1. Choose Your Infusion
The fruits that inspire your favorite flavored vodkas—lemons, apples, cranberries, watermelon—will all work, but feel free to think out of the bottle. Herbs (mint, basil, lavender), spices (cinnamon, ginger, clove) and even fruits we traditionally think of as vegetables, like cucumber—or even jalapenos—lend vodka an unexpected and exotic zing. Don’t be afraid to try combinations like cinnamon apple or blueberry mint.
2. Go For the Good Stuff
For the purest flavor, use the top-shelf vodka of your choice.
3. Slice and Dice
Cored fruits like apples and pears and stone fruits such as peaches and nectarines should be chopped up with skin on and seeds or pits discarded. Melons should be peeled and chopped, and citrus should be peeled and sectioned, with some rind reserved to include in the infusion. Berries and grapes can be left whole, but should be squeezed lightly (bruised) to allow the juices to escape. For cucumber vodka, either slice the outer layer into match-sized sticks or use just the peels.
4. Add the Vodka
Place the fruit, herbs, or spices in a bottle or jar that can be sealed with a tight-fitting cap or lid. Pour in 750 ml-1.5 liters of vodka and tightly seal. You can also add your ingredients directly into the vodka bottle, making sure to pour out some of the vodka first to create room for the fruit.
Store the sealed bottle at room temperature away from direct sunlight. Depending on the fruit or spice used, it will take anywhere from a few days to two weeks for the infusion to reach optimal flavor. Most fruits need at least a week, while ginger or cinnamon may need only 2-3 days. Taste testing along the way is fine, but the bottle will need to be refrigerated after opening.
6. Drink Up!
Add your homemade infusion to your favorite cocktail or serve it straight up to fully appreciate the flavor. Fruit- and herb-filled infusions in interesting bottles also make great hostess gifts.
For a DIY cucumber infusion recipe and cocktail suggestions, go to ReadyMade.com.
For more homemade infusion ideas, visit PlanetGreen.com.