using berries, prick each berry with a fork or knife and put into the bottle. Every so often put a twist of citrus in the bottle until it’s almost full (only using about half the citrus peel per bottle — it’s strong!). Put about two tablespoons sugar in the bottle to cut the tartness and fill with vodka. Seal and put it in the refrigerator until you are ready to give it to the lucky recipient. The vodka quickly changed from clear to the color of the berry used, but the vodka will need about a week to be fully infused.

I included some drink recipes with the gifts, but just about any infused vodka would be good with tonic water, orange juice (or many other juices), lemonade, ginger ale or citrus soda, to name a few mixers.

Infusing vodka

I am almost always drinking either water, coffee or beer (in that order). Although I pretty much stick to those, I decided to branch out into vodka.

Having come across many resources for infused vodka, I wanted to give it a try. Now that I’m settled into a new and bigger kitchen and the temperature is increasing, I am grabbing infusions from my CSA and tackling this drink.

I first read about infused vodka from The Kitchn, which linked to a pepper vodka recipe by Emeril Lagasse. Twist my arm, this heat-seeking fan was on board! Then 10 secrets to perfect liquor infusions popped in my Google Reader. And drinks enthusiast Cavan posted a fun video about infusing (and drinking) vodka.

I made two flavored vodkas: Jalapeno and garlic vodka and cucumber and basil vodka. I plan to infuse more vodka in the future and think the sky is the limit for flavor combinations. Whatever flavor of drinks or tastes you like can work together. It’s a fun experiment that won’t go to waste either way.

Jalapeno garlic vodka and Spicy Bloody Mary

Jalapeno-garlic vodka

  • Slice 4 jalapeno in half and scrap out the seeds and white membrane (the spicy parts).
  • Peel 3 garlic cloves
  • Put into airtight container. Cover with vodka and place in fridge. Shake every other day to mix flavors.
  • Taste in about a week or continue for a few more days to your liking.
  • Strain vodka into a container to stop the infusion.

I have had this vodka in a bloody mary (awesome) and with a dirty martini. I plan on trying it with fresh-squeezed orange juice and think it would be great in lemonade.

Cucumber basil vodka and Cucumber basil vodka tonic with frozen blackberries

Cucumber-basil vodka

  • One handful basil leaves
  • Two peeled and sliced cucumbers
  • Put into airtight container. Cover with vodka and place in fridge. Shake every other day to mix flavors.
  • Taste in about half a week or continue for a few more days to your liking.
  • Strain vodka into a container to stop the infusion.

I tried this by itself and it was perfect. So cool and refreshing. I added tonic water and frozen blackberries and got a very refreshing and summer vodka-tonic. I think the cucumber and basil would compliment a lemonade nicely.

I really need to get some lemonade!

What cold adult beverages do you reach for on a warm day?