If you have some DIY spirit (pun intended) and want to try something different, a homemade flavor-infused vodka may be exactly what you’re looking for.
Drink the rainbow
Originally, vodka flavors were often introduced to mask the harsh taste of early, crudely-distilled alcoholic beverages. Over time, however, the flavor infusions became an indication of the skill of the distiller.
Today — well, they’re just tasty straight, a fun addition to mixed drinks, and they make great gifts. (Top tip: People love homemade things when they’re made well, taste good and they can get a nice buzz from them.)
What you will need to make homemade infused vodka
Each recipe varies as far as quantities and such, but here are some basic supplies you’ll want to have on hand for any infusing project:
Vodka: Duh. Don’t cheap out on this. The $6 bottle of store brand stuff that comes in a plastic bottle and smells like engine degreaser is a poor choice. On the other hand, a $60 bottle is overkill for this purpose. Middle of the road is fine.
Glass jars: Glass, plastic, or any other non-reactive material, really. Not metal. As long as you can seal it reasonably airtight, you can use it to combine your vodka with your infusing ingredient and let it steep for a while. (No, plastic wrap alone is not a seal.)
Coffee filters or cheesecloth: These are for straining your vodka after it has been sufficiently infused. I guess you could use an old t-shirt if you really wanted, but I’d at least wash it first.
Bottles: You need something to keep it in when you’re done, unless you plan on guzzling it straight out of the jar. (Hey — I’m not judging if you do.) If you plan on giving it as a gift, order some nice bottles and consider printing some labels for them. For an extra classy presentation, wrap it in a brown paper bag.
Store your vodka mixtures in a cool, dark place, and shake ’em up three or four times a day to get the flavors to mingle. The longer you let the ingredients steep, the more intense the flavor.
And here’s a bonus: In the case of fruits and veggies, you can eat the booze-enriched ingredients after they have steeped. Vodka berries, for instance, are supposed to be divine served over ice cream.
15 flavorful vodka recipes you can make at home
There are probably as many recipes for making your own infused vodka as there are… politically incorrect references to drunkenness in Russian culture. For your convenience, we shall direct you to more than a dozen delicious examples.
Sweet DIY flavored vodka infusions
Fruit vodkas: Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, limes, or combinations thereof are extremely popular — probably because they’re very tasty. Berries, melons, and apples are all applicable here, too. Be sure to wash all fresh fruits well, and remove any seeds, pits, bruises and/or stems. Slice fruits into small chunks, and plan on using about a cup of fruit per liter of booze.
Chocolate mint vodka infusion: Made with cocoa beans and fresh mint leaves.
Candy cane vodka: This recipe comes from Betty Crocker, so there’s a little insight into that American icon!
Peep-infused vodka: Get in the marshmallow spirit with the popular marshmallow chicks.
Skittles: Everyone’s favorite rainbow of flavor can be used to make an… interesting vodka taste sensation. They generally tend to be rather cloying in their sweetness, however.
Jolly Rancher candy infused vodka: Right in line with the Skittles vodka recipe above.
Strawberry-basil infused vodka, and then use it for some Boozy Strawberry Basil Lemonade!
Basil blueberry infused vodka: A variation of the above flavor combo.
Chocolate cake vodka: This video shows you to create this infusion that’s exactly like it sounds.
Vanilla vodka: Makes a great holiday beverage or after-dinner treat.
Unsweet DIY flavored vodka recipes
Chili pepper: Another one of my favorites.
Homemade bacon vodka: Apparently the bacon fat blends beautifully with the alcohol.
Roasted garlic infused vodka: Supposed to be great in a Bloody Mary.
Wasabi vodka: Maybe this one pairs perfectly with sushi.
Black tea-infused vodka: This has a little more kick than iced tea.
The list could go on and on — peppercorns, ginger, durian fruit, gummy bears, and so on. Don’t see a recipe for something? Experiment, and invent your own!
Don’t forget to try combining flavors, too: apple/cinnamon, pineapple/coconut, maple/vanilla, cranberry/lime, spiced pear, peppercorn/bacon, bee/horseradish.
If you get a little too creative and don’t like how one infusion turns out, you’re bound to have a friend or neighbor who will think it’s just about the greatest thing ever. Have fun!