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Blackberry Vodka Infusion (report and photos)

Oh boy, another kitchen addiction to manage.

The color and body of a big jammy red wine, the zing of fresh Oregon blackberries, the kick in the pants of Stoli, and the bragging rights from making it myself.

I don't know what I was expecting to end up with when I dumped a cup of blackberries into a bottle of vodka and put it away for a month, but the results totally surprised and delighted me. I hate commercial flavored vodkas because of the fakey taste and lack of color, but two friends and I managed to put away most of the bottle last night getting tipsy off cocktails. Too easy to drink, and habit forming to boot.

http://www.chezpei.com/2006/08/blackb...

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  1. Beautiful! And many thanks. You've made me realize I've been approaching my liqueur-making addiction all wrong. I get so excited about making and looking at their gorgeous colors and drinking them, but the typical scene at our house after dinner is friends groaning as I pull out the tiny glasses. "Oh, for God's sake, what infused vodka/fruit brandy/homemade hooch concoction is she unearthing this time? Where the *&^%$ did you come up with this one?" That last was about the 44! Lovely, sparkly cocktails will be sure to charm them, before they've had enough wine to become loose-lipped and mock my addiction....

    3 Replies
    1. re: Junie D

      LOL. What flavors have you served lately? I would like to build my own rainbow...

      1. re: Pei

        Well, nothing revolutionary, just fun:

        Limoncello is my favorite, hmm, which also makes a good aperitif...

        A version of limoncello made with oranges.

        44, inspired by you - I really like this stuff! I'll have to try it in white wine as an aperitif as Patricia Wells recommends.

        Cassis - highly recommend it. I have a black currant bush, planted three years ago, that finally produced about 25 currants this spring. Maybe next year, until then Berkeley Bowl.

        Brandied cherries - I leave the stems on and pits in and serve one cherry and a bit of brandy in a tiny stemmed glass. I think it is the most elegant after dinner drink/dessert.

        Cherry-infused vodka

        Blackberry-infused vodka

        Raspberry-infused vodka

        Nocino - made it the first time this year. I have now strained it and it looks, as a friend described it, like motor oil. See how they mock me?! I like the nocino but am waiting to see what it does. The flavor now, as best I can describe it, is a cross between Coca Cola and the German pfefferneusse (sp?) cookies my mother used to make. As if Coke made a Christmas version - you know like Anchor makes a holiday beer? But I am aging the nocino for at least 6 months before I spring it on them.

        For the fall I'm planning on pomegranate-infused vodka/liqueur.

        1. re: Junie D

          Pomegranate is a great one - subtle, fruity taste. People love it.

    2. Beautiful Pei, and sounds tasty too! Did you paint your nails to match the liqueur?!? ;-)

      1. That's one I've yet to try--looks gorgeous!

        I've got a Blueberry in the works--along with a New Mexico pepper, Meyer Lemon, Clementine, Raspberry, Pineapple, Kumquat, and Genovese Basil--love these infusions!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Funwithfood

          I just filtered my pineapple last weekend. Gave it 5 weeks. This is dangerously good. It's also almost gone. I will hit Costco this weekend to get another started. I've been so enthralled with the pineapple, I haven't yet brought up the Blueberry. That will also happen this weekend.

          1. re: Bobfrmia

            Roy's makes a pineapple-infused vodka "martini" that's delicious. I think they add coconut-flavored rum...?

          1. What am I doing wrong?

            I took nice, fresh, clean blueberries, a small amount of fresh lemon juice and combined w/ vodka (small amount to experiment). Tasted..waited..tasted. When it tasted great I strained the fruit through a fine mesh strainer and then through double layer of cheese cloth. Had some (mixed w/ lemonade--delish!) and then put it in a clean jar in the refrig. Forgot about it for about 2 weeks and it tasted not right at all (husband thought it tasted like prunes!). Why did it change? (A friend said the fruit starts to ferment and that action keeps going even when the fruit is removed.) How can I prevent this? Do you drink your infused vodkas all at once? Any insight would be most helpful.

            1. I've never tried blueberries, but I have noticed that acidic fruit tends to work better. Also, I've never had any problem with the taste changing after taking out the infusing fruit/herbs, but we always put it straight into the freezer after straining, so maybe that's why.

              1. wait? you put your booze in the freezer?? the only booze that belongs in the freezer is jaeger, and even that...... but yeah, my mom used to make blackberry vodka all the time. she would fill up an entire jug w/ blackberrys, and let it steep for months.

                1. I don't know, vodka is always put in the freezer in Russia. Vodka bottle frozen in a block of ice is the ultimate. You want it to have that syrupy consistency but go down smooooth. Never noticed or heard of any ill effects, and everyone loves it that way (for shots, that is).

                  1. shots i can understand, i guess. but never for cocktails. you need the water that melts off the ice to smooth and balance...

                    1. I don't believe you have to smooth/balance spirits in a cocktail unless they are not premium (not including certain whiskys of course) - if they're of lesser quality, shaking room-temp spirits with ice will indeed take the booziness bite out.

                      1. Junie D, I sure hope you will tell us how the nocino turns out. I have been tempted to make it for a while, but keep forgetting to get the green walnuts at the right time!

                        And as for other infused vodkas, I remember reading in the New York Times about a bubblegum infused vodka that was one of the specialties of a bar in Manhattan. I think they stuck wads of Big League Chew in the bottles, which made me think of two things: I sure hope they didn't chew it first, or otherwise that will be one bar I will not be visiting the next time I go to NYC; and from an organic chemistry standpoint, I don't know what the vodka would do to the gum, and if something weird might infuse out or be formed as well.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: burnt toast

                          LOL! I can just imagine it dissolving into a gooey mess like old Extra gum! Yuck!