Posts Tagged ‘Small Measures with Ashley English’

Grow Herbs for Cocktail Infusions and Simple Syrups

Wednesday, March 28th, 2012
Vodka infusions

Infused vodkas make great gifts (photo by Ashley English)!

There are several different reasons that you may grow herbs to make an infusion. You can infuse herbs in water to make a healing medicinal liquid; or you can infuse herbs in olive oil to make salad dressings. But the most fun way to make an infusion? To infuse herbs in booze, or course!

What is an infusion?

An infusion is the result of steeping botanicals in liquid to extract their flavor, scent, and nutritional or healing properties. Many of us create a simple infusion every day without even thinking about it by brewing herbal tea. Typically, the botanicals used in infusions are leaves, berries, fruits, and/or flowers.

Herb Infused Vodka

Rosemary, mint, and thyme are common ingredients

We recommend using a good quality vodka for your infusion. Since it is primarily colorless and flavorless, it really takes on the flavors of the infused herbs and spices very well (some people even call it the chameleon of liquors).

To create a vodka infusion, you will need:

  • 1 liter of vodka
  • an airtight mason jar – 1 liter capacity
  • an airtight bottle – 1 liter capacity
  • a funnel
  • a piece of cheesecloth or a small strainer
  • herbs, fruits, or spices to flavor your vodka

The goal of any infusion is to extract the delicious scents and flavors into your vodka. This means that you will allow the herbs, spices and fruits to “steep” in the vodka, then discard the solids. The amount of time that each flavor needs to steep will vary. For example, lemon peels will need to be left in the vodka for a good week or two, whereas strawberries will only take about 24 hours to steep.

Our Favorite Infused Vodka Recipes

Lavender-Lemon MartiniRosemary and Lavender Infused Vodka

This vodka lends a wonderful soft floral note to all of our favorite vodka drinks. Try it in a vodka martini, a vodka tonic, or mixed with lemonade for a fragrant twist.

Directions:

  1. Pluck 1 large sprig of rosemary and 2 sprigs of lavender from your garden. Rinse them well, and add them to your clean mason jar.
  2. Pour 1 liter of vodka into the jar. Give the jar a few gentle shakes.
  3. Seal the jar of the lid tightly, then store it in a cool, dry place for 3 days.
  4. After 3 days, open the jar and give the vodka a taste test. If the flavors are as strong as you would like, it’s time to remove the vodka from the jar. If not, store the vodka in the jar for 1-2 more days.
  5. When ready, hold a strainer or piece of cheesecloth over a pitcher, and pour the vodka from the jar into the pitcher. This will strain out any lavender blossoms and rosemary needles.
  6. Place the funnel on the top of the bottle, and pour the vodka from the pitcher into the bottle.