Homemade Raspberry Vodka
Homemade Raspberry Vodka
I love the winter holidays as fresh berries come into season. This year, I’ve been focusing on learning cocktails. As I’m watching numerous videos on Instagram, I realized that this might get a bit pricey having to purchase every type of alcohol needed. More importantly, how do you know what brand is good in the first place?
The chef (and cheap) side of me started to think about what I could make at home. I’m always worried about quality along with what is in my food. You may not know this but I’m hypersensitive to modified food starch and hydrolyzed protein. If I eat it, it will not kill me, or I won’t break out into hives. However, I suddenly feel like I’ve eaten a block of cement and feel horrible for a day or so. Therefore, everything I consume needs to be checked to avoid any issues. Now the chance of me finding anything in my beverages is slim but why take the chance?
I decided to try and make raspberry Vodka. My local supermarket sent out an email stating pints of raspberries were 99 cents instead of $2.99. That had me make a quick trip to the store to load up on a couple of flats (a flat is 12 pints). Now for all of you shaking your heads on why I need that much, it’s quite simple:
- I can use them for raspberry chipotle jam (which is amazing btw)
- I use them in my cold pressed juice (see article), and
- They are great for sauces, quick smoothies, etc.
Well now that I have an abundance of them, Let’s make infused vodka!!
The recipe is quite simple:
- 1 Bottle of high proof good 750 ml vodka,
- Five pints of fresh raspberries (washed),
- 2-quart size dark mason jars cleaned, and
The vodka that I used was Smirnoff 100 Vodka which has a higher proof (100) than regular vodka. It’s imperative that you use a good quality vodka and one that you are willing to drink. Vodka being a clean spirit will show off any impurities from low quality. Definitely use one that you like but remember the cheaper the vodka, the lower quality your overall product will be.
I measured and split the vodka equally among the two mason jars. I split the berries equally as well. I covered the top with saran wrap (extra protection), placed the lid on top and screwed on the ring just finger tight. These jars I shook hard for about 20 seconds and then placed them in my basement for 2 weeks.
The dark mason jars prevented light from coming in and the high level of alcohol keeps the mix free of bacteria. However, please ensure that the jars are kept in a cold area. My basement stays around 54 F all winter long so its perfect conditions. Every couple of days, I’d check the jars to make sure the sugars were not fermenting. If they were good, I’d give them a ten second shake and store them. Total time for steeping is 2 weeks.
After two weeks, I was super excited to see my creation. I removed the lid from the first jar. I cannot explain how strong the raspberry aroma came out, but it was incredible. Fresh ripe raspberries filled the room. I took a quick sample and I realized that it worked. I have raspberry flavored vodka with no sugar other than the natural sugars that did not ferment. This is wonderful.
Now the hard part. Raspberries soaking in vodka for two weeks produces absolutely the best mush ever. And I mean mush. The fruit was completely broken down, so it needed straining. I used a mesh strainer for the first round and removed all of the seeds and big pieces of pulp. This I discarded to the trash. I did not know if this would mess up my compost pile with the alcohol (I would love an answer to this so please comment).
I strained it again with cheesecloth now lining the strainer. This took forever to drain and still left some fine pulp/sediment. By this time, I had rinsed the mason jars, so I returned the liquid / sediment to the jars. I stored them in the fridge to allow for the solids to collect at the bottom of the jar.
After 3 days, I was able to strain more of the pulp out, but I still have some fine sediment floating around. Next time, I will use a jelly bag to strain everything to make the process easier. Having the fine sediment in there is ok. It will just make your drink a bit cloudy. I store mine in the fridge so it’s cold all of the time. It should easily last over a few months.
How Can I use it?
Since I’ve been researching different cocktails, now I started to go through my notes to find different cocktails to make. I have several but my favorite so far is the Berry Lemon Drop.
Berry Lemon Drop
- 2 oz raspberry vodka
- 1 oz simple syrup (one part sugar, one part water)
- 1 oz fresh lemon juice
- 8-10 fresh berries (depending upon their size)
- Using a cocktail shaker, muddle the berries with the simple syrup.
- Add the vodka and lemon juice to shaker.
- Fill with ice and shake hard for 15-20 seconds.
- Double strain into a coupe glass using a Hawthorne strainer and fine mesh strainer.
- Garnish with a few berries (or be like me and forget the garnish and drink).
This is such as easy cocktail to make and tastes like raspberry Kool Aid. They are dangerous to drink fast so sip and enjoy the drink.
As for food pairings for this cocktail, here are some ideas:
- Simple berry tarts with fresh berries and pastry cream.
- Spicy beef empanadas or cocktail Jamaican patties.
- Fresh Raspberry and blood orange salad with a homemade raspberry vinaigrette (using the vodka mixed with your favorite vinegar and olive oil – maybe a bit of sweetener).
- Grilled chicken glazed with a mix of the vodka into your favorite BBQ sauce.
- Sauteed shrimp flambe with the vodka and finished with cream (Valentine’s Day is coming).
For my first attempt, I love the final results. I have my own infused vodka. I know the ingredients, so I’m not worried about any allergies. Most important, I was able to make something that honestly took about 25 minutes of time over a few weeks and now have a great addition to my beverage list.
Give it a try and let me know what you think. Wait…. blackberries are 99 cents right now? Round two coming up .