Infused Vodka

Vodka

This post is the second in a series of three on edible handmade gifts.  You can find the first post on homemade vanilla extract here and the third post on homemade peppermint patty candies here.

My friend Harold, who used to guest post on Pro Bono Baker when this site was primarily dedicated to Chicago Bakery Reviews, makes excellent infusions.  He is fervently opposed to the notion that infusions have to sit for weeks on end, and creates most of his in under 30 minutes. 

Harold and I recently shared a warming winter meal at Russian Tea Time here in Chicago where we enjoyed a hearty spread of vareniky, Uzbek stew, and vodka flights.  We selected the coriander, caraway, and horseradish infused vodkas.  The horseradish infusion was so powerful and refreshing, that I decided on the spot that I should make it at home.

On a recent evening, I made three batches of infused vodkas to give as gifts: horseradish, cucumber and ginger.  Infusing your own vodka is simple and quick, and a bottle makes an excellent last minute gift -- you only need an evening and two ingredients.  It is wise to use a vodka that you wouldn't mind drinking without flavor embellishments.  It doesn't have to be fancy though.  I found a good deal on a handle of Stolichnaya to use for my gifts.  I also enjoy using Monopolowa.  I used these Quattro Stagioni 1 liter bottles to make my infusions, but any glass bottle will do. 

Horseradish Infused Vodka

Ingredients

1/2 liter vodka
4 inches horseradish root

Method

Pour half a liter of vodka into your glass bottle.  Using a vegetable peeler, skin the horseradish root.  Quarter the root from top to bottom with a sharp knife.  Now chop the four lengths into half-inch pieces.  Put the horseradish root into the vodka, give it a little shake, and set aside.  Horseradish is pungent.  I only let mine sit for about 3 hours.  It would be wise to check on it frequently in order to achieve your desired strength. Strain the vodka when it is complete.

Cucumber Infused Vodka

Ingredients

1/2 liter vodka
1 small cucumber

Method

Pour half a liter of vodka into your glass bottle.  Rinse the cucumber and chop into quarter inch discs.  Put the cucumber slices into the vodka, give it a gentle shake, and set aside. I let my cucumber vodka infuse over night.  When it has reached your desired strength, strain out the cucumber pieces.

Ginger Infused Vodka

Ingredients

1/2 liter vodka
3 inches ginger root

Method

Pour half a liter of vodka into your glass bottle. Using a spoon, peel the ginger root. Chop into quarter-inch discs.  Put the ginger slices into the vodka, give it a gentle shake, and set aside. I let my ginger vodka infuse over night.  When it has reached your desired strength, strain out the ginger pieces.

Homemade Peppermint Patties

Homemade Vanilla Extract