Just pour vodka over your ingredient of choice, let it steep overnight, and you’ll have a cocktail base to last all week.

Advertisement
Carey Jones

With some exceptions, flavored vodkas don’t exactly have the best reputation. But vodka itself is the blank slate of spirits: clean, essentially flavorless, ready to pick up whatever other flavors you give it. And if you’re looking for a way to make tasty cocktails—and, at the same time, preserve fruits or herbs you’re looking to use up in the fridge—infusing vodka accomplishes both objectives at once.

The best part? It couldn’t be easier. Pour vodka over your ingredient of choice, let it steep overnight, and you’ll have a cocktail base to last all week. Here are three of our favorite infusions.

Food & Wine is partnering with Southern Smoke Foundation to help raise money for restaurant workers around the country who are in crisis. Please consider making a donation today.

Grapefruit Vodka (and a Grapefruit Vodka-Soda)

Carey Jones

Letting vodka steep with grapefruit segments -- you don’t want the bitter pith, here -- gives you a juicy, fresh vodka that retains the fruit’s vibrant flavor and needs nothing more than soda to become a delicious, bone-dry cocktail. Orange, tangerine, and Meyer lemon would all be delicious here, too.

To make the infused vodka, enough for two drinks: Pour four ounces of vodka into a sealable container. Add ⅓ of a medium-sized ruby red grapefruit—the flesh only, not the skin or pith. Let sit overnight. Strain before using. (To make a whole 750ml bottle’s worth, use two full grapefruits.)

One way to drink it: Just add soda: Pour an ounce and a half of grapefruit vodka over ice with three ounces of club soda. Stir briefly and garnish with a grapefruit half-moon.

Rosemary Vodka (Drink It on the Rocks)

Alcohol is a super-efficient way of extracting flavor from woody, fragrant rosemary, and leaves you with a vodka that’s aromatic and a little savory. Fresh fennel would be a fabulous substitute.

To make the infused vodka, enough for two drinks: Pour four ounces of vodka into a sealable container. Add two four-inch segments of rosemary. Let sit overnight. Strain before using. (To make a whole 750ml bottle’s worth, use 12 segments.)

One way to drink it: We love sipping two ounces of this over ice, with a garnish of rosemary to amp up the flavors. It’s delicious as a chilled shot after dinner, too.

 

Strawberry Vodka (and a Strawberry Sour or ‘75)

Carey Jones

In some parts of the country, strawberry season is just beginning, and there’s no better way to capture the bright flavor of fresh berries than a quick infusion. Feel free to swap in any kind of  berry here; just know that even if you’re using something small like a blueberry, you’ll want to cut it open so that the vodka can penetrate the interior and extract all that flavor.

To make the infused vodka, enough for two drinks: Pour four ounces of vodka into a sealable container. Add 2-3 strawberries, de-stemmed and sliced. Let sit overnight. Strain before using. (To make a whole 750ml bottle’s worth, use 15-18 strawberries.)

One way to drink it: If you’ve got a lemon, you can make a strawberry sour: In a cocktail shaker with ice, combine an ounce and a half of strawberry vodka, 3/4 ounce of lemon juice, and 3/4 ounce of simple syrup. Shake until very well-chilled, then pour into a rocks glass or stemless wine glass with ice. Garnish with a lemon wheel and a strawberry. And if you want to make it even more festive? Top with two ounces of sparkling wine, and it’s a Strawberry ‘75.