The strawberry basil cider (called Patch by Far from the Tree Craft Cider) has me on a strawberry basil kick. The cocktail I made with it was amazing…and I yearned for more of this clever mixture of flavors. Also being curious about making some of my own ingredients (not talking about distilling here), this recipe for Strawberry Basil Vodka was intriguing. Conveniently, along with the recipe for the vodka was a recipe Strawberry Basil Lemonade. I like vodka with lemonade, and I like strawberry lemonade – so it seemed like a clear winner to me.
First of all, you must create the main ingredient…the vodka. I have since become aware that a few companies make strawberry basil vodka but, honestly, what’s the fun in that? I used produce from the grocery store but I bet it would be even more amazing if you made this with ingredients from a local farm or your own garden.
Strawberry Basil Vodka
- Fresh basil (1 large and 1 small leaf for a pint, 2 large and 1 or 2 small leaves for a quart-sized jar)
- Glass container for tight fitting lid (canning jar is ideal)
- Wash and dry fruit and basil.
- Cut strawberries into quarters. Fill container about one-third to half full with strawberries. Pack the berry pieces together as tightly as possible, but do not squish or smash the berries together in doing so.
- Add in basil leaves.
- Fill remaining space of the jar with strawberries, up to a half-inch of the rim.
- Pour in vodka, making sure that berries are completely covered. To ensure that there are no air pockets among the berries, place lid and tap the bottom of the jar flat against a counter top (it is best to put a folded towel between the jar and counter to prevent the glass from breaking). Top off with more vodka if needed.
- Put the container in a cool, dark place for 3 days – 1 week. (I put mine in the fridge and gave it more time to infuse.)
- When the vodka is finished infusing, strain out the berries and basil and put the liquid into a separate, clean glass container.
- To preserve the flavor of the vodka, store in the fridge or freezer. Can be stored this way for up to a year.
I have probably addressed this in the past, but when choosing a vodka for infusion, everything I have read recommends using less expensive vodka. Save the expensive, top-shelf, stuff for cocktails that call for good amounts of nearly straight vodka…when you really need a good vodka. For infusing, most people insist that you really can’t taste the difference between the varieties. I got a good deal on a 1.5L bottle of Smirnoff a while back and have used that for my infusions. I have also used Absolut and Ketel One with similar success and also don’t seem to find that better quality vodkas make better infusions.
When my infusion was done, I was amazed at the strong strawberry smell but not as much of the basil. I might try adding more basil next time – but I have read that too much basil leads to a bitter flavor, so this part may require some adjusting. And, as mentioned before, I would especially like to try fresh, local ingredients.
I was a little surprised about the amount of liquid I had, or didn’t have, once I strained the strawberries and basils out….all in all I got six, maybe eight, oz. I was a little leery of making this on a big scale, being short on storage space and unsure about taste and versatility. But, since using this in a couple different drinks, I will definitely make it in a larger scale next time.
Stay tuned for the first drink, Strawberry Basil Limonata…until then, start working on your infusion. Cheers!