Cocktail Inspiration: How To Infuse Vodka

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Last weekend, we gave you enough cocktail recipes to keep you busy all summer long (you can get the full roundup here).

If you want to spike those drinks with something special, why not try infusing your own flavored vodka?

One of our favorite infused vodkas is jalapeño, which we’ve enjoyed many times in bloody marys at a standby New York brunch spot.

Ginger or lemongrass infused vodka could make a lovely, simple martini. And as berries start showing up in the markets, we imagine fizzy vodka tonics made with strawberry, raspberry, even watermelon infused liquor.

We don’t have much experience making our own flavored vodkas, but some research has turned up these basic tips:

  • Roughly chop the fruit you’re using (or barely smash a few berries, leaving others intact) and add to a large glass container with a lid.
  • Pour in 750 mL of vodka.
  • Let steep in a dark place at room temperature — most instructions we’ve read say not to put it in the fridge — for up to one week. Stronger flavors like citrus may only take a couple of days. Subtle flavors like cucumber, berries, or herbs take longer.
  • Pour the vodka through coffee filters set in a mesh strainer, and it’s ready to use.

This article from New York Magazine follows John Rose, author of The Vodka Cookbook, around to bars in New York that serve infused vodka. It includes some recipes, including one for sour cherry vodka (mmm).

Flickr member Jocelyn McAuliflower, whose photo of green peppercorn vodka is shown above, makes bacon vodka on her blog.

A few more recipes:
Pepper Vodka from Emeril, via Food Network.
Ginger Vodka from Chow (This recipe recommends infusing overnight, but we’ve found, from limited experience with ginger vodka, that it usually needs more time.)
Lemon-Flavored Vodka from Martha Stewart


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(Image: Flickr member Jocelyn McAuliflower, licensed under Creative Commons )