November 22, 2010

Tiny-Budget Entertaining: Infused Vodka

One of the few things we love more than saving money or hosting some of our friends for a mid-week dinner party is drinking hard liquor!

While that's a joke, we do love a cocktail every now and then, and one of our favorite ways to make a delicious cocktail and save some money, is to use cheap/er Vodka and then infuse it with some fruits or herbs.  You can even filter your own cheap Vodka at home, using a water filter to remove some impurities.

But here's how we roll!

Step One-- Vodka buying time

Really you can't go wrong here, Vodka was traditionally a cheap form of alcohol.  Also, if you are infusing it, and not drinking it straight up, you're not really going to be telling all that much of a difference. Ours was about $13 for 1 liter.

Step Two-- Buying produce

This step is really up to you.  What are you in the mood for?  Will you drink it at a party right away, or save it to give away for a special occassion?  Say if a Christmas party is on the docket, some cranberries, or fresh ginger and cinnamon could be fantastic options.

Step Three-- Mixing

Now you may be asking: how much vodka should I use when infusing? My answer is, put a little more in than you think looks right.  You can always add more Vodka to the concoction way easier than waiting 3-7 days for it to infuse.  You don't want the infusion to knock your socks off. As far as prepping the produce, I would recommend cutting it into slices, and not to muddle it--we're not making a cocktail after all.

Step Four-- Getting fun

We left our vodka to infuse in an air tight (and really clean) jar for 4 days, but you could leave it up to 7.  Just wait until the produce characteristics come through, when testing I would recommend mixing it with a little club soda, which should highlight the flavors.

Step 5--Filter and Store

Use a coffee filter or a cheese cloth in a strainer, make sure to eliminate any pulp remaining, filter twice if you have to.

For Thanksgiving, we're mixing our cranberry-ginger vodka with some fresh apple cider! Nom nom nom.

We ended up making:

left: mint-lime infused vodka

center: cranberry-ginger infused vodka

right: apple-cinnamon infused vodka

The verdict: We tasted each vodka mixed with ice and club soda. .

They all smelled really, really awesome. The cranberry-ginger vodka was the smoothest, but the ginger is the only flavor that really came across. We may use reconstituted, dried cranberries the next time. The ginger really cut through the vodka taste nicely.

The cinnamon in the apple-cinnamon was super strong, but it would be awesome in a wintery mixed drink. Yum!

The mint-lime was Ally's favorite- very citrusy and the mint was refreshing. We would mix it with some tonic and add a squeeze of fresh lime and some muddle cucumbers for an amazing summer drink.

In the end, they all ended up tasting completely different and surprising us with their unique flavor profiles.Not bad for a $13 bottle of vodka, and we ended up with 3 concoctions that are all very drinkable and festive!

Let us know in the comments what YOU would infuse vodka with!!!


  1. Oooh love it! I'd do pineapple with cilantro. Nommy nom nom.

  2. I'm with Jon, it would be like all the fruit they put on the swords inside Chinese food cocktails!


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