Infusing vodka has always been a something I've been thinking of since my first days with my sous vide immersion circulator, and for good reasons:
- I knew that the precise heating via sous vide would save me the infusion time needed, which usually takes somewhere in between a few days to a week depending on the flavoring component that I'll be using. I just know that with this technique, my booze is good to enjoy out of the water bath.
- I honestly DO NOT LIKE vodka, so flavoring it up, just makes that much sense, at least in my opinion. I know. . . vodkas are supposed to be good – they wouldn't be a staple for the shelves of most liquor shops and bars if they were really bad as I find them.
- Much like pickling, or preserving in oil, infusing fresh fruits into an alcohol base would be an excellent way to preserve seasonal produce and enjoy them long after they're out of the market. Cantaloupes, which come during summer, in this case.
I went to the market without any clear pick for my flavoring component in mind. All I knew was that I'm getting a cheap bottle of vodka and some sweet and fragrant fruit to go in it.
Yes – CHEAP VODKA. Not the cheapest I could find, but definitely one that sits on the lower end of the price range. Why? I told you, vodka just tastes like plain rubbing alcohol for me, so buying a more luxurious brand would be a waste of money. Also, I'll be flavoring it myself, so I stay away from those fancy floral, citrus, and whatever-they-may-label-it varieties.
Then this melon caught my attention. Initially due to its very vibrant yellow rind(it easily stood out of that pile of fruits), but moreover for its white flesh. I knew this was the one – it would get my vodka really fruity without ruining its clarity.
I have my vodka (yes, the cheap one) and my melon. I've got some limes back home – perfect! That fresh citrus hint would go so well with the aroma from the cantaloupes.
How can things get more complicated than this: roughly chop the fruit, get everything in a bag, and let the flavors infuse for an hour.
An hour at 140F saves you from having to wait for a week. Get one of my favorite immersion circulators and make this dish at home.
Strain the cantaloupes out of your booze, through some cheese cloth if you wish.
Since we've used fresh (perishable) fruit for infusion, it would be best to store this bottle of vodka in the fridge. If you'll be using dried spices like cinnamon, anise, or pepper, you can safely keep your bottle at room temperature.