how to make your own infused vodka with fruits + spices + herbs

cocktails, creating, drinks, fruits, preserving, recipes, vodka

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Am I only one up late, perusing the pages of Pinterest, bookmarking recipes in my blog feed, and searching the likes of Foodgawker, Liqurious, and Tastespotting for the perfect fall or winter cocktails?  Beautifully constructed and tastefully paired cocktails can really set a table apart and send your dinner guests home with a memorable experience.  Better yet, creating a cocktail, using spirits you infused yourself, adds a personal touch, is an excellent conversation piece, and is equally self-rewarding!

Three days ago, I started four infused vodkas to incorporate with holiday specialty cocktails.  Because the drinks you craft are only as good as the quality of ingredients that you choose, be sure to try and select organic, fresh, in-season, ripe fruits and herbs.  Here are the four, which are integrating in my refrigerator right now:

  1. cranberry + raspberry + blueberry
  2. green apple + honey crisp
  3. tangerine + tangelo + spice {cinnamon, star anise, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg}
  4. grapefruit + rosemary

The process is beyond easy and only requires a few items:

  • medium to premium grade vodka {I am a Ketel One subscriber, but if you want to cut costs, without cutting quality, Svedka works beautifully}
  • your choice of fruit, spices, or herbs
  • jars for infusing {I simply use Mason jars for small batches}
  • cheesecloth or a chinois for straining


  1. Wash selected fruit and/or herbs.
  2. Slice fruit and/or herbs and place in jar.
  3. Pour desired amount of vodka into jar {I used about 1 1/2 cups per small batch}.
  4. Cover and store in the refrigerator.
  5. Shake two to three times daily.
  6. Taste along the way, until desired flavor intensity is reached.
  7. Strain contents through a chinois or cheesecloth into a clean, resealable storage container.
  8. Keep refrigerated for up to two months…if they last that long!

The key is to make small batches and experiment with different flavors.  Some components infuse faster than others.  Hot peppers take only hours to impart their potent flavor.  Intensely flavored herbs, garlic, sweet peppers, vanilla, and citrus take only a few days.  Moderately flavored berries, melons, pineapple, ginger, apples, and stone-fruits may sometimes take a week or more.  I found a great general guideline to infusion times, here.

I am starting these infusions now, so they will be ready once the holidays roll around.  I anticipate an elegant green apple vodka and Calvados martini, splashed with some Prosecco and, perhaps, a berry vodka, graced with fresh lime juice and Champagne.  I will have to think of another for the non-bubbles lovers out there {who are you?!}.  The photo below shows the progress after only three days of infusing; already the colors are richer in each jar.  I added the sprigs of rosemary and the spices after the first two days, since those seemed more overpowering.  Do you make any infused spirits?  Do you experiment with spirits other than vodka, like, whiskey or rum?  Hopefully, you will find these links inspiring, as I did, when selecting your ingredients and dreaming up cocktail creations…

  • Punk Domestics lists multiple cocktail ideas, specifically the nasturtium vodka they showcased.  Had I heard about this earlier this summer, I would be sipping on some right now.
  • This tutorial from the Kitchn gives a great ratio of fruit-to-vodka and offers adorable packaging suggestions.
  • For the adventurous, Bon Apetit highlights culinary-inspired infusions, suggesting gin and tequila as base spirits.
  • You can read more on my initial foray into the infusion world, here, when I infused vodka with…drum roll, please…bacon.  Combined with muddled jalapeño peppers and fresh tomatoes, a most delicious bloody Mary was born.


Let me know your thoughts!


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