DIY Drinking — 9 Infused Vodkas

Posted by on May 08, 2011

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To help you procrastinate a bit more, how about making a batch of homemade vodka? It’s definitely not as hard as it sounds, since the process is basically letting whatever ingredients you like soak in a clean jar filled with cheap but drinkable vodka. (A good buy is Wodka-brand vodka, a smooth spirit that retails for under $10 in most markets.) And it’s not as time-consuming as you might think! We’ve hand-selected nine recipes that will reach full flavor in less than a week. Let’s get infusing!

strawberry vodka infusion
Sweet Strawberry
Soaking time: 5-7 days

If you’re into girly-girl drinks, try adding strawberry-infused vodka instead of the usual grenadine syrup. If we can get science-y for a second, the more sugar in a drink, the quicker it tends to get into your bloodstream. This trick will take the overly-sugary factor down a few notches, therefore giving you less of a hangover. We also suggest slicing the strawberries beforehand, since that exposes more surface area and adds more flavor.
cherry vodka infusion
Tart Cherry
Soaking time: 5-7 days

For any cocktail recipe that calls for cranberry juice, reach for homemade cherry-infused vodka instead. It’ll add that tart element without the mouth-puckering quality that cranberry often has. Better yet, you can also use frozen cherries for this one (just defrost them beforehand). For another take on the cherry-booze combo, swap out the vodka for whiskey. It’ll make a heavenly version of a Manhattan cocktail right on its own.
basil vodka infusion
Zesty Basil
Soaking time: 3-4 days

Nope, it’s not just for pesto — basil makes a fantastic vodka infusion. Pour a little bit into lemonade for an Italian vacation in a glass. One note though: The steeping process tends to darken the basil, so don’t get creeped out by the darkened flecks.
jolly rancher vodka infusion
Jolly Rancher Vodka
Soaking time: Less than 2 hours

We had to include this idea for the sheer novelty factor — although the rainbow color is lovely, too. Simply crush a bunch of Jolly Rancher candies, add to the vodka and wait for the candies to melt. And as with any recipe that’s made for the novelty factor, err on the side of caution when consuming. (Ed. note: I totally made Skittles infused vodka in college for repeat spring breaks. It was awesome.)
vanilla vodka infusion
Heavenly vanilla
Soaking time: 3-4 days

A single vanilla bean packs a surprising punch, so it’s totally OK to just use one of the pricey spice. Simply split it open before adding to the vodka. Also, less time is more — remove the bean after the 3-4 day window, unless you’d like homemade vanilla extract.
mint vodka infusion
Fresh Mint
Soaking time: 3-4 days

Though it can remind you a little bit of toothpaste flavoring on its own, mint-infused vodka pairs well with chocolate liqueurs or with iced tea. Mint has such a strong taste on its own, so it’s better for the leaves to remain whole during the steeping time.
citrus vodka infusion
Bright Citrus
Soaking time: 3-4 days

Lemon or orange vodka is a great bar — and baking — basic, because a hint of citrus will always work to bring out pretty much any other flavor. While you can add citrus-infused vodkas to most cocktails, this is another one that’s a great companion for iced tea.
donut vodka infusion
Drumroll, Please: Donut Vodka
Soaking time: No one is sure.

Yep, another idea that we couldn’t not include, no matter how horrific it may seem. Here, a bunch of donuts are smooshed into a jar of vodka. Since no one knows for sure just how donut flavor should be combined with vodka, test this one after a few hours.
blueberry vodka infusion
Subtly Blueberry
Soaking time: 5-7 days

No matter how long blueberries soak, they’re not going to produce a ton of flavor. So this infusion is better for those who like to drink a single type of spirit on the rocks or shaken with ice. Here’s a bartender tip for bringing out the most flavor of the infusion: Sprinkle about a tablespoon of sugar over the fruit after you add it to the vodka. As it sits, give the mix a few stirs every other day to make sure the sugar is dissolved.

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