Flavored Vodka

Properly flavored vodkas are a treat either alone or to complement part of a meal: A cool vanilla vodka to accompany an after-dinner coffee ... apricot vodka with a fruit trifle ... cherry vodka with a piece of chocolate cake ... the opportunities are endless!

The following flavored vodkas are simple to prepare at home. After infusing, keep them in the freezer for best results. [These recipes are taken from A Taste of Russia, published by Russian Life.

Anise Vodka/Anisovaya: Place 2 teaspoons whole anise seed in 1 pint of plain vodka and infuse at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain. [Note: Peter the Great's favorite drink was triple-filtered vodka, diluted with anise water, then redistilled.]

Apricot Vodka/Abrikosovaya: Place one dozen apricot kernels in 1 pint of plain vodka and infuse at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain.

Black-Currant-Bud Vodka/Smorodinovka: Pick the buds of black currants when they are still sticky. Place a handful in 1 pint of plain vodka and infuse at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain. An alternative method is to make a very strong infusion in only 1/4 pint of vodka and then add 10 to 12 drops of the essence to a bottle of plain vodka.

Cherry Vodka/Vishnyovka: Crush 36 cherry pits and place them in 1 pint of plain vodka. Infuse at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain.

Coriander Vodka/Koriandrovaya: Place 2 teaspoons of coriander seed, slightly crushed, in 1 pint of plain vodka and infuse at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain.

Garlic-and-Dill Vodka/Chesnochnaya: Place 1 clove of garlic, slightly crushed, 1 sprig of fresh dill and 3 white peppercorns in 1 pint of plain vodka. Infuse at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain. A small bit of dill may be left in the vodka, if desired.

Herb Vodka/Travnik: Place a few sprigs of a favorite herb, such as tarragon or basil, in 1 pint of plain vodka and infuse at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain. A small bit of the herb may be left in the vodka.

Lemon or OrangeVodka/Limonovka or Oranzhevaya: Remove the rind from 1/2 large lemon or from 1 orange in a single strip, taking care to avoid the bitter white pith. Infuse in 1 pint of plain vodka at room temperature for 24 hours. (Do not leave the peel in longer, or the vodka will turn bitter.)

Pepper Vodka/Pertsovka: Place 30 black peppercorns and 30 white peppercorns in 1 pint of plain vodka and infuse at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain.

Saffron Vodka/Shafrannaya: Place 1/4 teaspoon saffron threads in 1 pint of plain vodka and infuse at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain.

Tea Vodka/Chainaya: Place 4 teaspoons black tea leaves, preferably fruit-scented, in 1 pint of plain vodka and infuse at room temperature for 24 hours. Strain.

Buffalo Grass Vodka/Zubrovka: Place 8 blades of buffalo grass in 1 pint of plain vodka and infuse at room temperature for 24 hours. One blade of grass may be left in the vodka after straining.

© 1999, RIS Publications. All rights reserved. To order a copy of A Taste of Russia, from which this section was excerpted, simply go here.