Infusing your own vodka is so easy, it’s ridiculous — all you need is a few tools and a little patience!
The idea to infuse my own chai vodka struck me back when I made chai cookies. I love all things chai and I’ve always wanted to flavour my own vodka, especially since I don’t think plain old vodka tastes very good (I’m more of a beer and wine person).
This is why, when I ended up with a bottle of vodka over the holidays, I knew the day had come: the stars aligned and chai vodka totally happened!
So, when it comes to infusing vodka, it’s less about concrete rules and more about guidelines to success. For example…
1) Don’t start with gross alcohol — pick a decent vodka. It doesn’t have to be Grey Goose or Belvedere, but it shouldn’t be Potter’s or Alberta Pure, either.
2) You can either use fresh fruits, vegetables, or herbs, or you can use dried fruit, herbs, or spices — just make sure that you use twice as much fresh ingredients as dry ingredients for maximum infusion effectiveness.
3) Timing is everything. Generally fresh ingredients take longer to infuse than dried ones. If you want a really strong flavour in your vodka, infuse for more time; if you want a more subtle flavour, infuse for less time. You can always crack open the container you’re infusing in and use a spoon to sip a little sample (no double-dipping!) to see how your creation is coming along.
4) Be creative!
Below is my personal chai vodka recipe. It’s fragrant and bursting with spiced flavour, but next time I think I’ll add more cardamom. Since there’s technically no official recipe for chai, mix and match these spices as you’d like!
*original recipe by Christine
- 1 part black pepper corns
- 1 part whole cloves
- 1 part whole all spice
- 1 part whole star anise
- 4 parts cardamom seeds
- 6 parts fresh ginger, diced
- 2 cinnamon sticks, 3 inches long
- 1 bottle of vodka, 750 ml (26 oz)
- 1 clean glass jar with a resealable top
- 1 clean glass bottle with a resealable top
- 1 mesh strainer or colander
- 1 funnel
- 1 paper coffee filter
Measure out your ingredients.
Chop your ginger. Gently crush your spices, break em up a bit — you want to maximize surface area for better flavour.
Drop everything into a large glass jar and pour the vodka into the jar. Seal the jar, give it a shake, and put it in a cool, dark place.
Wait. Make sure to take out your infusing vodka and give it a shake every 2 days or so.
After 10 days, you can now strain your vodka!
First, run it through a colander or a mesh strainer in order to remove the large chunks of spices.
Next, carefully set up funnel in the neck of the bottle you want to store your vodka in, line it with a paper coffee filter, and slowly filter your vodka through it to remove any remaining bits of spices.
Ta-dah! It might have taken some waiting, but now you’re done. Refrigerate your vodka and enjoy it responsibly!
Here are some of the drinks that I’ve been making lately…
- 1 part chai vodka
- 1 part Irish cream liqueur
- 1 part sweetened Assam tea
Brew the Assam tea ahead of time, and sweeten to taste. Cool at least an hour before using.
To make the Chaitini, shake the chai vodka, cream liqueur, and sweet Assam tea vigorously in a martini shaker with ice. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a cinnamon stick.
Chai’ed Apple Cocktail
- 2 parts unfiltered apple juice (or 3 parts sweet apple cider)
- 1 part soda water
- 1 part chai vodka
- squeeze of lemon juice
Pour unsweetened, unfiltered apple juice, soda water, chai vodka, and lemon juice into a cocktail glass with ice. Stir and serve with slice of apple as garnish.
- 3 parts cranberry juice
- 1 part vanilla liqueur
- 1 part chai vodka
Pour cranberry juice, vanilla liqueur, and chai vodka into a cocktail glass with ice. Stir and serve.
Hot Chocolate Chai
- 2 cups of hot chocolate
- 1 shot of chai vodka
- 1 shot of Irish cream liqueur
- 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Prepare hot chocolate in a large mug. Drop in 1 shot of chai vodka, 1 shot Irish cream liqueur and 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Stir and serve hot.
And there you have it — believe me when I say that there’s nothing like the taste and pride of adding your own personal touch to your drinks. Yum!