Sunday, November 29, 2009

Flavoured Vodka- Homemade Style

I have resisted, but Christmas (or Yule) is fast approaching and thoughts of gifts and how to keep it simple have been flitting through my brain. I heart Christmas a lot, especially Christmas-Eve where my family gathers for drinks, laughter and music (guess who gets nominated to play the piano each year?).

Just this morning Andrew announced that he wanted to make flavoured vodka for his brother. As I've been struggling to find inexpensive, greener gifts this was fantastic and should be a blast to make. I briefly considered the flavoured vodka as wedding favours, then realized that most of my father's relatives don't drink... soooo Yule presents they will remain :)

The Pros to Homemade Flavoured Vodka:
Sort of handmade (well, hand put together)
Inexpensive (when done for more than one gift-person)
Given in glass containers (looking for some recycled glass options... but may stick to dollarstore cheap-ness!)
Consumable=no waste or clutter!

The Cons:
Well, it might turn out to taste like poo... which would be kinda unpleasant as the taster and a huge waste of a quart of vodka.
I might think that coffee flavoured vodka is a great idea... but my brother may think otherwise. (however, he IS addicted to coffee, so we shall see!)

After hours of browsing the inter-web and chat forums, Andrew proclaimed himself an expert on vodka flavouring. His ridiculous want to research topics to death usually pays off as I hate reading instructions and would much rather "wing it". After a nice supper we set up shop on our dining room table next to the farmer's market sunflowers I bought for myself this weekend (seriously, everyone should buy themselves flowers from sustainable sources- happy day!).

The Ingredients and Utensils:
  • 1 quart of absolute vodka (since we were going for economical the yummy and/or sustainable stuff wasn't an option. However, I vetoed Smirnoff. Really, I have limits. If you had some moneys, there are some nice organic vodkas available now which would have been cool).
  • Organic vanilla beans (2)
  • Fair Trade Organic coffee beans (which I was going to buy for my coffee anyways)
  • Local Honey comb
  • Three 500ml (um 2 cups) mason jars (which we already had from our jamming fiasco)

The Process:
Andrew determined the appropriate amount of coffee beans and honey. He reported that coffee beans can easily overpower and change the alcohol to a more bitter flavour and need to be closely monitored. He also informed me that the vanilla bean needed to be cut down the middle as they have very tough skin and won't flavour the vodka otherwise. I would have just dumped the stuff in and hoped for the best!

After filling the mason jars with vodka, we sealed them tightly and stored them in a shoe box in our tiny storage closet. 

Two days from now the coffee-vodka should be ready and we'll have to pour it through a filter (reusable, unbleached hemp coffee filter) into another mason jar. The other two will be ready in about a week. The honey vodka may turn into more of a liqueur (yum!). We also may have to dilute the mixture with more vodka as the flavours could be a bit intense. According to Andrew, it easier to dilute than add flavour. He also informed me that we'll be checking on them daily... Sigh, he's so efficient!

So there you have it! It was WAY more fun than making soap or even jam and super easy. We'll see how it actually tastes in a few days.... Now to find inexpensive, cute, recycled glass containers....


(mmmm real vanilla!!)

article and photos copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. Wow, these sound delicious! I'm looking forward to hear how they turn out :)

  2. good luck! i've thought about making flavored vodkas but then i get too lazy. or maybe i just don't know anyone who likes vodka enough. although i do use bourbon steeped with vanilla beans instead of vanilla extract and maybe it never gets vanilla-y enough because i need to smush the vanilla beans like andrew said - thanks for the tip, glad he is so on the ball.

  3. Yummy! I suspect I might have to make this for my husband, if he sees your post!

  4. We made limoncello last Easter - which is basically vodka and fresh lemons and oh lord it was delicious!

    We're having a really simple Christmas this year - no presents at all!

  5. fab! And also quite yummy...can't wait to hear how they turn out...

    I loves me the homemade gifty goodness....:)


  6. I make flavored vodka a lot on the fly -- you can do it in a couple of hours if you're going to drink it right away. Crushed up oranges (with peels still on) or rosemary make great flavored vodkas -- just put them in the container with the vodka (measuring is an inexact science). If you want to sweeten add 4 tsp. organic sugar to 4 oz hot water and microwave. I made a cranberry martini with this that I described on my blog

  7. So now you're endorsing alcohol in your blog??!! Doing headstands in the wilderness isn't enough of a buzz for you??!! As Claude Rains said in Casablanca "I'm shocked!"

    Actually, back when I was a serious environmental activist, working for Greenpeace, I recall one of my more conservative friends calling us hypocritical because of the way we were, as he put it, polluting ourselves while fighting against pollution in the outside world. Personally, I thought that was totally bogus...kinda like that "if you drive a car how can you complain about a disposable plastic wreath" crap...

    Anyway, should I happen to be up your way between now and the holidays (unlikely as that might be), I'll be sure to stop by for some o' that flavored hooch...


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