We’ve been making gifts for handmade Christmas for the past few weeks. It’s something of a tradition at Casa Minify – for the most part, we try to give gifts that we make ourselves or that support other folks who make things. Last Christmas, we gave our families North Carolina pottery. This year, I can’t spill the beans on the blog, but I can say that we’re repeating our tradition of infusing vodkas and creating cocktail recipes to go with them! Today I give you…a step by step guide to infusing strawberry vodka! (To avoid spoilers, since our families definitely read this blog, I’m using a recipe we made a few years back – which means it’s been well tested and taster approved :)
Step 1: acquire large quantities of vodka, and whatever you wish to infuse it with. Suggestions include fruit (we like berries best), herbs (basil, mint, dill…), spices (cinnamon, vanilla), peppers and garlic. We suggest using second shelf vodka. Top shelf is expensive and won’t give you a dramatically different result. Bottom shelf vodka will taste of rubbing alcohol, plus whatever you add to it.
Step 2: sterilize glass containers (glass is best – anything else may impart weird flavors. I used glass milk jars, but I promise that I washed them and returned them to the bottle deposit when this was all over. We’re dedicated reusers and recyclers at Casa Minify).
Step 3: wash and chop your berries, herbs, or whatever you’re infusing. For the berries, we used organic strawberries to avoid infusing our vodka with pesticides or fertilizers. Then we washed and hulled them. I used a quart of strawberries to a liter of vodka. Add fruit and vodka to glass container and cover (I use saran wrap and seal with a rubber band).
Step 4: leave in a cool dark place to infuse for 4-5 days, then start checking the taste. You want to stop the infusion when the taste and color are to your liking. Strawberries do this genuinely odd thing where they leach all of their color into your vodka (turning it a lovely bright red color) and leaving you with naked, bleached berries. You’ll be able to see very clearly when this has happened.
Decant your vodka into clean containers, straining it through at least two layers of cheesecloth to filter out the solids from the infusion. I strained mine into a pyrex measuring cup, and used that to pour it into the gift bottles and jars. (Confession: one year I was a good recycler who saved pretty berry jars all year to use for the vodka gift bottles; another year I ran out and purchased some nice looking stopper bottles at the craft store).
Ta-da! You’re done! And you have lovely boozy gifts to give for handmade Christmas.