Nowember wodka update
I’m currently infusing vodka with a few different flavors– pictured (above) is almond, which has been going for about a month now and is starting to show a nice nutty smoothness. I have a ginger infusion (below) that should turn out nicely (though I need to add more ginger).
Since returning from Prague this summer, I have been enamored of Becherovka, an herbal liquor that tastes strongly of ginger and many other spices (it’s a secret blend kind of thing). I thought I’d try to approximate a similar drink by infusing some spices (green cardamom, clove, black pepper, star anise), and then later mix these with the ginger vodka. We’ll see how it turns out– yesterday I took the spices out of the small amount of spice mix vodka, because it had gotten pretty flavorful and had grown into a syrupy viscosity.
Another flavor I’m trying is hops– yes, like hops that you use in brewing beer. I bought an ounce of whole-leaf East Kent Goldings hops (a British variety, used in such beers as Fuller’s ESB), and tried two approaches. Half the hops went straight into vodka– effectively a dry-hopping. The other half I boiled in water for about 25 minutes, hoping to get a good amount of both flavor and bitterness out of them. Then vodka was added for the infusion. After about 2-3 weeks, I strained out all the hops and combined the two different vodkas (as I felt their flavors probably would be best mixed). The result is a green, swampy-looking vodka that is bursting with the flavor of that particular hop variety… it’s a bit intense, but is tempered by mixing with water. I’ve even added it to a Stella Artois to make the beer more hoppy. I would like to get ahold of some Pacific Northwest hop varieties, like Cascade, which have a sweeter, more citrus-like flavor.
I’ve also got a small amount of cucumber-infused vodka which is fairly refreshing… however, there is still an unpleasant aftertaste of bitterness. Can’t tell if it’s just the vodka flavor itself or some off-flavor of the vegetable (the mango-pineapple vodka I made months ago had a similar quality).
I also still have a little bit of cinnamon-clove vodka that I made in August. It’s incredibly strong-tasting, with the cinnamon particles just coating the tongue and leaving a lasting dryness. Hard to take straight, but it works really well mixed with horchata.