Summer is over, (*sniff *sniff, it’s painful to even write that) and fall is in full swing now. But I’m excited for the fall season, and I picked up some good foodie tricks along the way this summer:
- Burgers made with chopped onion and jalapeno in the are dyn-a-mite.
- Grilled pineapple is an unbeatable summer dessert.
- And homemade fruit-infused vodka is downright heavenly.
Now, two of those three may not be making another appearance until next Memorial Day, but #3, the fruit-infused vodka, is my new year-long staple for entertaining. People love the fresh fruit flavor, and it makes a perfect house-warming, birthday, or even holiday gift that is easy and super affordable.
The idea first stemmed from my boyfriend Jared’s trip to Minnesota for the Frozen Four hockey game, where he happened upon a bar that had an enormous vat of pineapple with liquid on the bar. The bartender told them it was vodka and they were infusing it with the pineapple slices, so he had to put it to the test with his taste buds. Needless to say, it turned out to be the most refreshing and phenomenal thing he’d ever tasted – on the rocks even! So when he came home, we decided to give it a go ourselves.
Our first batch we recreated the pineapple infusion, but since then we’ve experimented and have done everything from mango-orange to black cherry – all equally delicious!
Here are the flavors we’ve tried that have been musts:
- Pinapple (on the rocks, tastes like pineapple juice!)
- Strawberry-Pineapple (gorgeous pink color from the strawberries)
- Orange-Mango (verrrrrry refreshing)
- Black Cherry (such a pretty dark maroon color)
Other infusions we’ve been pondering:
- Mango-jalapeno tequila (can we say yummy margaritas?!)
- Cucumber vodka (yum yum refreshing, think cucumber water)
- Blood-orange vodka (would be such a pretty color!)
- Fresh Fig-infused vodka (like tipsy figgy pudding!)
How to Infuse Vodka:
First, start out with a container. Depending on how large you want the batch to be, it can be as big or as small of a container as you like. Some people like to use mason jars to create a variety of flavors at once, I prefer making a big batch of one flavor at a time, as it tends to go quickly once it’s complete! In our case, we use a large 1.5 gallon glass beverage dispenser – it holds everything well and it looks so pretty doing it!
Purchase a decent quality vodka, we like using Skyy vodka, and typically use the larger, 1.75 liter size because we like to take bottles to friends and share.
Pick a fruit that is sweet, and cut it up to maximize surface area. It’s always fun when it’s a pretty colored fruit too (like cherries or strawberries), because the vodka retains the colors.
Lastly, you typically want to let it sit in a cool, dark place, for 10-14 days. Any longer, and the fruit will start to go bad. If the vodka still hasn’t been infused with as much flavor as you’d like, simply remove the first batch of fruit, and start the infusing process again with more fruit!
When you’re done, strain out the fruit and pour vodka into airtight containers for serving, or for gifting! Crate&Barrel makes really nice ones that are affordable and look nice as gifts (see left).
Now that fall is in full-swing, my senses have perked up to all the glorious flavors that autumn brings: pumpkin, nutmeg, squash, cinnamon, spices – oh my! A whole new world of possibilities has opened for vodka infusions!
We narrowed it down though, and decided to stick with a fall classic for our next batch: Cinnamon-Apple.
Cinnamon-Apple Infused Vodka
- 1.75 liter bottle of Skyy Vodka
- 6 Gala apples
- 3-4 whole cinnamon sticks
- 3-4 whole cloves
- Slice and core 6 sweet apples, leaving skin on. We used Gala this time but I think Fuji or Honeycrisp would be delicious too.
- Place apple slices in container for infusing, along with 3-4 whole sticks of cinnamon, and 3-4 whole cloves.
- Pour vodka in over apples-cinnamon-clove mixture.
- Let sit in a cool dark place for 10-14 days. Do not let it over-steep, or apples will become mooshy and will disintegrate.
- Strain out fruit, cinnamon, and cloves, and store vodka in airtight bottles for giving as gifts or serving to friends (see above bottle).
- Serve warm, with a bit of apple cider and a cinnamon-sugar rim for the perfect fall treat, or a fun tailgate hot toddy!
A Word of Caution:
This is straight vodka, people – and don’t forget it! It may taste like juice, and it smell like juice, but trust me – it’s not! Drink in moderation, or you may find yourself tip… tipppp….. tipppppsyyyyy…….. whooops!!!!