Holiday Gifting – Make your own Tea-infused Vodkas
My freezer is never without a bottle or two of chilling vodka. I’m not a regular drinker, and it may take me a year or two to get through it, but being of Russian descent, it’s something (along with pickles and herring) I feel compelled to have around for whenever a celebration might arise. Since it takes me so long to get through a bottle, and since I’m so intrigued by sourcing, blending, and cooking with teas, I started infusing little samples of vodkas with tea, herbs, fruits, flowers and spices. Here are some of the results – the good, the bad and the ugly – but some of the winners are truly exquisite. Get some nice bottles and package some up – it makes a welcome and unique gift! And of course, we’re not talking tea here… so drink responsibly!
To make infused vodka – pour 6 oz vodka into a mason jar and add 1 tsp tea leaves, herbs or spices. Let sit in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks. Strain and pour into serving bottles. Chill well before serving. Finished product will keep in the freezer for at least 6 months. Generally, the black tea-infused vodkas and the Rooibos were the best.
Oolong-infused vodka – OK, but the whole is less than the sum of the parts. Seems like a silly compromise of two great products.
Red Rocks Vodka – Rooibos infused. Smooth, sleek and awesomely RED.
Darjeeling Vodka – same result as with the Oolong – not really worth the mix!
White Tea Vodka – Um… no. You’ll taste too much of it trying to find the flavor.
Green Tea Vodka – Pretty good, but use twice the amount of tea leaves as recommended, to try to make the overall drink smoother.
Very Black Vodka – my personal favorite! Infused with Pu-erh or Bolder Breakfast You’d never know you weren’t sipping a tiny tea cup of very very black tea!
Lemon Balm Vodka – OK, but haven’t figured out how to make it smooth – a bit rough going down.
Rose Bud Vodka – I’m the only one who drank this – but I thought it made a great chocolate martini. (Everyone else thought it smelled too much like bath lotion).
Peppercorn Vodka – Strong. Not many fans.
Honey Peppercorn Vodka – doesn’t make it much better.
Basil Vodka – very nice. And the leaves look so nice in the bottle.
Mint Vodka – I made 3 different kinds, and again, not many takers!
Oregano Vodka – Also rough, albeit the leaves look very pretty in there…