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Flavoring Vodka
 
Vodkaís become fashionable of late in coolers and flavored varieties found in the liquor store.† However, it can be fun to tailor your own personal flavorings, especially when youíre planning to entertain.† Vodka can be stored in the freezer, and an eye-catching presentation can be made by freezing the bottle in a block of ice to which natural elements have been added.
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Flavoring Vodka with Cranberries
Fruit is a popular flavoring ingredient, sometimes in the form of berries or citrus fruit.† Infuse the vodka by placing lightly crushed strawberries or blueberries in a wide-mouth jar and covering with vodka; allow to rest for a few days or weeks, depending on the strength of your ingredients.† Iím afraid you will have to test regularly until the right strength is achieved!† But donít dispose of the flavoring ingredients: these can be used in a recipe, like fruit salad for example.

The vodka will also take on the colors of your flavoring ingredients.† When the flavors have become pronounced, strain the vodka through cheesecloth and return it to its bottle or to a more decorative one, if you prefer.† This bottle can then be placed in a larger waxed carton, like a milk carton, and filled with water.† Then, place the carton upright in your freezer for several hours, until the ice has begun to crystallize.† Add to the water some examples of the flavoring ingredients used, which may be berries, herbs, spices, fruit slices, or zest.

When itís time to serve the vodka, remove the carton and present the bottle in its decorative block of ice.† This makes a wonderful patio presentation.

Vodka infused with cinnamon bark
Cranberry Vodka Drink Some preferred flavoring ingredients include vanilla bean and cinnamon bark, which will give the vodka an amber color.† These ingredients can probably be left in the vodka bottle if it will be used within a few months.† Anise is popular, and star anise also makes an interesting presentation.† You may zest an orange in one long strip to infuse the vodka, but citrus zest can become bitter so two to three days is probably long enough.† Be careful to eliminate any white pith from the zest.

A favorite combination is cinnamon bark and cranberries. The cinnamon becomes quite pronounced in flavor and the cranberries impart a marvellous ruby shade to the vodka. Cranberry-Cinnamon Vodka makes wonderful Christmas cheer, but also works well on Valentine's Day because the flavor and color will remind you of cinnamon hearts! The cinnamon bark can be reused in another batch.

An easy favorite for flavoring home-made liqueur is the coffee bean: use whole roasted beans, especially dark roasted beans. You can make it as strong as you like, but filling a small mason jar half full of beans and then filling the jar with vodka will give you a rich flavor in a couple of weeks. Remove the vodka from the beans before the bitter oils have a chance to permeate the liqueur. One option for using the left-over beans is to place them on fruitcake to enhance the aging process of the cake with the flavor of the beans and the preservative moisture of the vodka! They may also be used to garnish a drink and can add deep tones to a fresh fruit punch, for example.
If you plan to serve the vodka in tomato juice or clamato cocktail, you may prefer savory ingredients such as chives, thyme, or rosemary.† Chive blossoms impart a rosy hue to the vodka and a mild onion flavor.† Garlic chives have droplet shaped flower buds with a mild garlic and onion flavor.† These will make an elegant decoration in the ice block if you choose that method.
Cranberry Vodka
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