To life, to life, la kayim! The joy of home-enhanced booze.

By Andrea Karim on 27 December 2006 (Updated 10 June 2007) 12 comments

Cherry poppin' cocktails

OK, so this is too late for Christmas, but there's still time before New Year's to try this out. I was pondering the range of joy and sorrow that is the homemade gift.

Now, some homemade gifts are terrible. I mean, terrible. There are macrame plant holders in my past that I'd really rather not discuss. My best friend once received a crotchless lace bodysuit - from her boyfriend's grandmother. Some homemade gifts, however, such as my Aunt's famous homemade pickles, are so fantastic that family members come to fisticuffs over who receives her (rather scant) annual bestowal of two jars of pickles (this year, it was my turn).

I'm a lousy baker. Every year, my boyfriend returns from work with bags and bags of scrumptious cookies, fudge, pastries, and other ass-widening goodness that his coworkers' wives whip up and hand out for the holiday season. I feel simultaneously bemused and jealous. Aw, Suzy Homemaker made some delicious cookies. God. I wish I could do that. But seeing as how I can't, I'd rather send my man off to the holiday work week with a bag of many bottles of good Polish vodka, but that can be pricey.

A few weeks ago, I read a small article in one of my favorite homemaker magazines (Sunset? Better Homes and Gardens?) about creating your own infused vodka. Apparently, vodka's not just for mixing anymore (we people of Slavic descent realize that vodka should be consumed like water, but apparently the rest of y'all have been mixing it with other non-alcoholic beverages to create "cocktails"). New, infused vodka flavors are served over ice, or with neutral flavored soda pop as a mixer.

Sure, sure, you're thinking, but Absolut makes their own flavored vodkas already (including black pepper, which for some reason, NO ONE TOLD ME ABOUT UNTIL YESTERDAY) - why go to the trouble of creating your own?

Well, for one, it's cheaper. You can buy a plain, less-expensive bottle of vodka (a HUGE one, if you live in Las Vegas) and divvy it up into small batches that you can give as gifts or enjoy before work in the morning. Also, you can create a much wider variety of vodka flavors. Why limit yourself? Imagine receiving a gift basket of five different, exotic flavors of vodka - would YOU complain?

Apparently, the process is easy. Vodka kills most germs, so while you probably don't want to go throwing a bunch of scummy socks into a bottle to see if Eau de My Feet is popular with your drinking buddies, you apparently don't have to worry too much about spoilage. That said, you should wash fruit and fruit peels before using any part of them.

For fruit-infused vodkas, you can apparently drop entire berries, or slices of citrus fruits, right into the bottle. Popular vodka infusion flavors include raspberry, lemon, orange, and (the now annoyingly ubiquitous) pomegranate. Play-it-safers also like coconut, cranberry, vanilla (yawn), and espresso.

I'm personally going to try out lavender, rose, green peppercorn, elderberry, mango, kumquat (because I like the word), star anise, ginger, chamomile, jasmine flower, and a variety of tea flavors.

According the article that I originally read, but now cannot find, you should let the ingredients infuse the vodka for something like six months to ensure that you get peak flavor. However, other online recipes say that a couple of days is enough for some of the fruit infusions. Also, I suppose you could always put a "Don't enjoy until" sticker on each tiny, adorable bottle to ensure that the yummy fruit flavors are fully distributed throughout the bottle.

SFGate.com article on infused vodkas
Sunset Magazine recipe 1 and 2
Great picture of infused vodkas (I think)

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Will Chen's picture

But is the process going to look like this?

 

 

Andrea Karim's picture

At least, from the clean-up point of view. Might be tricky with mangoes. Oh, you know what would be good? Musk melons. Then it WOULD smell like feet, but hopefully taste wonderful.

Greg Go's picture
Greg Go

I wonder if there's enough time to make a bottle for New Year's eve. It would be cool getting smashed on eau de feet vodka shots.

Guest's picture
Paul

Hi, Just read this article, I made a couple of vodka drinks (not quite infused maybe, but great all the same)

1 bottle of plain vodka....1 packet of skittles (uk) take out the green ones...add to bottle, refridgerate for one day. Skittles disolve, lovely pink colour and can be drank neat or with soda/white lemonade....very summery...also very sweet though.

-or-

1 bottle of vodka + 1 packet of fishermans friends troat losenges.

grind up the losenges, pour into bottle, refridgerate...longer the better (smoother taste) and you get the most incredible shot drink....menthol and vodka....really it's quite nice. (fisherman friends also come in cherry flavor which are nice too.)

Will Chen's picture

When I searchf for "kayim" this article is the 5th in the results. Is anyone else getting that???

Andrea Karim's picture

Transliterations can be weird. I Googled a number of times before deciding on this spelling.

Will Chen's picture

The Google dolphins love you best.

Andrea Karim's picture

Paul, that sounds delectable. Anything involving Skittles or Nerds is good with me.

Oddly enough, when I Googled "infused vodka" yesterday, I didn't get very many returns that seemd worthwhile, in terms of mining for recipes. Today, I got TONS. So the Google dolphins are working extra hard to make this dream a reality.

[does a backflip and takes a well-earned mackerel from her trainer]

Greg Go's picture
Greg Go

The skittles suggestion sounds perfect! Still have time for New Year's Eve....

Thanks Paul!

Guest's picture
Brian

Great article, and I think I'll be trying the Skittles trick soon (seems like a great way to mask the taste of super-cheap spirits!).

I love the taste of Cilantro. I wonder if that work or just result in a disgusting mess?

Guest's picture
Guest

What about veggies? Ya think Jalapenos would work? I'm strongly leaning towards stopping by Trader Joe's and getting some Monopalowa and Red Hots after work...

Guest's picture
Guest

la kayim means cheers