Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Further Adventures in Vodkaland

As promised...even more vodka infusions! Check out part 1 if you haven't already.

This time, I made one of the Martha infusions and tried a bunch of my own. All the infusions in this post are made with 1.5 cups of (Texas!) vodka and infused in a cool, dark place in an air-tight jar for two days, shaking occasionally. After the infusing period, strain out everything but the vodka and store in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Beet + Horseradish
1/2 small beet, sliced
3 thin slices peeled fresh horseradish

This one came from Martha Stewart Living. Sounds savory and intriguing, right? Not so much. I thought this was totally gross. It also, somehow, reminded me of peanut butter. Sorry, but I don't want my booze to taste like borscht. Or a pbj.

Hibiscus + Vanilla
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
3 dried hibiscus flowers

This infusion turned bright pink, almost mauve, so I was worried that the hibiscus flavor would be too powerful. I was wrong. The vanilla is quite strong. Only vaguely floral. Verdict: try again, with lots more hibiscus.

Chocolate, Cinnamon + Chipotle
4 tablespoons cocoa nibs*
1 dried chipotle pepper
1 cinnamon stick

*Cocoa nibs are chocolate in its rawest form, straight from the cocoa bean. They look a little like tiny chocolate chips, and taste very intense and a little bit bitter. It's a deep, dark, mysterious flavor that, it turns out, works great in vodka.

The cocoa is yummy, and rather intense, but that's how I like it. I taste the chipotle, but the cinnamon is MIA. I'm gonna cheat this one by straining out all the other ingredients and then adding an extra cinnamon stick to the vodka and infusing for another couple of days. Then I might need a second opinion. Volunteers?

Vanilla, Cardamom + Cinnamon
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cardamom pods
5 medium-sized chips of Vietnamese cinnamon

So. full. of. win.

Seriously delicious. Still vanilla/woody, but this time in a good way. No longer tastes like a candle. I still want to do one more tweak - I'm going to try this one more time with a little bit less cinnamon.

Next up: hibiscus vodka reloaded, the verdict on the chocolate/cinnamon mix, and a final go at vanilla/cardamom. Until then!


  1. this is awesome! i think this is what i thought science class would be like when i was in 3rd grade and my brother was in 6th grade and he would tell me about their experiments. i'm sure i can't taste the difference between any of the vodkas but i still want to make some!

  2. The cacao nibs, cinnamon and chipotle combo works really well. I made a spiced rum recipe along those lines a little while back.


  3. I once had a vodka with red and white rose petals added in by the bartender. Ever try that? Not sure it added to the taste but interesting to say the least!

  4. Lovely idea! I tried an amazing hibiscus martini at a restaurant a few months ago, and haven't been able to find the flavored liqueur they used - now I can try making my own with vodka.

  5. Be sure and use more hibiscus than I did...mine turned out a bit underwhelming. I'd say 3-4 times as much. Good luck! It will definitely be very pretty. :)