by germinatrix | July 29th, 2011
Shhhh… don’t tell anybody – I love to drink. I’m not a beer person, and although I sometimes partake of the fermented grape, I can’t call myself an oenophile by a longshot. I LOVE cocktails. And I have a very deep and meaningful relationship with vodka.
Infusing the alcohol of your choice with fresh ingredients is all the rage – and is SO EASY! You can create your own versions of your favorite cocktails, and all it takes is a mason jar, the ingredients of your choice, a little time, and BOOZE!!!
The infusion shown in the picture is my version of a Moscow Mule, which is my favorite summer libation. (THIS summer, at least) It is usually made with vodka, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and either ginger beer or ginger ale – a delicious drink to be sure, but if you infuse your vodka with the fresh flavors of a Moscow Mule, you will have a thing of wonder that is head and shoulders above what you can get at most bars.
I love ginger, so I peeled and mashed up a whole gang of it and placed it in a quart sized mason jar. I added the vodka and let it “steep” in a cool dark place for a few days, sampling it (FUN!) until I had the intensity of ginger I wanted (and like I said, I love ginger – so this mule has quite a kick!). Then I added sliced limes. I added them later because citrus infuses quickly into spirits, and it can overwhelm the other flavors and make any drink teeter towards the citrussy. Usually, this wouldn’t be a problem for a Moscow Mule, which is lime based – but I wanted mine to be really ginger forward, so I held off with the lime until the last two days. On the second day after I added the lime, I pronounced the concoction done! It isn’t REALLY a Moscow Mule – since it has so much ginger in it, it has been dubbed the Red-Headed Mule. Get it? Ginger? Red Head? Bahahahahaha!!!
Serving couldn’t be easier – just pour over ice and enjoy. Nothing else is needed unless you want a pretty garnish. This drink has NO sugar in it – a Mule in a bar would be very sweet and packed with calories. Not MY Mule! The Red-Headed Mule is almost as skinny as a vodka soda.
If you ask for a traditional Moscow Mule in a bar, it will be served in a copper mug. You have to have alot of confidence walking around a bar with a big copper goblet that makes you look like you are trying to be a character in Game of Thrones. But it is an excellent conversation starter, if you don’t mind being asked “what’s with that cup” over and over again.
Infusing takes your drinks to a whole other level – your cocktails will have a new depth and richness of flavor. I infuse all of the time – especially using herbs from my garden. Vodka, mint, and cucumber? YUM! Tequila, hot peppers, and tomato? OMG! But don’t stop there – use other spirits, other flavors! One of my favorites is Bourbon and apples! I’ve also infused Cocoa Nibs and oranges into bourbon – so incredible!
Let your imagination soar. Use what you have in your gardens, or explore the offerings at your farmers markets. And, of course, in order to get good at anything, you have to PRACTICE. Practice ALOT. In fact, I am going to give you some homework. I want everyone who reads this to do an infusion for next week, and report back. I want to hear everything – how you made your infusion, who you shared it with, what kind of trouble you got into – don’t hold back! You know your Germinatrix likes the dirt!
Speaking of dirt, you can get more cocktail inspiration from fellow garden blogger Nicky at Dirt and Martinis. Drink up, my friends!
XOXO Your Germinatrix