a bottle of yellow liquid and a bottle of pink-red liquid
Lemon Peppercorn Vodka (left) and Pink Grapefruit-Rosemary Vodka (Photo/Faith Kramer)

A boozy Purim treat — start infusing that vodka now

Purim is still two weeks away — but the extra time will be handy to experiment with these infused vodka recipes to serve during your seudah (celebratory meal) or include in your mishloach manot (Purim gift baskets).

Indulging in alcoholic drinks is a Purim custom. Supposedly adults are to imbibe until the names of the villain Haman and the hero Mordechai are indistinguishable.

Rather than downing straight vodka shots, why not sample one of these specialty vodka infusions: Pink Grapefruit-Rosemary (try it on the rocks with seltzer), Lemon Peppercorn (works well in a lemon drop cocktail) or Thai Bird’s Eye Chili (the base ingredient in a very spicy bloody mary). The best way to serve them is icy cold from the freezer.

Store the finished product in the pantry, refrigerator or freezer in a bottle with a sealable cap (an empty vodka bottle works well), or decant into smaller bottles to share.

Taste during the infusion process to judge flavor strength, as each batch will vary. I’ve found two to four days of infusion sufficient, but you might like a stronger or milder flavor. Try making half batches if a full recipe is more than is needed.

Pink Grapefruit-Rosemary Vodka

Makes about 3 cups

2 medium/large organic, pink-skinned star ruby or pink grapefruit
6-inch sprig of fresh rosemary
3 cups unflavored vodka

bottle of red liquid with sprig of rosemary
Pink Grapefruit Rosemary Vodka (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Scrub and rinse grapefruit. Peel with a knife into long strips, being careful to not include any of the white pith (which will make the vodka bitter). Reserve remainder of fruit for another use. Place the peels into sterilized 1-qt. glass jar with lid. Rinse rosemary sprig and add to jar. Pour in vodka. Tightly close lid and place in cool, dark place, such as a pantry or closet. Shake bottle once or twice a day. After 48 hours, pour off a sip into a glass (do not sip from jar). Taste. If not at desired flavor, repeat every day or two until flavor strength is as desired.

Line a strainer with cheesecloth over a 4-cup measuring cup or bowl. Pour vodka mixture through strainer, discarding solids. Pour flavored liquid back into clean, sterilized bottle. Close cap or seal airtight. Store in cool, dark place or in refrigerator or freezer.

If mold or off smells or flavors develop at any point in this process or during storage, discard the entire batch.

Lemon Peppercorn Vodka

Makes about 3 cups

4 medium/large organic lemons
1 Tbs. whole peppercorns (black, green, white, pink, brown or a mix)
3 cups unflavored vodka

bottle of yellow liquid
Lemon Peppercorn Vodka (Photo/Faith Kramer)

Scrub and rinse lemons. Peel with a knife into strips, being careful not to include any of the white pith. Reserve remainder of fruit for another use. Place the peels into sterilized 1-qt. glass jar with lid. Rinse peppercorns and add to jar. Pour vodka in. Tightly close lid and place in cool, dark place.

Follow tasting, decanting and storage directions for above vodka recipe. If mold or off smells or flavors develop at any point in the process or during storage, discard the entire batch.

Thai Bird’s Eye Chili Vodka

Makes about 3 cups

1 cup fresh red Thai bird’s eye chilis (or other small, hot, fresh red chilis)
3 cups unflavored vodka

Pick very fresh, firm Thai bird’s eye chilis, or other similar chilis. Discard any with bruises or brown spots. Leave chili stems on. Rinse well. Place in 1-qt. bottle with vodka. Tightly close container. Store in cool, dark place.

Follow tasting, decanting and storage directions for first vodka recipe. If mold or off smells or flavors develop at any point in the process or during storage, discard the entire batch.

kramer-faith-WEB
Faith Kramer

Faith Kramer is a Bay Area food writer. She blogs about her food at clickblogappetit.com. Contact Faith at clickblogappetit@gmail.com.