With the abundance of beautiful local fruit and long hours at work presenting the need for a stiff drink in the evening, I decided to take my first stab at a vodka infusion. I know you can buy flavored vodkas at any old grocery store these days, but I thought I’d try my hand at a unique flavor made with fruit at the peak of its perfection.
For my first try, I chose cherries. I pitted 1/2 cup of sweet Bing cherries. No special tools are needed, just un-bend a large paper clip and scoop the pits out. I reserved the pits, and cracked them with a mallet (inside a towel of course – well, after that first one exploded across the room…) and added them to the cherries. The cracked pits impart a bitter almond flavor that I’ve been really craving lately. Of course, that bitter taste is a cyanide-precursor, but with just eight or so tiny pits, I think I’ll risk it. Last, I dropped in a half-tablespoon of sugar and four cloves. You don’t want to go overboard with spices -m the vodka is really good at extracting all the flavorful oils out of them.

Vodka, infusing with cherries, cracked cherry pits and cloves

I poured vodka over the cherry mixture to cover, inside a tightly sealed jar (about two cups total.) I used Svedka because it’s inexpensive (about $12 for a 750 ml bottle,) really smooth and has no flavor of its own. After two days, I removed the cloves, and the cherries’ color had already been leached out. Every other day, I stir the infusion, and in two weeks to a month, it will be ready to drink. After it’s ready, I’ll strain the mixture through a sieve and cheesecloth, and add it to cocktails – I think this would be great with limeade or even some light ginger ale. After a week, the infusion is a beautiful, uniform red in color.