Well, I think it’s about time the blogging break ended. I lost the urge to write these posts a few months back and I didn’t want to put forth blog posts that lacked enthusiasm or fun topics…both I feared if I was blogging just to blog. But the last month I’ve been getting that creative bug back and tonight I decided enough was enough. I’m back! How often I’ll post after this, who knows. But I’ll put a few out there whenever I can because creating this little blog has actually been loads of fun. And that’s what it’s about after all, right?
So, this idea came to me as I was thinking of creative gifts at Christmas time. (Yes, this is a post I meant to write months ago. Sincere apologies.) I thought it would be fun to create something that was part food, part craft and my Real Simple magazine inspired the mash-up of the two – flavored vodkas.
Truly, I thought flavoring your own vodka must be a cumbersome task. Would take lots of time, blood, sweat and tears (though read on and some of that happened by mistake.)
Boy was I wrong.
This is amazingly simple and I think you’ll want to give it a try once you see just how easy it is. These also DO make great gifts and show that yes, you can come up with a creative, out-of-the-box gift and impress your family and friends. Or, dang it, you can make these for your own enjoyment! Everyone loves a good libation now and then.
I decided to make three different varieties and followed Real Simples’ suggestions for amounts. I’ve added in my own notes below for those who’d like to give these a go.
Side note – there is an entertaining story buried below which includes a forewarning. If you read on I can assure you a slight giggle, chuckle, chortle, or whatever sort of laugh sounds you make.
- For each flavored vodka you decide to make, you’ll need a large, clear vessel with a stopper. I found some fun shaped ones at good ole’ Target and they worked perfectly and they were very affordable.
- Wooden tags, so you can let your recipients know what flavor their wonderful booze contains. Although I found mine at a little boutique, you could likely find these at any craft store.
- Twine to tie on your tags
- Felt pen or permanent marker to label your tags with
- 1 liter of plain, unflavored Vodka. I split this 3 ways to make the three vodkas below. You can make 1 liter of all one flavor or use 1/3 of a liter for each, whatever floats your boat
- 1.5 cups of fresh pineapple chunks
- 4-5 vanilla beans, sliced open
- 3 halved and seeded jalapeños** (I would go towards the milder jalapeño vs. a spicier pepper)
How to Make:
First things first – wash our your clear vessels with hot, soapy water and dry them. After you decide how many flavored vodkas you’re hankering to make, split the plain vodka up amongst your clear vessels. Here are the three I chose to use:
Next you’ll need to prepare the flavor mix-ins of your choosing.
For the vanilla vodka, I wanted a fairly sweet and intense flavor so I sliced open the vanilla beans a bit to enhance the saturation level. If you’d rather go for subtle flavor, I’d throw in just the plain vanilla beans. Recommend 4-5 beans.
For the pineapple vodka, chop up the pineapple into nicely sized chunks. Think large, edible chunks (size wise). I highly recommend using fresh pineapple if you can.
And for the jalapeño vodka, just slice the jalapeños in half, de-seed them with a sharp knife and drop them into the vodka.
**However…please read the below cautionary tale. Wash your hands once you’ve finished chopping!
Once all of your mix-ins have been added, put your vessel stoppers and ensure they’re snug. As Real Simple noted, you’ll want tight seals. If you’re putting this into a gift basket or anything, I can also add some cling wrap to ensure your stoppers stay in place.
You can either refrigerate these right away or you can give to your gift recipients right away and let them know that THEY will want to refrigerate these. You need time for the flavors to infuse! The recommended time is 3 days to 1 week in the fridge. Once it’s been a week, you’ll want to remove, or instruct your recipient to remove the flavoring mix-ins.
Wrap your twine around the neck of the bottles, add your flavor label to the gift tags and instructions for infuse time and a reminder to remove your mix-ins.
Supposedly, these will be not so good once you reach the 2 month mark but hopefully, they’re so tasty that they are consumed LONG before that 2 month mark arrives. However, to be safe, I would recommend noting the 2 month expiration date for anyone you give this to.
Tie the tags on, wrap up your vodkas or stick them in a basket and voila! A neat, homemade gift that will be a delicious addition to any fun libation.
** So the story I must share with you for both humor and warning is this…I made the pineapple and vanilla vodkas and had turned to my jalapeño vodka to finish up with. I sliced those babies up and placed them in the bottle of vodka, closed up the stopper and thought I was done, as I reached up and gave my cheek a little scratch and rubbed my nose. Can’t explain why, my face must have itched. Well…within about 10 seconds, my face started to really itch. Then burn. I wiped my face with the side of hand, wondering what the heck was happening. My nostrils started to burn, as in, REALLY BURN. I started to sneeze. Then it hit me…I had rubbed jalapeño juice ALL OVER the bottom portion of my face.
Ran over to the sink to flush my face with ice-cold water. Let me tell you, that does NOT work.
At this point I was becoming quite vocal about my extreme discomfort to my family who was sitting in the vicinity and was initially completely perplexed at my commentary until I shared the idiocy of the jalapeño –> jalapeño juice –> face situation. All of which was explained while taking breaths between submerging my face in water. While trying to not laugh (not all were successful at this), they started to quickly Google solutions.
At this point I was starting to whine, laugh, cry, sniffle, sneeze all at the same time. While continuing with my face-dunking in the cold water. My face now felt like it had the worst sunburn on the planet and someone had then taken a hot iron to my skin. I was not in a happy place my friends. An absurd, uncomfortable place but it wasn’t too happy.
Google informed us of a few solutions…milk was the first one that we tried. I was leaning over the sink with a milk soaked rag pressed to my face. Temporary relief was felt. But it wasn’t making the burning stop. On to solution #2!
Google then informed us to try rubbing alcohol. Apparently there is oil in the hot pepper juice which is why water doesn’t help nor milk. (I honestly didn’t know this until this whole incident.) Milk helps to balance the sting but it’s not helping to remove the actual oil from your face to make the pain go AWAY.
Rubbing alcohol went all over my face. I smelled quite amazing at this point, let me tell you.
But it WORKED. Hallelujah.
My brain had started to go to the thought of…am I ending up in the ER with one of THOSE stories?
Moral of the story as I stood in the kitchen with a beet red face, tears coming out of my eyes still from both laughter at the absurdity of the situation and the true pain my skin had just been in. God bless rubbing alcohol.
*Therefore – do NOT do as i did. Wash those hands as soon as you finishing slicing the jalapeños! I knew this cardinal rule yet spaced it out. Never again folks. Never. Again.