The third of my infused vodkas is the only savoury one I’m sharing. I have a sweet tooth, well several actually, and therefore it is extremely hard to find savoury infusions that I actually like…
This infusion is mainly for those who like their bloody mary mixtures a little more home-made and flavourful. Infusing Tomato and Basil into a quality Vodka will, if done correctly, add a completely new layer of depth in flavour. Sure Bloody Mary Cocktails are great, but you can always do it better…
Tomato & Basil Vodka
6 large tomatoes
Handful of fresh Basil
70cl (700ml) High-quality Vodka
Cut each tomato up into 8 pieces put into a sterilised glass jar with the fresh basil.
Add the vodka, seal the bottle and gently shake to mix the ingredients.
Store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight for up to 7 days.
Fine-strain into the original vodka bottle, and discard the solids.
Re-seal the original bottle and store in a cool, dry place away from sunlight or in the fridge.
Whilst I don’t usually go for such a savoury concoction, this one works rather well in a particular type of vodka based cocktail: Bloody Marys.
Basil Bloody Mary
50ml Tomato & Basil Infused Vodka
150ml Fresh Tomato Juice
2 sprigs Fresh Basil
1/2 tsp Tabasco Sauce
1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
Garnish: Olives & peppered cheddar skewers, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper..
Muddle the basil leaves with half a lemons worth of juice.
Half fill the glass with ice and then the same again with the Bloody Mary Mix.
Add in the vodka, stir and then add the tabasco and worcestershire sauces.
top up with ice and then garnish with a skewer comprised of the olives and cheddar squares, and a sprig of basil.
Combined with various other savoury ingredients the tomato and basil flavour really shines through and even takes away some of the alcohol burn associated with a strong drink…
To visit the ‘A Beautiful Mess’ – the site home to the recipe upon which i based my own, please click here.
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: If you have any vodka cocktails that involve tequila, you should definitely give this infusion a try. It pairs well with tequila and especially spicy cocktails!
This cocktail is a great Canadian staple and works brilliantly for those who like their bloody marys a little more seasoned than most. The best thing for all you readers here in the UK is that you can buy ‘Clamato’ here in your local supermarket, Sainsbury’s to be precise.
The only thing you need to remember when making this drink is to always include the Clamato. The spirit is usually Vodka, but generally you can use any spirit, just pick your favourite… Gin, Tequila and Rum are all good choices…
So the next time you go for a Bloody Mary, give this recipe a try instead and you never know, you may just prefer it…
42 Below Special: ‘42 Below’ Vodka has origins in the grand countryside of New Zealand and is a relative new comer in the shelves of the supermarkets here in the UK (over the last year or two). This 3 course cocktails post is a dedication to the product and the drinks supplied are tweaked to pay homage to its New Zealand heritage, whether it be the use of that vodka alone, or the addition of other ingredients can be seen below, either way the drink is a twist so not a classic recipe.
Starter: It’s the Bloody Oysters Mary!
New Zealand, a place currently at the top end of my places-to-visit list and second only to the full state tour of the USA (for obvious cocktail/historical reasons), is the theme of this 3 Course Cocktail post. And the starter for this 3 course cocktail post is a twist on the Bloody Mary.
The classic recipe is simple enough: Vodka, Tomato Juice and then a combination of seasonings to the drinker’s choice. Traditionally a classic bloody mary will contain the vodka and tomato juice, but also salt, pepper, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce, horseradish, lemon juice and tobasco sauce (although how much of the latter depends on how hot you prefer the drink). There are many variations of this recipe; using different combinations of the above ingredients as well as using different sauces altogether, some recipes even include cooling agents such as cucumber or avocado to the drink!
Now this recipe is different from the traditional recipe but only in one ingredient: Oyster Sauce. Now being in the UK, and around 21,000 miles (give or take) from New Zealand, you may find it a little difficult to come across good quality New Zealand Bluff Oysters (if you don’t know about these I suggest you Google a.s.a.p.). However a simple dash of oyster sauce, should supply the flavour hit required.
A New Zealand Bloody Mary; perfect for those trips to bag end…
Now there are two ways to make a great tasting bloody mary cocktail. One way is the ‘cheating’ route: By some bloody mary spice mix, add 1 teaspoon to the relevant amounts of vodka and tomato juice. This is perfect for large quantities at parties (especially when people are too drunk to taste the difference) but not so great for the budding bartender/mixoogist.
My preferred method, is of course the old fashioned ‘build it from scratch’ route. And to show this, here’s my preferred recipe too (it’s mild-borderline quite spicy):
1 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
½ teaspoon Celery Salt
2 slices of cucumber
15ml Fresh Lemon Juice
½-1 teaspoon Horseradish*
½ teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
¼ – ½ teaspoon Oyster Sauce
2-3 dashes Tobasco Sauce
150-200ml Tomato juice
Start by adding the ingredients in the order above. Once the lemon juice goes in, muddle the contents gently. Then continue to build your drink. Once all the ingredients are in the glass (use a boston glass – as we’re about to shake, rattle n’ roll here people) add some ice cubes and using a boston shaker, ‘roll’ the drink to chill it.
Top Tip: If you’re making this drink in advance it pays to shake it like normal, but for making it there and then, rolling the drink results in a better quality drink (it’s easier on your arms too!).
Main Course: It’s 42 Below and all I have is a Kiwi fruit?
So the idea of this main course is to supply something a little different, a tweak on a classic. The Caipirinha is a Brazilian drink, but has a great many variations. A very popular variation is the Caipiroska, a similar drink with the only difference being the use of Vodka as the base spirit (instead of Cachaca). This particular main course cocktail is a New Zealand themed Caipiroska. Using 42 Below Vodka and Kiwi fruit (puree, flesh and some fresh juice).
The variety of kiwi used in this cocktail is a UK commercial fruit (Hayward). For those of you reading this that are blessed with several different varieties to choose from, please feel free to try some different ones out, especially those that taste better than the commercial brand here in the UK!
Caipiroska 42 Below
50ml ‘42 Below’ Vodka
½ lime, quartered
1 tablespoon Caster Sugar
½-1 Kiwi Pureed
1) Quarter a lime and drop it into a thick bottome, serving glass.
2) Drop in the caster sugar
3) Mudlle to relasea the limes juices, oils, and to dissolve all if not most fo the caster sugar.
1) Pour in the crushed ice.
2) Add in the kiwi puree and vodka.
3) Cover with a napkin and mix up the drink [vigorously] with a barspoon.
4) Top up with crushed ice and serve with 2 straws.
Garnish: Lime wedge & Kiwi slice.
I have a bit of a thing about Caipirinha’s, including all variations. The idea that a cocktail that tastes so great can be so simple to make is just fantastic. The classic Caipirinha is simply sugar, lime and Cachaca. That’s it! So when you decide to switch out the Brazilian spirit and mix in high grade vodka, you have an end product that is simply, smooth and fresh…
This is more of a New Zealand Themed recipe, as you can see from the ingredients, and whilst it is a little different than the normal recipes, it’s just as refreshing as it is stunning to look at…
Dessert: when 1 dessert is too few and choice is just right…
For this menu, I’ve decided to go for cocktails that are more dessert than cocktail. This doesn’t really change anything other than they are more ‘meal-like’ choices.
The three dessert course cocktails chosen for this menu are a combination of traditional cocktail recipes using Below 42 vodka, but served in a slightly contemporary fashion.
The first is a cocktail version of the classic Italian dessert: Tiramisu. Using Below 42 Vodka and combining it with coffee liqueur, bailey’s and a splash of amaretto this recipe supplies the creamy-coffee flavoured dessert but with an alcoholic hit.
The second is a student inspired Jelly-Shot like dessert: Lemon Drop Jelly Shots. Again using Below 42 Vodka and Organic, unwaxed lemons this rather special jelly (Jell-O as you Americans call it) shots are something a little different. Taking a classic student staple and adding some class is not a regular move for me, but in this case it does add something special to the flavour of the lemon jelly. Using the zest of 1 whole organic lemon per batch the generic lemon jelly will take on the zesty-ness (I’m not sure that’s even a word) and give out an improved and rather robust lemon taste. Serve this with some candied citrus slices and a little vanilla ice cream and you have a rather simple, yet elegant dessert cocktail.
The third and by no means least is definitely the star of the lot: Cosmopolitan Sorbet.
This dessert cocktail combines on of the most famous cocktails in the world and that summer dessert favourite: sorbet. Using an extremely simple method (as well as fresh produce) you can create some rather fantastic cocktail-sorbets.
The recipe included is for a very fresh tasting classic cosmopolitan, but the recipe I did at home (also included underneath the classic one) was a cherry cosmopolitan. This was purely as I could not source cranberries (fresh or frozen!) at the time of making the cocktail! Hopefully you’ll enjoy the different way of serving this great cocktail!
White Russian Tiramisu
250ml Expresso Coffee (made up and chilled)
250g Mascarpone cheese
55g Brown Sugar
120ml 42 Below vodka
50ml Baileys (original)
75ml Coffee Liqueur
Sponge fingers (1 packet = 6-12)
Ecuadorian dark chocolate
1) Separate the eggs, and keep them both.
2) Combine the expresso coffee, coffee liqueur & vodka in a bowl and dip in (1 by 1) the sponge fingers.
3) Line 4 serving dishes with the fingers and drizzle on the remaining mixture.
4) Beat the egg yolks and the sugar together until the mixture is thick and creamy. Add in the mascarpone and baileys and beat again, until the mixture has been well combined.
5) Then, using clean utensils whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Then using a metal spoon fold in half the egg whites into the previous mascarpone mixture. Fold in the rest of the egg into the mixture until well combined.
6) Spoon the mixture into the glasses and cover, then chill for 6 hours.
7) Sprinkle with coarse dark chocolate just before serving…
Top Tip: I opted for Ecuadorian chocolate here, but as long as it’s dark chocolate, and not Belgian then you should be fine! – Have a look at the subtle flavours (of the chocolate) and choose the one best suited for your guests.
1) Bring sugar and water to a boil and stir until the sugar is dissolved.
2) Add the cranberries and let simmer (uncovered) until the berries collapse when lightly pressured (should take around 8-10 minutes).
3) Take off heat and blend into a puree.
4) Gently press through a sieve, being careful not to push through any of the flesh.
5) Cover and then cool the syrup until cold.
6) Stir in the vodka, lime juice and Cointreau and place in flat bottomed container, and place in the freezer.
7) Check regularly and when the mixture is frozen on the outside, but runny in the middle take it out of the freezer.
8) Empty into a large bowl and stir until well mixed. Return to the freezer until frozen.
9) Take it out of the freezer and place in the fridge about 10 minutes before serving.
10) When serving, scoop it into a martini glass and garnish with a drizzle of blackberry coulis.
Lemon Drop Jelly Shots
270g Lemon Jelly
1 Lemon, Zested
75ml 42 Below vodka
1) Prepare the jelly as per instructions.
2) Leave, covered, to cool slightly.
3) Stir in the vodka & lemon zest.
4) Separate into serving containers.
5) Chill in the fridge until set.
6) Serve with candied citrus fruits, or a pear compote.
Top Tip: When zesting the lemon, try to make it as fine as possible. Also, serve with any vodka cocktail to help make it go down a little better!
‘42 Below’ Vodka
That classic death-defying shooter: The Kamikaze; is the epitome of the death-skirting shooters, and let’s face it, it tastes fantastic! A simple combination of Vodka, Lime and Triple Sec, this drink tastes great, but man o’ man it packs a mighty punch…
A perfect finish to some great cocktails/dessert, finish the kamikaze before it finishes you!
Hope you enjoy the cocktails/desserts. Feel free to share any recipes you may have in the comments section below. Until next time!