Pinterest DIY – Cranberry Vanilla Vodka
Cranberry Vanilla Infused Vodka
I had joined Pinterest on a friend’s recommendation as a way to engage an audience via social media. Pinterest is a way of created your own curated museum of all sorts of interests, and for EatDrinkTelAviv it’s a great way to accumulate wonderful food photography (food pornography) and recipes. And for the team – Captain Blarg, Professor NomNom and Gary it’s a great way to learn more about their likes and interests through their wonderful posts.
The team came across this recipe on someone’s Pinterest board from the bakingbites.com website. Since it was around Thanksgiving time we thought it was easy enough to try, and make good use of our new Pinterest addiction. We modified the recipe a bit to make it easier and because we could. (We got lazy.)
Blarg: We were close to getting a cheaper bottle of Polish vodka–
Professor NomNom: But this bottle had a very nice design and more importantly I felt it had a pleasant cork-like stopper for easier opening and closing. (it was only about $5 more anyway.) Since this makes an excellent gift idea, a decorative bottle is always a good choice.
Captain Blarg: We defrosted the cranberries because that’s what the recipe told us to do, and we like to follow orders. But this way it would allow for the cranberries to cook quicker. We opted not to add any more water since we thought after being defrosted there was enough liquid. Plus, any water could eventually dilute the vodka.
NomNom: We allowed the cranberries to cook in a medium saucepan under medium heat for about 5 minutes. We wanted to take our time and enjoy the process and allow the cranberries in the saucepan to come to a slow boil. Once that occurred we added the 1/2 cup of sugar and watched it dissolve into the red cranberries.
Blarg: Ya…that was pretty cool to watch.
NomNom: We let the sugar and cranberries stay on the medium heat for another 5-10 minutes and while that was happening we split the vanilla bean length wise. It smelled exquisite.
Blarg: We dropped in the vanilla bean like a bomb into the cranberry mixture. Pushed it into the cranberries to allow the vanilla bean and cranberries to mix and mingle under the medium heat, for about another 5-7 minutes.
NomNom: I wasn’t sure how essential the sugar was, so I added a tablespoon of Maple Syrup into the saucepan and allowed it to cook for a couple of minutes.
Blarg: We placed the mixture from the sauce pan into a comically large soup pot. It was the only thing we had available.
NomNom: Improvisation is essential when doing a DIY project. So we added the vodka to the mixture in the soup-pot, covered it and allowed it to cool down to room temperature. Once it was cooled down we transferred the vodka-cranberry-vanilla mix into a smaller container, sealed it and placed it in a cool and dark place for 3 days.
The Waiting Game
Blarg: Each day we stirred it occasionally a couple of time, but basically we left it alone to let it do its thing.
NomNom: Mind you, you can take up to a week or two as some other recipes have suggested, but we felt after 3 days the vodka and its ingredients would have infused. But after the 3 days we set up a strainer and a large bowl, placed a layer of paper towel on the strainer and put the mixture in.
Blarg: We left it for several hours, practically overnight to allow all the liquid to drip down into the bowl. The next day we SQUEEZED out all the remaining precious vodka from the cranberries. You should have a fairly clear liquid, but if you don’t fish out any small cranberry particles. Vanilla bean is small so it’s expected to have little black vanilla bean flecks floating about.
NomNom: We then transferred the vodka carefully back into the bottle the vodka came from. The rich hue is remarkable. We cut about half of the second vanilla bean and placed it in the bottle for added infused flavor.
Later in the evening Captain Blarg and I indulged in a short glass, large ice cube, the newly made cranberry-vanilla vodka and some soda.
The cranberry flavor is much stronger than the vanilla, but the scent of the vodka itself is clearly vanilla. It makes a regular (read: cheaper) vodka all that more interesting. And while you can get vanilla vodka and you can even likely get cranberry flavoured vodkas, the combination is wonderful and unique and does indeed make a nice gift.
Blarg: Since it was so easy, now it’s just a matter of what sort of crazy flavour combinations will we decide on next!