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Which brand of Vodka do you use when making infusions

I was planning on doing my first infusion this weekend and was wondering which vodka works best. I was thinking something along the lines of Smirnoff, which is not harsh and is middle of the road in terms of cost.

So all you infusers, which brands do you use?

And do people make mint or other herb infusions? If so what quantities would you use?

On a side note i was thinking of using bsil infused vodka in a vodka sauce to amp up the flavour. Do you think this would work?

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  1. Gordons, if not available then Smirnoff. Gordons is very clean and light, ditto for Smirnoff but I like Gordons taste better and my wallet likes it better as well.

    As for infusions... I make them as strong as possible since you can always "water" it down to taste later of too strong, but re-infusing a weak batch is a nuisance.

    1. I love using Stoli, but it's a bit pricey unless I can find it on sale. The fanciest I've done is Ketel One, because I found it for $15 for a 1.75L jug (I know! Amazing; I bought several).

      Lately I've used Skyy, which is fine and inexpensive.

      1. Sky....it's a very good vodka always available at a great price anywhere. For the price it's the best buy by far.

        1. I use Gordons as well. I don't think you need a great vodka for infusions.

          1. I use SKYY or Stoli or Kettle One (Costco has pretty good prices on vodka). Mm, chily horseradish infusion makes a wicked Bloody Mary.

            1. Skyy also for me.

              I've tried basil-infused vodka--went too long I think--was horrible.

              Regarding herbs, I once added rosemary to my cranberry infusion. As much as I love herbs, it was not good.

              2 Replies
              1. re: Funwithfood

                What did you intend to use the basi-infused vodak for? Sounds interesting?

                1. re: bryan

                  Says Vivi Labo: "Serve with Italian food, lamb, veal, fish, chicken, vegetable and egg dishes, salads, pizza, pasta, rice, cheese - and dishes with onions, garlics, tomatoes and olives.

                  Or add a little schnapps to your soups, stews, meaty pasta sauces, tomato sauces, barbecue sauces - or any other dish, sauce, herb butter, salad dressing or dip, where you would normally use basil.

                  Excellent as after-dinner drink.

                  Basil schnapps blends very well with...
                  apple schnapps · sweet cicely schnapps · rosemary schnapps · tarragon schnapps · chili schnapps."

                  I can vouch for the tarragon and rosemary combos - delicious!

              2. I would second smirnoff. I use 100 proof for the first step of the infusion then mix it with 80 proof.

                1. Skyy for us, too.

                  We used the recipes on the site below for our herbal/spice infusions. I think for basil it calls for 10 ml packed leaves. I'm sure it would work for pasta sauce, but you'll have to taste often to see how much it would take so get the flavor boost you're looking for. Yum! Ours also made an awesome liqueur when blended with tarragon schnapps and sugar.

                  Oh, re. Funwithfood's comment, definitely don't oversteep it. 48 hours max, 24 even better.

                  Previous post with link to schnapps recipes: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/show/...

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: coolbean98

                    Yes, the basil infusion did taste better early on--although still not something that appealed to me.

                    I like to try just about everything infusion-wise. One infusion I do like is one with a fully ripe (red) New Mexico pepper. It has a mild bite, with a true pepper flavor. Would be lovely in a bloody Mary.

                  2. it really depends on what you plan on infusing into your vodka. something earthier i would go with Hangar 1. Somthing to spice it up Blavod Black Vodka. and if your looking for fruity i would go with smirnoff.

                    1. Thanks for the replies, i bought a handle of Skyy. Follow up question, what are the best fall harvest items that you would use for an infusion. I was thinking of what was in season now and wasnt sure if any of these would make a great infusion, apples, pumpkin or other squash, cranberry. I was thinking of making one this weekend to use on Thanksgiving.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: MVNYC

                        I did cranberry last year and it was great.

                        This year I'm going to try pomegranate.

                        Although, last Thanksgiving everyone loved the pineapple infusion. It reminded them of summer.

                        1. re: Pei

                          How long did the cranberry steep, and how long do you think the Pomegranate will need to? Too late to make this for a mid-Dec holiday party? TIA!

                          1. re: Angel Food

                            I let the cranberry steep for quite awhile. I don't remember exactly, but I would say at least two weeks and maybe more like a month.

                            I just started a pomegranate infusion a few days ago and it's already pretty well infused (fruit's turning white, vodka's turning pink). Start now and you'll be fine.!

                            1. re: Pei

                              How did you "prepare" your pomegranate? did you completely seed it? or just cut it in chunks? and how long are you planning to let it infuse?

                        2. re: MVNYC

                          Two years ago, I did an infusion with quince. I had picked a whole lot of them and was too lazy to make jelly before they went dodgy so I made huge quantities (w/ Smirnoff as a base) and handed it out as gifts. It was really, really good. The quince took to it really well.
                          A friend also makes infusions with cloves, cinnamon, orange peel, and ginger and sticks it in the freezer to have on hand around Christmas time, so that she has instant festive drinks ready whenever anyone pops by. Goes well in cider, too.

                          1. re: ginqueen

                            Oh, that is a great idea. I just got a bunch of quinces from a friend... How long did you steep the quince?

                            1. re: butterfly

                              I sliced 'em up (but didn't seed/core them) and steeped them for a month and a half, and that seemed enough for them to develop a good strong flavor. A friend steeped it for a month as well, but she did core them and kept it in a really pretty bottle, so it looked nice for gifts to still have the pieces of fruit in there (quinces are so lovely after all). I don't think the flavor was quite as good w/o the seeds though.

                        3. it's all pretty much the same, unless you buy the bottom of the barrel stuff.

                          1. anyone have a link to making good infusions? i'm really interested.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jpschust

                              We've made the honey, basil, tarragon, black pepper, cardamom, clove, orange zest, et al infusions from this site and all have turned out great. Excellent website, very well put together - I just wish there was a saffron recipe:

                              Danish Schnapps (i.e. Vodka Infusions):

                              1. I have used Skyy, Smirnoff and Ketel One for making an infused vodka. We have made raspberry infused vodka and pineapple infused vodka and they have been BIG hits. For the pineapple, you need to start at least a week before the event. Honestly, you can use fresh or canned (though fresh is better) pineapple. The raspberry only needs to be started a few days before. My friend gave me The Cocktails of the Ritz Carlton (by Colin Peter Field) and there are several great recipes in there for infused vodka. I highly suggest this book for general cocktail purposes as well; it's wonderful.

                                1. I just now put two Hawaiian fresh pineapples(as fresh as they can be having made the trip to Wisconsin))cored peeled and chunked into a big glass jar, and added a handle (1/2 gal) of Stoli. I had this martini at a place called Sullivan's in Chicago three years ago. They gave us the recipe for the infusion. It's the infamous "Stoli Doli" martini made popular by The Capital Grill Restaurant. They did emphasize it was very important to use high-end vodka...the purer the better they said. I do like Gordon's Vodka too...but that's when I mix it with orange juice. Anyway, the stoli/pineapple concoction is now sitting on my kitchen cupboard where it has to stay untouched for a minimum of seven days. I'll shake it and make it for Thanksgiving. Took me three years to finally try it, and I am hoping it will taste as good as it did in Chicago. (can anyone tell me what you do with the infused pineapple chunks?....altho I can make a good guess!

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: ripleymi

                                    I make the same infusion (although I had it a Hot Tin Roof in Key West) and it's always a big hit!!!! I garnish the drink with the pineapple. Or, you can just throw a couple of chunks in the actual drink.

                                    1. re: ripleymi

                                      The pineapple chunks will not retain any taste of pineapple. They taste like mushy vodka. Quite a shock if you just pop one in your mouth.
                                      Just squeeze as much vodka out of them as you can.

                                      1. re: ripleymi

                                        I was wondering if it turned out good - and long did it keep (or was it gone before it had time to go bad?????

                                        1. re: ripleymi

                                          Share recipe with us. Will you. I also had a taste of this at Sullivans. Yum. Thanks

                                          1. re: iceal

                                            It's not a recipe.

                                            The Capital Grill Stoli-Doli is just pineapple infused vodka (10 days), shaken with ice, and served straight up.

                                        2. I made pumpkin-infused vodka using a recipe I found somewhere online and, well, it was not a big hit. We used Kettle One, and put in a halved vanilla bean, close to an entire sugar pumpkin chopped up into one inch cubes and two cinnamon sticks. It smelled divine, but even after nearly two weeks, it tasted like mildly-flavored vodka.

                                          I have had the pineapple-infused vodka at Red Square in Las Vegas and it is divine. The bartender there told us that the key is to use good vodka because the cheap stuff makes for a bad aftertaste. Now that I have a proper steeping jar, my next try will be that. Mmmm.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: pooch

                                            Can a steeping jar be purchased? I am intrigued and really want to try this! :)

                                          2. Well, I don't know that it's a steeping jar per se, but I bought (at Linens N' Things) a large glass cylindrical jar with a screw on top so that things are relatively air-tight in there. I have no other use for such a jar, so I figure I should make use of my "steeping jar."

                                            1. I was curious how long the "stoli doli" stays fresh - it said to leave it for at least 7 days - but how long does it stay good after that?

                                              1. I kept the pineapple infused Vodka on the cupboard for over two weeks. Now it is in the refirgerator with the pineapple still in it. I'll push it through a strainer before Xmas. Hope it's still ok! It was strong stuff! And that pineapple chunk I popped in my mouth. YIKES! No pineapple taste left at all! Pure vodka. Someone suggested freezing them and putting in the martini/drink. First drinks I shook in a coctail shaker for martinis. (anyone have any advice on how to prevent those shakers from sticking shut when they get cold?) Second ones I poured over ice and added a splash of cranberry juice. They were good! altho more of a summer drink. A local martini/wine bar makes different infused vodkas every week and bartender told me they add a little sugar when making their infusions. I'll try that next time. Am also going to try a cheaper vodka than stoli.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: ripleymi

                                                  Thanks so much for replying - helped a lot! Let me know if you try it again with sugar added and how it turns out. Hope you holidays are wonderful!

                                                2. Roy's recipe for their Hawaiian Martini is like heroin:

                                                  3 bottles of Skyy vodka
                                                  1 bottle of Malibu Rum
                                                  1/2 bottle of Stoli Vanil vodka
                                                  2 large pineapples
                                                  1/2 cup of sugar

                                                  Lay the pineapple ( peeled, cored, and sliced ) in the bottom of a large jar. Mix all the liquors ( the specific brands are key) and the sugar in a large container and stir. When the sugar has dissolved, pour the liquor over the pineapples, put the lid on the jar, and let sit for 3 days.

                                                  When you shake it and pour it martini-style, it doesn't even taste like liquor. However, this stuff will knock your lights out. Extremely tasty.

                                                  1. One of my favorites that I've done is lavender. I took fresh lavender sprigs and put them in the cheapest possible vodka. It was lovely.

                                                    1. I grew a lot of Basil in the top of those hanging tomato planters, made a number of Basil infusions, drink it mostly with Lo-Sodium V-8 Juice!! Ummmmm. Also grew Mint, drinking some now with artificially sweetened tea and a splash of OJ.