Posts Tagged Vodka Infusions

Mixology Mishaps

5 December 2012

‘Twas the night before a blog deadline, and all through the bar, Odd Bacchus was stirring some cocktails bizarre.

The booze was poured in the shaker with care, but the result would only be drunk on a dare.

Being a seasonal kind of guy, I planned on extolling the virtues of the Chimayó in this blog post. This cocktail, first brought to my attention by former Wall Street Journal cocktail columnist Eric Felten, combines tequila, unfiltered apple cider, crème de cassis (black currant liqueur) and fresh-squeezed lemon juice. I had all the ingredients on hand, and what could go wrong?

Well, something unpleasant happened between the shaker and the glass, because lovely though this cocktail to the right may look, it tasted like sour menthol smoke berries. My theory is that the gold tequila I used was inappropriate for this drink, and that silver might suit it better. But who knows? I am bereft of silver tequila at the moment, and Mr. Felten doesn’t specify the type of tequila in his article. Come on, Eric! I expected more from you.

Having completely failed at making a palatable Chimayó, it was time for Plan B. I took out a jar of vodka I’d infused with lemon-thyme, a wonderful herb a coworker gave me from her garden. Doesn’t that sound tasty? I poured a little in a glass and took a whiff. “Lemon Pledge” was the first thing that came to mind. A sip confirmed it: I’d made a jar of Lemon Pledge vodka.

Determined to salvage this unfortunate infusion, I tried mixing it with the unfiltered apple cider, a bit of lemon juice and some crème de cassis. Lemon and black currant can go really well together, and since this was a modified version of Felten’s Chimayó recipe, I had high hopes. My optimism proved to be unfounded, however. This cocktail, despite its entirely natural set of ingredients, tasted like chemical lemon candy and purple. Yes, its flavor was revolting enough to induce momentary synesthesia.

With single-minded but sadly misguided zeal, I soldiered on and made one more attempt to create something someone — anyone — might want to drink. I simplified the recipe, using just the lemon-thyme vodka, lemon juice and crème de cassis. The result stunned me with the sheer power of its noxiousness. How could so simple and natural a drink be so overwhelmingly disgusting? I gingerly tried another sip. Indeed, there was no denying the abhorrent flavor, an abomination which I took to be some sign of the End of Days. I spat it into the sink, followed by a spew of unholy expletives unprintable in a blog viewable by the general public.

Although I discovered no new cocktails to recommend on this blog, I did develop a new-found respect for professional mixologists. Tip your bartenders well, dear readers — their job isn’t as easy as it looks.

Soak It In Some Vodka

16 August 2011
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Many an upscale cocktail bar like to tout specialty drinks concocted with house-made vodka infusions. It’s not difficult to make vodka infusions at home, however, and it can be a hoot to experiment with different flavors.

I recently bought some produce at the neighborhood farmers market, and the vendor thoughtfully gave me a bunch of lemon basil to try. It didn’t quite work with the roasted vegetables and sausage I made that evening, but the fresh herb sounded perfect for an infusion.

I found an old jam jar and filled it up with Sobieski Vodka, my favorite home brand. Imported from Poland, this vodka is distilled from 100% Dankowski Rye. “Real vodka is not made from grapes or soybeans,” the Sobieski website declares, before asserting that “Distilling vodka one more time than the next guy does not make it better.”