With all the insane flavored vodkas out there, you may not have known how incredibly easy it is to infuse your own. While flavors like cotton candy or smoked salmon may prove a bit more involved, vodka infused with things like fruit or spices is a breeze—and much cheaper and tastier than anything you’ll find at the store. All you need is a big bottle of cheap vodka (not so cheap that it burns a hole in your sink, but certainly nothing over $15) and a few hours. Here are five super easy recipes to get you started.
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This zesty vodka has all of grapefruit’s citrusy essence with none of its sweetness, making it incredibly versatile in cocktails. Try it in a simple Vodka Soda with a spritz of the fruit itself or mix it with tonic and discover your new, go-to aperitif.
Step 1 Zest two large grapefruits, trying to get as little of the pith as possible.
Step 2 Add the grapefruit peels to a bottle vodka. Cap it and give it a quick shake.
Step 3 Let infuse for 24 hrs and strain. If you want even more flavor, keep the peels in the bottle, tasting every hour or so until it’s up to your zesty requirements.
Bright and vegetal with just a slight burn at the back of the throat, this spicy vodka is just what your Bloody Mary needs. It would also be great in an extra-pungent take on a Dirty Martini with pickled jalapeño juice replacing the usual olive.
Step 1 Slice and seed one jalapeño. If you have sensitive hands, use gloves.
Step 2 Slide the pepper slices into a bottle of vodka. Cap and give it a quick shake.
Step 3 Let infuse for 24 hrs and strain. If you want it even spicier, keep the peppers in the bottle and taste every hour until it reaches your desired level of heat.
Rich, toasty and packed with real vanilla flavor, this vanilla-flavored vodka is like liquid pound cake—but without all the sugar. Try it in an ultra-decadent Chocolate Martini or just sip it on the rocks as a digestif.
Step 1 Split one vanilla bean.
Step 2 Add the split bean to a bottle of vodka. Cap and give it a quick shake.
Step 3 Let infuse for 24 hrs and strain. The vanilla is extremely potent so you probably won’t need to leave it in the bottle any longer—unless you are a seriously dedicated vanilla fiend.
Be careful around this vibrantly fruity infused vodka—it’s so good you can drink it straight and not even blink twice. Remarkably smooth and round, it would do wonders in a Chi Chi, but we prefer it simply mixed with seltzer.
Step 1 Peel, core and chop one small pineapple.
Step 2 Add the pineapple chunks to a bottle of vodka (you might need to pour some of the vodka out to make room). Cap the bottle and give it a quick shake.
Step 3 Let infuse for 24 hrs and strain. If it’s not fruity enough for you, leave the pineapple in the bottle and taste every hour until it is satisfyingly sweet and tropical.
This crisp, fresh, lightly savory vodka is vegetal with hints of anise and a touch of sweetness. Store it in your freezer and serve it in ice cold shots with food (it’s remarkably food-friendly) or mixed with tonic.
Step 1 Cut fronds off a fennel bulb.
Step 2 Add a hefty handful of the fennel fronds to a bottle of vodka. Cap it and give it a quick shake.
Step 3 Let infuse for 24 hrs and strain. The fennel is mild, so feel free to leave it in longer, though it won’t get too much stronger.