Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Cranberry Apple Cinnamon Vodka

You know what makes a great gift for the holidays?

Homemade booze.

It's easier than you would think to make something boozy and delicious.  You just have to plan ahead a little bit.  At least 2 weeks or so.

You'll need a large clean glass jar or jug.  I'm going to give you the proportions for a 750 ml bottle of vodka, and it will make a little bit more than that in the end, but I highly recommend going for the gusto and just starting with a handle, especially if you're making it for gifts.

Anyhow, for every 750 ml of vodka, you'll need the following:
10-12 ounces of fresh or frozen cranberries
1-2 apples, peel on, cored, and sliced thin
3-6 cinnamon sticks

As far as the vodka goes, go with what you like to drink, but don't go too high end.  There are too many other flavors going on here to waste this recipe on a primo vodka.  I go with what's decent and at a good price.  Smirnoff or New Amsterdam vodkas have done well for me.

Put everything but the vodka into your container.  Pour the vodka over it.  If you go with a handle, you can put half in your other container, then put another round of ingredients into the bottle with the remaining vodka...that's called resourcefulness!

Close your container and let it sit to the side somewhere.  Give it a shake daily or so.  Within a day or two, you'll start to see it take on color.

After at least 2 weeks, strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl or container.  

Make a simple syrup by bringing 1 part water to 2 parts sugar to a boil.  Let it cool.  Use 1/2 cup simple syrup to every 750 ml vodka.  Mix it with the infused vodka.  Adjust the sweetness to your taste.  Store the rest of the simple syrup in your fridge. 

You can put it into clean glass bottles, or into a temporary container and then just rinse the container that you infused it in and use that again.  You can find bottles at some craft store, restaurant supply stores, or home brewing supply stores, among other places.

This makes awesome gifts, and it's easy and affordable.  It gets better with some age, so it's something that you can make ahead of time with no worries.  Last year, my family gave our neighbors a bottle of this and a cinnamon chocolate bread wreath, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

You can drink this in small doses straight, but it's also a great mixer.  A shot of this in Sprite or ginger beer is a yummy treat, but if that's too sweet, club soda will work too.  Use it like you would use any flavored vodka.

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