Sunday, November 27, 2011
Well dear readers, after 2 weeks I strained the apple cinnamon vodka and brought it to my sister's for a little cocktail party. We set it out with a pitcher of apple cider and let people spike their own drinks with it and it was quite a hit. The flavors blended so well that you couldn't even tell there was vodka in the cider even though you poured it in there yourself. I didn't get to try any of it in tea, but I think that would be quite delicious as well. All in all, vodka #1 was a success, and I just taste tested #2-4 and they are all quite good. I believe they could be drunk at any point now, but I am going to let them steep until I need them/save a few bottles to put them in (it is a bit to difficult to pour from quart size mason jars for my level of clumsiness).
Sunday, November 13, 2011
The New York Times says "preserving with alcohol is the lowest rung of entry for canning enthusiasts because it's hard to mess up." And with that kind of endorsement, how can you resist? I am not entirely sure how long you wait, I am just going to play it by ear and do some periodic taste testing. In honor of the upcoming holiday season I decided to do a cranberry vodka, a pomegranate vodka and an apple/honey/cinnamon/clove vodka (and then a cranberry and pomegranate combined one because I had leftovers). The red fruits look lusciously christmasy already, and this is an acceptable pre-Christmas sort of thing, unlike stores that already have their holiday displays up or a certain shopping center that I drove by last night that has a lit up tree out already. I mean come on, I LOVE Christmas and fully admit that after Thanksgiving dinner until Christmas day the only music I listen to is on my Christmas Carols playlist (there's 301 songs on it, soon to be 313, as soon as I get the She & Him cd....) but you have to show some restraint.
To make the pomegranate vodka, start with a pomegranate (or two). If you already have a technique for getting the little seeds out then by all means use it, but if you don't I would suggest cutting the fruit in half and then submerging it in water to remove the seeds, otherwise you may end up staining you entire self and kitchen with little splatters of bright red juice. Then grab your mason jar, or other airtight container and add your pomegranate seeds. My rule of thumb (which I use very loosely and developed today, so after I see how these turn out I may change it) is this, I have quart jars, I used two cups of fruit, however much sugar struck my fancy and then filled it up with vodka, when I had less fruit I used less vodka. Anyways, toss in some sugar and then a bit of orange peel, put the lid on your jar and let it sit. Possibly for several weeks, I will let you know when I figure that bit out.
To make the cranberry vodka, take a bag of cranberries, toss them in a sauce pan, add a bit of water, a generous sprinkle of sugar and boil until the cranberries start to pop, which brings me to the second guideline I developed today, fruit with a tough skin should be helped along, either cut open or cooked, and fruit with a coating should be skinned. Remove from the heat and pour two cups of the cranberry/sugar water mixture into your jar and top it off with vodka. I would have added some orange peel to this but my mother isn't such a big fan of the orange-cranberry combination so I left it out, but feel free to add it if you wish. One bag of cranberries will probably give you a bit more fruit than you need, but my two pomegranates did as well, so I combined the extra in one jar and topped it off with vodka.
For the apple vodka, because I used a grocery store apple with that lovely waxy coating on it, I peeled it first, but I would imagine that if you had a farm fresh, uncoated apple you could leave the peel on without any problem. Then, because I have big plans to use this to spike some Good Earth tea, I poured honey in instead of using sugar, as the tea and honey combination is such a lovely one. Toss in half a cinnamon stick and a whole clove and top with vodka. I have a feeling this one will not take very long to infuse, considering that there is so much surface area of exposed apple flesh. For now all of my vodkas are sitting on my bar cart, which considering how cold my house always is, is a cool place, although not very dark. I imagine that due to my obsessive nature I will shake the jars every day to stir them up and see how it is going and will probably start tasting them in about a week to see how flavorful they are becoming. When they taste good I will strain them through cheesecloth and pour them back into their mason jars until I can be bothered to find/repurpose suitable bottles. I will let you know how they turn out.