How to Make Fruit Infused Alcohol

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Creamy yet crisp, vodka extracts every last drop of a fruit's essence. In an infusion, the alcohol in vodka does all the work for you, but you have to supply the tools. You need ripe fruit purchased within a day or two of its harvest and 80-proof vodka, distilled at least three times for purity. One cup of fruit yields one cup of infused vodka, but you can use more for a stronger, more flavorful infusion.

How to Make Fruit Infused Alcohol
(KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media)

Things You'll Need

  • Liter of alcohol of choice (clear alcohols only)
  • Fruit of choice (2 cups when cut up per liter)
  • 2 pitchers
  • Strainer
  • Tupperware

Let the season give you a hand when selecting a fruit for your infusion. In-season fruits practically guarantee a crisp taste and color every time. In autumn, cranberry-infused vodka, with its garnet iridescence and bejeweled luster, amuses the eyes and invigorates the palate. During summer, let a strawberry, raspberry or red currant infusion get you through those sultry sundowns. Some fruits, such as lemons, papayas and apples, are available year round, so they're fair game anytime you need an infusion of freshness.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media

Rinse the fruit under cool running water, using your fingers to dislodge any debris in the crevices. Trim away the seeds, stems, pits and cores -- anything that doesn't contribute flavor. Fruit peels can stay or go; you get a purer flavor from peeled fruits, but unpeeled fruits impart a richer color.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media

Things You'll Need

  • Paring knife
  • Paper towels

Slice the fruit into 1/2-inch pieces. You don't need to slice with precision, just make the pieces of the same approximate size for an even extraction. Use small fruits with thin skins whole, such as cranberries and raspberries.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media

Things You'll Need

  • Kitchen knife

Pack the fruit in a canning jar. If you're using whole, small fruits, muddle them using a wooden spoon. The more fruit you pack, the stronger the infusion.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media

Things You'll Need

  • Canning jar with lid
  • Wooden spoon (optional)

Add fresh herbs to the fruit if you like. Vodka extracts the compounds responsible for aroma and flavor effectively, and adding a few thoughtfully chosen herbs -- such as mint, basil and lavender, depending on the fruit -- adds soft floral notes to the infusion and smooths any harsh edges.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh herbs

Pour vodka over the fruit until it's covered and seal the jar. Set the jar out of direct sunlight; a kitchen cabinet works fine.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media

Shake the jar each day for three days and sample the infusion. If you want a stronger infusion, set the vodka aside for a couple more days.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media

Pour the infused vodka through a strainer lined with three layers of cheesecloth and into a measuring cup. Strain the vodka again with fresh cheesecloth to remove any fruit fibers that made it through the first time.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media

Things You'll Need

  • Cheesecloth
  • Mesh strainer
  • Measuring cup

Funnel the infused vodka into a glass bottle with a tight-fitting cap. Liquor bottles, swing-top bottles and bottles with rubber stoppers all work. Drop a few herbs or small pieces of fruit in the bottle to garnish, if desired. Store the vodka out of direct sunlight indefinitely.

KatyJane Conlin/Demand Media

Things You'll Need

  • Airtight glass bottle
  • Funnel
  • Fruit or herbs for garnish (optional)

References

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