My freezer is never without a bottle or two of chilling vodka. I’m not a regular drinker, and it may take me a year or two to get through it, but being of Russian descent, it’s something (along with pickles and herring) I feel compelled to have around for whenever a celebration might arise. Since it takes me so long to get through a bottle, and since I’m so intrigued by sourcing, blending, and cooking with teas, I started infusing little samples of vodkas with tea, herbs, fruits, flowers, and spices. Here are some of the results – the good, the bad, and the ugly – but some of the winners are truly exquisite. Get some nice bottles and package some up – it makes a welcome and unique gift! And of course, we’re not talking tea here… so drink responsibly!
To make infused vodka, pour 6 oz of vodka into a mason jar and add 1 tsp of tea leaves, herbs, or spices. Let it sit in a cool, dark place for 2-3 weeks. Strain and pour into serving bottles. Chill well before serving. The finished product will keep in the freezer for at least 6 months. Generally, the black tea-infused and Rooibos-infused vodkas were the best.
Oolong-infused vodka – OK, but the whole is less than the sum of the parts. Seems like a silly compromise of two great products. I used my own favorite Vintage Oolong.
Red Rocks Vodka – Rooibos, vanilla, and almond-infused, using Red Rocks. Smooth, sleek, and awesomely RED.
White Tea Vodka – Um… no. You’ll taste too much of it trying to find the flavor.
Green Tea Vodka – Pretty good, but use twice the amount of tea leaves as recommended to make the overall drink smoother. I liked using the rhubarb green tea blend with sencha and dragonwell, called Boulder Blues.
Very Black Vodka – My personal favorite! Infused with straight Pu-erh or Bolder Breakfast, a black tea and Pu’erh blend. You’d never know you weren’t sipping a tiny teacup of very, very black tea!
Lemon Balm Vodka – OK, but haven’t figured out how to make it smooth – a bit rough going down.
Rose Bud Vodka – I’m the only one who drank this – but I thought it made a great chocolate martini. (Everyone else thought it smelled too much like bath lotion.) If you’re intrigued, you can cheat by using the rosebuds blended with jasmine green tea and white tea in Meditative Mind.
Peppercorn Vodka – Strong. Not many fans.
Honey Peppercorn Vodka – Doesn’t make it much better.
Basil Vodka – Very nice. And the leaves look so nice in the bottle.
Mint Vodka – I made three different kinds (peppermint, spearmint, and a blend), and again, not many takers!
Oregano Vodka – Also rough, albeit the leaves look very pretty in there.
This article was originally posted in December 2008.