Founding and running Momz Share with my pals Jenny G and The Banshee has been a blast. The work is hard -the girls can tell you I’m the crazed cracker of the whip- but the payoff SO. WORTH. IT.
Today I bring you the perfect example of big time payoff. The lovely, talented, snarky, smart, beautiful and be-awesomely-tatted, Adryon of Adryon’s Kitchen. (I’m in awe of her ink. Seriously. I can be seen either lounging unconscious on the floor or running away like a two-year-old when approached with any needle, so I’ll never be a human canvas but I still appreciate the art.)
In addition to her wit and cool, Adryon is the Viceroy of Vodka (yes that IS a real title, I just made it up. So there!). Sit back and relax Nuggetiers as Adryon takes us on a tour of libation laden bliss.
“There are only two absolutes in life: friends and vodka. And the best times usually involve both.” ~Unknown
For the past few years my little family of three have been giving handmade presents for the holidays. We’ve hand poured candles, canned home-made marinara sauces and hand-burnt wooden spoons.
However, unequivocally – with zero question- my favorite thing to do for holiday gifts is infusing vodkas. There really are no limitations to what you can throw in a Mason jar and cover with liquid joy alcohol. Plus, you have to taste them daily, which as the mother of one obstinate 8 year old, is a gift itself.
For all infusing methods, you will want to strain them through a coffee filter before gift giving. It will make your vodka taste better, and look crisp. You can get cheap bottles of all shapes and size at your local craft stores. With the basics covered, let’s get drunk! I mean crafty!
If you’re down to the last minute, you can definitely go the hard candy route. (If you’re patient, definitely try Skittles Vodka. It takes a lot more work than hard candies, but it’s sure to impress.) For any other hard candies, throw ½ – 1 cup of candy in a mason jar and cover with two cups of vodka. Shake and let sit for two days. The great thing about doing the candy vodka is you don’t have to buy the highest quality vodka since once the candy has dissolved, it’s going to be not only flavored, but sweet from the sugar. Note: This works great with things like candy canes, cinnamon discs, jolly ranchers, root beer barrels…anything that dissolves. Double note: Because of the sugar factor, the hangover factor is a little high as well; tread carefully.
(My favorite is using mint chocolate candy canes. Perfect mixed in hot chocolate!)
Since we still have a little bit of time before the Holidays, the best way (and my favorite way) to go about infusing vodkas is with food! Anything from fruit, vanilla beans, and herbs, can be infused into your vodka . The end result isn’t sweet, but the essence of whatever has been infused. If the sweetness is a factor for you, once the vodkas are fully infused and strained, you can mix in a simple syrup (1 part sugar, 1 part water – boiled and cooled) to sweeten up the final product.
These are a few of my favorites:
Citrus rinds! Be sure to use only the zest and not the white pith that can be a little bitter.
This one is a mix of Navel Orange and Buddha’s Hand Fruit. These are great mixed with citrus sodas or seltzer. Last year a mix of lime and lemon zest was a big hit. Citrus takes about 3 to 5 days to infuse. You are going to need to taste a tiny bit after the 3rd day to get a grasp on how much further you want to take it.
Don’t forget to put a little sliver of the zest in your gift bottle a day or two before giving, so your recipient knows what to expect. Not too long before hand, or it will change colors and might look a little odd
Fruit! This year I’m doing a mixed berry, a pear/cherry combo, and a pineapple vodka.
Make sure you clean your fruits well before cutting. Pack your jars with the fruit and cover with vodka. Berries will take about 1 week, and sturdier fruits like mangos and pineapple can take up to 2 weeks…alas, you will have to try them periodically. You’ll thank me later!
Also, for fruits like pears and apples, you will need to switch them out after 3 days and replace with a new cut up fruit. Otherwise they’ll break down a little too much and turn yacktastic. (<— For the record this is my new favorite word. ~Lara)
Herbs/Spices: Last year I infused a vanilla bean vodka that completed my life, and because I’m utterly backward, this year I decided in my infinite half-Italian wisdom, I’d make garlic vodka. Why in the hell? For cooking! Know an avid chef in your life? A bottle of garlic vodka would go great paired with say, a jar of home-canned tomatoes, and a new pasta pot. Vodka sauce for everyone! The garlic took about two days to infuse and it is potent, not overwhelming and actually takes a nice edge off of the ‘vodka taste’. Just be sure it’s fresh garlic and not sprouting any greenery.
Herbs will take about 5 days and are great in cocktails. Pineapple rosemary martinis anyone? Perhaps a Lemonade with Basil Vodka? If you have a Bloody Mary lover in your life, why not black peppercorns or a jalapeno infusion?
Have fun! What about coffee beans, cinnamon sticks, or a rind of lemon mixed with tyme? The world is your shot glass. Happy Holidays!