When I was in college, I did a study abroad trip one summer in Italy. It was everything that anyone could imagine a Summer in Italy being, great food, low drinking age, being on a different continent than your parents. It was amazing. While on this trip, my fellow students and I made a trip to the island of Capri. If your not familiar, Capri is an island off the Gulf of Naples and has been a travel destination sense the Roman Empire. It was the vacation destination of choice for a few Roman Emperors.
While visiting, I was walking down a street when a man outside a shop offered me a sample of something called Limoncello. It was delicious. So much so that I bought a bottle and lugged it around for the rest of the trip. Needless to say, that bottle never made it back to the States. It was one of the most refreshing drinks that I had ever encountered, even for a novice drinker such as myself. After I returned home, I found myself wanting more. So I did some research. Turns out, its basically Vodka infused with lemon peel and a bit of simple syrup. At the time I had no idea what simple syrup was, but I was about to learn. I quickly ran off to the store to buy lemons and had my roommate buy me a mid-range bottle of Vodka. I mixed up the libation and let it set for a week, and then cracked into it on a Friday night. Success! Not as good as enjoying off the Amalfi coast, but pretty damn close.
As it so happens, my roommate had a few friends over, some of the girls saw me with my mysterious yellow booze and inquired as to its identity. Obviously, it was a hit, and so was I. Every girl in the room wanted to try until I was totally out. Talk about a college kid hitting the lottery. Pretty soon I was making it for girls all over campus, as well as some guys that didn’t want to admit how good it was. Given my new popularity I decided to try and branch out. Using the same technique, I made coconut rum, pineapple rum, tomato vodka (Bloody Mary’s), Mango Cayenne Rum, Limecello, and the always popular Limoncello.
Now, there are a million recipes online for making your own Limoncello, so I’ll spare you that post. My main point here is to get across the technique of infusing your own liquor. It’s super easy and always popular at parties as well as making great Christmas gifts.
For my example, were going to try a Grapefruit Vodka given that they are in the height of season currently. You only need a few items:
One bottle of Vodka ( I prefer Titos’ for this )
Two to three fresh Grapefruit
1 Cup simple syrup
Make sure you don’t cheap out on Vodka here, you’ll read to use really high-proof Vodka, but I find it a bit harsh. Just like cooking, don’t use anything that you can’t drink.
Zest your fruit and peel off the pith ( The White Part). In a large mason jar, place your zest and your fruit. Then add your Vodka and most of the simple syrup, I like to hold some back in case you need more, and you can’t take it back.
Then let it sit out of the way for two weeks. Then strain back into the bottle or a festive one of your own means. NOTE: if you are making Coconut Rum, you need to take the coconut oil into consideration when straining. I’ve found that coffee filters are best for the most clear rum, but it is painfully slow. Just a thought.
Thats it. Your done. Enjoy with tonic in a glass or strait up. You can decide the best way to enjoy it (responsibly of course).
Like I said, the can be done with anything. Rum, Tequila, Bourbon, Vodka you name it. I’ve seen bacon infused Bourbon, pepper infused Tequila. Go wild. Infusing your own liquor is a great project and one that you can share with everyone of legal age. Also, this will be much better for you than store bought flavored booze, you’ll thank yourself in the morning that you made your own and avoided all that fake flavor.