How To Make Flavoured Vodka

With just a few storage jars, a standard water filter, some bargain priced spirits, and a little bit of imagination you can easily produce flavoured vodka worthy of the best vodka bars. In small bottles they also make great gifts.
The stronger flavoured ingredients (like herbs or citrus fruits) usually take less time to infuse (often under a week). Garden fruits like berries or pears and hard fruits take bit longer (about a week). Vanilla sticks, chillies, ginger or cinnamon sticks take much longer to steep, usually two weeks plus.
Just wash and clean a few sealable containers. Bottles aren’t suitable because you need to get the ingredients out afterwards. Give all your ingredients a wash and filter your vodka through the water filter three times. Vodka is filtered through activated charcoal, and doing this will improve the purity and taste (taking off any edge). Grain vodkas are best for this. Fill up your containers with your ingredients. For subtle flavours make sure to add plenty of produce. For stronger ingredients just use your best judgement. Small fruits like berries may be left whole (but give the harder ones, like Sloes, a prick with a pin), while bigger fruits (apples, oranges etc.) should be thinly sliced. You might want to consider adding a bit of sugar to make more of a liquor. Seal them, label them, and pop them somewhere dark for the time required. Give them a shake every few days to stir up the flavour. When decanting, filter them through a couple of layers of muslin, then bottle.
Have you heard of the concept of a vodka luge? If you have, the phrase has probably just raised a smile. If you haven’t, you’re in for a treat. Think of it as an ice sculpture through which your vodka runs, chilling on its journey. This is particularly stunning with flavoured, and often coloured liquids. These make for great centre pieces for events and occasions. Failing that, how about frozen shooter glasses? Either way serve your vodka chilled (from the freezer, it won’t freeze just thicken) and in single shots.
Some flavoured vodkas make great cocktail ingredients but aren’t really suitable for drinking without mixers. I produced a batch of bacon vodka (yes, bacon vodka) that tasted too unusual to be consumed on its own but made the best Bloody Mary on record (break an egg into it for the perfect ‘hair of the dog’ Prairie Oyster). The trick is to have fun and use what you have in abundance. If you garden produces a glut of raspberries or your mint runs wild then this is the perfect way to preserve and use it to the full.
Get out there, get picking, and have fun.
This post was written by professional ice and vodka luge sculptor Jason Harker, of Liverpool UK.