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Has your foray into the flavored vodka category felt like you're chugging a bottle of vanilla bean shower gel?
Take a "handmade" page from Tito's Handmade Vodka founder and master microdistiller Bert "Tito" Beveridge and infuse your own at home. It's easy peasy lemon squeezy - with a twist of kaffir lime.
The Purist's Guide to Infusing Flavored Vodka: Tito Beveridge
1. Infusing at home guarantees the freshest flavors possible
"I love making infusions at home, largely because this absolutely guarantees the ingredients and flavors will be fresh. Everything is better when it is fresh - and, better yet, you can control the flavor to make it your own and to suit your specific taste."
Cucumber Basil Infusion:
Separate a liter bottle of vodka into two halves in glass jars. Fill one jar with cucumber and add a few fresh basil leaves to the other. Once you approve of the flavor in each, combine them."
2. Use peel, not pith
"Orange Lime Infusion:
Separate a liter bottle of vodka into two halves in glass jars. Use only the peels of oranges and limes, no pith. Put the orange peels of an orange in one of the jars, and the peels of two limes in the other jar. When you approve of the taste in each, combine them."
3. Use frozen or dried fruit
When infusing your own vodka with fruit, experiment. Feel free to use either frozen or dried fruit - either keep the fruit fresh or dry it yourself. You will discover what flavor profile you prefer.
Black Cherry Infusion:
Find dried black cherries at a grocery store or buy the frozen kind and dry them out yourself in a Pyrex dish at low heat in the oven, watching to see when they change. A good ratio is a cup and a half per liter of vodka. Let the cherries sit in the vodka for a day or two in the fridge and taste to the flavor intensity you desire."
4. Work with the earth
"I started out as a geophysicist with degrees in Geology and Geophysics from the University of Texas in Austin. I’ve always enjoyed working with the earth and feel connected to it - it will always be a part of what I do.
In the the early 1990s, I would infuse vodka in my spare time, creating batches for friends. This habanero infusion brings me back to my roots, and puts a Texas spin on things. It is also killer in a Bloody Mary.
Use gloves when you cut a habanero pepper into fourths, and then place the pepper fourths right in the bottle of vodka. Let it sit in the window in the sun for 4 days. Then put the bottle in the freezer and drink it cold."
5. Sweeten the pot
"Use agave nectar or simple syrup to sweeten the infusions. At the holidays, I’ve also been known to let candy canes melt in the vodka for a peppermint infusion, which goes great in hot chocolate too. This infusion below makes great martinis.
Lemon Peel and Kaffir Lime Leaf Infusion:
Separate a bottle of vodka into two halves and place the peels (no pith) of two lemons in one half and a few kaffir lime leaves in the other. When you approve of the tastes in each, combine them.
The citrus infusions and cucumber basil are also really wonderful when you add sparkling water to them."
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