Fall is the perfect season for upgrading your cool-weather cocktails, and there’s no better way to enhance your hosting skills than by taking on the role of “mixologist” with handmade infused vodka. Test out a variety of flavors like apple cinnamon, bacon habanero or vanilla spice. Not only will creating your own infused vodka recipes allow you to try out all the flavors you’ve been craving, but these infusions make for a fun party spread and holiday gift too.
Most recipes call for selecting a few ingredients of choice, prepping them, adding the vodka and allowing it to steep. If you’re interested in crafting your own fall cocktails, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about how to make infused vodka below. We’ve even included a few of our favorite recipes, specific drinks to mix them in and desserts with which they pair well.
Fall is full of opportunities to indulge in your favorite libations, so let’s get started! Before you start pouring, take a look at what you’ll need below.
Infused Vodka Supplies
There are a few items you’ll need to have on hand to start infusing vodka at home. You may already have a few of these items lying around in your kitchen, but double check before getting started.
- Vodka of choice – Pick out your vodka of choice. You’ll be using three to four cups of vodka for every batch you create, so make sure you have enough on hand.
- Flavor add-ins – Fruits, spices, vegetables and herbs are all common ingredients for vodka flavorings. Select your favorite ingredients and pick a few new flavors you’ve been wanting to test out.
- Quart-sized jar with lid – Mason jars or canning jars work well for this. You’ll use the jar to steep the vodka, so it will be important that the container you use is airtight and includes a lid.
- Mesh strainer – After the vodka has been fully infused, you’ll need to strain it to separate the flavor add-ins. Have a mesh strainer on hand for this part.
- Funnel – Having a funnel handy will make it easier to transfer the vodka from the jar into a decorative bottle for use.
How to Make Infused Vodka
Now that you have everything you need, it’s finally time to get started!
1. Prepare the ingredients. After you’ve selected the vodka flavor you’d like to try, it’s time to prep the ingredients. For the most part, you’ll use common sense to prepare the ingredients, washing carefully and removing the undesirable parts. For example, fruit should be freshly washed, rid of any seeds or stems and cut appropriately. On the other hand, spices like cinnamon or vanilla bean should be crushed or split open to speed up infusion. You can find more specific ingredient instruction below, but for the most part a few cuts and a good wash with cold water should do the trick. As a general rule, you should prepare and use approximately two to three cups of flavor ingredient for every three to four cups of vodka.
2. Add two to three cups of flavorful ingredients into an airtight jar. You can always add more or less depending on the strength of flavor you’re looking to achieve.
3. Pour three to four cups of vodka over the ingredients. Select any brand of vodka you like best to use for your infusion. It’s all up to personal preference.
4. Seal the jar and place it in a cool, dark area to soak for approximately three to five days. You can also opt for keeping your liquor mixture cool in the fridge, although it’s not necessary. Don’t worry about any perishable ingredients that you may have added into the jar, the alcohol will preserve them. Just be sure to keep the mixture out of direct sunlight. After a few days, you’ll notice it starts to take on the coloring of the ingredients you’ve added. To speed up the vodka infusion process, shake the jar once a day.
5. On day three, taste test the infused vodka. As a rule of thumb, most ingredients take between three to five days to infuse flavor. Although, some steeping times may run longer or shorter depending on ingredients. Keep in mind that strong-flavored ingredients (like citrus) tend to infuse a lot more quickly than others.That’s why you should taste-test the vodka after a few days to make sure it’s not stronger than you’d like it to be. Be careful not to leave the ingredients in for too long, as the vodka flavoring can become too potent to drink.
6. Use the mesh strainer to separate the fruit flavor ingredients from the infused vodka. Use a spoon to remove the fruit pieces from the jar and prevent vodka from splashing out of the strainer.
7. Once your vodka is infused, use the funnel to put it into a bottle for storing or gifting. Give your flavorful vodka a fun name and add a label tag around the neck of the bottle.
Be sure to check out the tips and tricks below for specific ingredient prep, common mistakes to avoid and more.
Infused Vodka Tips and Tricks
There are a few tips and tricks that you should keep up your sleeve while crafting your infused vodka.
- Use approximately two to three cups of fruit for three to four cups of vodka.
- Slice fruits finely, removing any pits, stems or seeds. You can also skin the fruit if you’d like. This will speed up the infusion.
- Leave fresh berries whole and lightly score them before adding to the jar to speed up the infusion.
- When it comes to herbs, rinse them and use the entire thing. You can also crush herbs gently before adding them to the jar to speed up the infusion.
- When using vanilla bean, slice the bean from top to bottom, creating a v-shape.
Mistakes to Avoid
- Don’t let your vodka steep for too long, as the flavors will become too potent to drink. When considering steep time, keep in mind that fresh ingredients infuse more quickly than dried ingredients.
- Be sure to properly strain your infused vodka using a small fine mesh strainer to remove all of the particles. You can also line your strainer with a coffee filter if you’re having trouble straining properly.
- Of course, you can keep your infused vodka in the glass quart-sized jar. However, you also might want to show it off in a decorative bottle, especially if you’re giving it as a gift!
- Create labels for each bottle to keep track of the flavors you’ve created. These are useful and make for a nice decorative element, especially if you’re giving the vodka away as a gift.
Infused Vodka Recipes and Pairings
These delicious spirits stand out on their own, but also combine well with with delicious sweet treats like caramel apples and chocolate truffles or a savory snack like chocolate dipped pretzels. Take a look at our recipe and pairing guide below to discover fall flavors and interesting combinations you might not have thought of before.