In Soviet Russia, Vodka Infuses You


Over the past Holiday season, we made the decision to make most our gifts for people ourselves, as we believe that there isn’t a better gift than something handmade and from the heart. And what better way to show your love than with vodka, no? We had done vodka infusions a few times before – but without much information on the web on how to do it – we kind of winged it and figured it out as we went. But with this last batch, we really feel like we’ve mastered the infusionary arts.

We thought we would share some photos and notes on the process, and the custom designs we made for the packaging and labels. It was a ton of fun, and a simple, easy gift that keeps on giving. Privet!

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THE PREP

Because we were making quite a few bottles to give people, there was quite a bit of prep necessary – cutting the ingredients, measuring out the vodka to use, etc. We made four different kinds of vodka: BLT (bacon + liquor + tomato), Bacon + Jalapeno + Garlic, Pineapple + Ginger, and Cucumber. You can use pretty much anything that sounds good to you and is in season, though there are some things to think about – i.e., pears will brown after a while and not look as pretty as some other ingredients.

We put our ingredients into 1-pint size mason jars, but you could use any sort of container that is air tight.
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For the BLT: we put about 3-4 strips of bacon cooked until crispy, but not burned (the char overpowers the flavor), in each jar and around 3 small cherry tomatoes (you can poke a few holes in them with a toothpick, or cut them up for more flavor – we left them hole because we liked how they looked).

For the Bacon + Jalapeno + Garlic: 3-4 strips of bacon cooked as above, a good amount of sliced jalapenos (the more seeds you leave on them, the hotter the vodka will be), and a few whole gloves of garlic. Again, you can slice/mash the garlic for more or less garlic flavor as you see fit, but the whole cloves work as well.

For the Pineapple + Ginger: We cut our pineapple and our ginger into small julienne style strips. Put in equal parts pineapple and ginger, filling about half of the jar full with the ingredients.

For the Cucumber: Again, we cut the cucumbers in a julienne style, and filled the jar about half-way full. We had tried different combinations of ingredients with the cucumber in the past, but we found that the best was just cucumber on its own. Its a light, refreshing taste that is really really nice for summer.

Some other ideas: Vanilla bean, berries, honeydew, habanero, basically anything you can think of or any fruit or vegetable thats at the peak of its season.
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THE VODKA

For our vodka, we normally use Monopolowa which is a good, cheap Austrian potato vodka. We bought two 1.75 bottles, which was way more than what we needed. Remember when you’re figuring how much you’ll need to account for the space in the ingredients take up in the jars, which is where we miscalculated.
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Being the typography nerds that we are, we also love the stark and simple type on the labels. Old, but bold. Perfect.
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THE INFUSING

The next part is easy, just put the portions in each jar, cover with vodka, and you’re good to go. Most infusions take about 2 weeks, but you can check it about a week through and see if there’s enough flavor, or if you’d like to give the ingredients some more time. If you’re doing a bacon infusion, you’ll notice that the fat from the bacon will separate and rise to the top over time. The best way to remove the fat from your vodka is to store it in the freezer overnight to solidify the fat particles, and then strain through a cheesecloth. For the non-bacon ones, you can use tongs to get out the food bits, or you can also use a cheesecloth, if there are smaller particles you’re wanting to strain out.

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THE DESIGN

All in all, we might have just made the vodka as an excuse to make the packaging and labels (not really, but it was still the best part). We wanted a rustic, fun edge, while still being clean and informative. Dang/Zang indeed.



Then, the task of putting everything together for the final product. All of our friends gave us glowing reviews of both the design and their contents. Success! Thank you for reading, and if you try to infuse some vodka of your own, please tell us about it in the comments. Any combinations of flavors that you really enjoyed? Tips and tricks that differ from ours? We want to hear from you! You can also view a handful more photos in our flickr set.

Love and happy drinking,
Recspec


4 Comments

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  1. cannink voodka!

    i’m such a light-weight when it comes to vodka times, therefore i tend not to imbibe in it too too often, but this looks like so much fun + they sound so yummy deliciousss. must pass this onto the boy, he will flip!

    Reply
  2. You guys are the best, in all categories.
    Those labels? These photos? This killer blog?
    THE BEST. Seriously – all you do makes me so happy!
    Thank you for the yum! Can I propose a bloody mary party next week?
    Gotta strain that BLT Zing Zang and drank it! Mmmmm!

    Reply