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!
The final of my 3 Vodka infusions; this sweet and tropical infusion will be perfect for those with a sweet tooth and a penchant for the tang of a fresh pineapple (like me).
It is a relatively versatile infusion that works best in tropical cocktails but also finds its place in the more ‘traditional’ recipes. Think along the lines of a Tropical Martini or Tangy Screwdriver…
Check out the infusion recipe below and then enjoy the tropical combination of your new Pineapple Vodka and a cocktail whose origin story was set in Brazil; The Very Tropical Caipiroska.
Pineapple Infused Vodka
1 whole (medium) pineapple, sliced/diced
70cl (700ml) Vodka
50 grams Sugar
Add all of the ingredients to a sterilised & tight sealing bottle.
Leave to sit for up to 48hrs.
Strain into the original vodka bottle and seal it.
Keep in a cool dry place away from sunlight, or in the fridge/freezer if you want it served chilled…
This infusion is extremely fresh and does not hide its tropical pineapple flavour! This vodka is a wonderful inclusion in any cocktail you want to perk up with a tropical hit. Try it in your next vodka base tropical drink or as an addition to your next Pina Colada!
Cocktail: Very Tropical Caipiroska
50ml Pineapple Infused Vodka
2 teaspoons Sugar*
Garnish: Pineapple leaf & speared fruit.
Add the sugar into a rocks glass.
Cut the lime into quarters and then squeeze and drop each piece into the glass skin up.
Very gently muddle the lime and sugar together until the sugar has dissolved.
Once the sugar has dissolved, fill the glass with crushed ice.
Add in your infused vodka, cover with a napkin and swizzle.
Top up with more crushed ice and then garnish.
Serve with a straw…
*the type of sugar determines the amount of muddling. Whilst using a sugar cube looks good, it also requires a lot more work. Use some granulated sugar, or better yet go for caster sugar!
This cocktail is based on the classic Caipirinha from Brazil and was huge during the last world cup [Brazil 2014]. During the 4 weeks that Fifa’s biggest tournament ran, there were more variations on the Caipirinha than one could shake a proverbial stick at. Whilst the Caipiroska was already well-liked before the WC, it did benefit a great deal from the exposure of its parent during the football tournament…
With citrus flavours galore and vast amounts of other tropical flavours a-plenty, the Caipi family of cocktails have gone from strength to strength. There are so many different varieties of this drink that it was only a matter of time before infused spirits/liqueurs made their way into the recipes!
This pineapple vodka based version is fruitier and lighter than a normal Caipiroska (the infusion process takes some of the alcohol burn away.
Fervent Shaker Top Tip: This cocktail is fantastic short and iced. But if you’re after something a little longer (and lighter) then why not make this in a tall Collins glass? You’ll have to prepare it in a rocks glass before adding it to the larger glass. You should pour the ingredients (once muddled) into a Collins glass, add the ice, then the alcohol. Before adding more crushed ice, add in some fruit juice – in this instance a splash of Pineapple & Mango would be fantastic! – Then top up with the ice.
Over the next 3 weeks I’ll be sharing with you 3 infused vodka recipes, and ending each post with a cocktail recipe that shows the infusion off in all its glory. So sit back, get your notepads ready and enjoy the next week of vodka infusions!!!
n.b. These cocktails may or may not be my own recipes, although mostly they will be tweaks of other cocktails.
Let’s jump straight into the action with this simple, yet rather versatile Vodka Infusion:
The first recipe is for a Cranberry-lime Vodka that really does feel at home in any home bar. With various cocktails using vodka and the 2 infusing ingredients; this infusion will add a depth of flavour to every cocktail you use it in!
70cl (700ml) Bottle of high quality Vodka
100g of cranberries
2 tbsp Sugar
Peel the rind off the lime and set aside the lime itself (you only need the peel).
Poke a hole in each cranberry (a fork works well here).
Add both the cranberries and lime peel into a large, sealed glass bottle.
Add in the sugar and the pour in the vodka.
Seal the bottle and store away from sunlight for up to 7 days.
After 7 days the colour of the vodka will have changed to a red hue. Leave the fruit in the vodka and enjoy chilled…
This vodka is extremely simple to make. Like most infusions the worst part is simply waiting to try it! The cranberry-lime flavour combination is not a new concept, but it is a great concept. This particular recipe will result in an extra fruity kick in your cocktails, especially a home made cosmopolitan. My preferred cocktail for this vodka however, is a tweak on the classic Vesper Martini:
3 measures Beefeater Gin
1 measure Cranberry-Lime Infused Vodka
½ measure Lillet Blanc
Garnish: Lime Twist
Combine the ingredients in a mixing glass and add plenty of cubed ice.
Stir well and chill the alcohol properly – anything up to 2 minutes here is totally acceptable!
Strain into a well-chilled coupe/classic martini-cocktail glass.
Garnish with a long thin slice of lemon peel…
This cocktail is based on the famous Bond cocktail: The Vesper. It uses the same ratios as the classic cocktail and makes use of the infused vodka in a cocktail where it won’t over power the other ingredients, but equally stands on its own. This cocktail is the perfect canvas for it to splash its colourful flavour upon. However, I know everyone has different tastes so if this cocktail does not have enough of a fruity kick, then try adding a splash of cranberry juice. This will of course water down the drink so try not to add too much!
Naturally this cocktail will not suit everyone’s taste buds so if you’re one of those who like a more refreshing cocktail then why not try using this infused vodka in any of the following cocktails:
So you’re at a friends’ BBQ one summer’s evening and everyone is having a nice time, the sun is shining, there’s a gentle breeze rolling through the pine trees surrounding the pool, and although the kids are screaming, they’re having fun.
You’ve spoken to all your friends, caught up on gossip and everyone’s enjoyed the hosts’ BBQ skills. But now the temperature has chilled slightly and the sun has started to set. The Kids have gone home to the supervision of their child-minders and that leaves all you adults about with a choice: Lemonade and soft drinks… Or the hard stuff?
But that decision is made for you; out comes the hosts’ and their stash of liquor. Vodka, Tequila, Rum, Triple Sec & plenty of other obscure, highly alcoholic elixirs that do not look healthy at all…
So in come the dedicated spirit drinkers, taking their share of their designated poison, rum, vodka – it doesn’t matter there’s plenty for everyone. What really gathers your attention is not the boring spirit drinkers, they can keep their Bourbon, Neat; you want what’s in that glass on the opposite table: A tall mountain of a glass, with sweeping curves and a cool orange nectar, swirling with a red syrupy surprise… Of course I’m talking about a Tequila Sunrise – the epitome of pool-side tropical cocktails…
But did you know that the cocktails available to you for your summer evenings are not restricted to generic boring simple cocktails. Sure they look great and every now and then they’re great to enjoy but if you really want to impress everyone you know, why not give these few recipes a little tipple…
Recipe #1: Limoncello – Limoncello Citrus Cooler
20ml Maraschino Liqueur
40ml Lemon Juice
1 scoop mandarin sorbet
1 teaspoon marmalade
2 dashes hibiscus bitters
Shake all the ingredients with ice.
Strain into a rocks glass containing a large ice cube (ice-balls work well here)
Garnish with a pair of maraschino cherries and an orange twist.
This cocktail blends sweet Limoncello with some other sweet, citrus flavours and creates a cocktail that is not as sweet as it looks to be. The ingredients blend well, as mentioned, but you can still separate the intricate flavours of a high quality limoncello and the maraschino liqueur. The hibiscus bitters lends a bitter, yet exotic fragrance to the drink. This is a great drink to have in your repertoire for a romantic evening date…
Recipe #2: Gin – Italian Collins
1 measure Sipsmith Gin
¾ measure Limoncello
¼ measure fresh lemon juice
4 measures Club Soda
Mix the first three ingredients together and shake well, over ice, for around 10-15 seconds.
Strain into a tall glass filled with ice.
Top up with club soda and garnish with a thin slice of lemon peel.
Recipe #3: Vodka – Wake County Cooler
Black Tea infused Vodka
(Sweet) Black Tea Vodka:
Combine 750ml Vodka with 150ml loose-leaf black tea and allow to infuse (should take around 2 hours).
Then, separately: Combine 60ml water with 60g sugar and mix into a sugar syrup.
Combine the sugar syrup with the vodka and mix well.
Half fill a Collins glass with crushed ice.
Add 50ml of the infused vodka to the glass.
Then add 12.5ml of lemon juice.
Top up with the club soda and garnish with a lemon wedge and mint sprig.
If you create the full amount above (750ml) you’ll have plenty to share (or keep for yourself).
One of the best things about this cocktail is that you have to infuse your own Vodka. As a home-taught cocktail maker one of my favourite hobbies is the infusing of neutral alcohol. Not only do you end up with something delicious and flavour-fuelled, most of the time you improve the original drink (obviously you don’t want to use top end Vodka for this sort of infusion). If you have enough forethought to purchase some nice kilner-jars (think along the lines of pressure topped bottles – like Grolsch beer) you can share out your good infusions for family gifts and even age some spirits…
Give it a go, you’ll be surprised what you can come up with!
Recipe #4: Licor 43 – Carta Marina
1 ½ measures Kraken Black Spiced Rum
¾ measures Licor 43
¾ measures Lemon Juice
¼ measure Aperol
2 dashes Cardamom bitters
Garnish: Vanilla Bean & orange twist.
Shake all the ingredients together over ice for 15-20 seconds (or until the tin ices over).
Strain into a coupe cocktail glass and garnish with a vanilla bean wrapped inside the orange twist.
This cocktail mixes two of my favourite spirits in Kraken & Licor 43. And boy do they blend well! This looks like an odd mixture of spirits and bitters but if shaken well (and properly) this drink elevates you to another level. When a drink can supply you with a mix of refreshment, great taste and an almost bottomless depth in quality you know you’ve hit gold; with the Carta Marina you have some good old US/Mediterranean Gold. If you only drink one cocktail of this list: Pick this one!
Recipe #5: Rum – Daisy De Santiago
40ml Bacardi Superior White Rum
20ml fresh lime juice
5ml sugar syrup
15ml Yellow Chartreuse
Garnish: fresh berries & a sprig of mint.
Add the rum, sugar syrup & lime juice to a shaker filled with ice and shake well – for around 20-30 seconds.
Fill a wine goblet with crushed ice and strain the mixed liquid into the glass.
Garnish with the sprig & berry bouquet and then float the yellow Chartreuse on top of the drink.
The Daisy de Santiago is possibly one of the freshest and most refreshing drinks I’ve had the pleasure of sipping in a long time. It’s got a lovely rum kick from the Bacardi yet it’s sweet and almost minty after taste compliments most summer evenings. A difficult drink to balance perfectly but one that is very much worthwhile mastering.