With temperatures finally heating up, I like to retreat to our balcony with a cool beverage in hand in the evenings.
And since we live in Poland, we often end up using Polish vodka in our drinks. And this blog post is about the homespun joys of fruit infused vodka. Take fresh farmer’s market fruit, top with vodka, wait at least 2 weeks, strain and then enjoy in a cocktail. It’s that simple!
I’m certainly no stranger to soaking fruit in alcohol. For example, you can try my DIY Boozy Cherries or DIY Red Currant Polish Vodka. I even make my own vanilla extract by soaking three split-vanilla beans for every 250ml of Polish vodka, wait 2-3 months and then your vanilla is ready to use in your baking recipes.
For the past month or so, at Hala Mirowska (the farmer’s market I frequent in Warsaw), the stalls have been selling long, slender stalks of pink and red hued rhubarb. I love rhubarb!
During our first spring here, I often was playing around in the kitchen and creating a lot of vodka infusions, which I’ve continued to do. One of my favorite concoctions was to infuse vodka with rhubarb, thyme and vanilla. The rhubarb turns the vodka into a lovely pink hue, the thyme adds a hint of herbal-ness and the vanilla adds a bit more flavor. I’ve also tried raspberries with lemon verbena and/or basil, strawberries with vanilla and peaches with tarragon (the latter didn’t turn out as well).
The point is that this is a fantastically versatile recipe and can be altered to suit most tastes. Play around with the fruit and herb combinations and see what you like best.
Long after rhubarb disappears from your farmer’s market, you’ll have this refreshing vodka mix ready to remind you of spring or summer!
DIY Rhubarb-Thyme Vodka Tonic Cocktail
350 g. fruit, cut into small pieces (rhubarb in this case)
500 ml. vodka
1 ea. vanilla bean split
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
To taste simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water cooked together until sugar is dissolved)
In a 1-liter glass jar, add the rhubarb, vodka, vanilla bean and a few sprigs of fresh thyme or herbs of your choice. Close the jar, tighten the lid and then shake for a minute. Place this jar in dark space like your pantry and let it just chill out for 2-3 weeks. This is usually plenty of time for the vodka to become infused with the fruit and other flavors.
|I also like to make vanilla-flavored simple syrup to use in cocktails and desserts.|
After 2-3 weeks, strain the mixture, pressing down on the fruit to extract as much liquid as possible; or strain the mixture through cheesecloth. Discard the fruit. Then, I like to sweeten the vodka a little by adding some simple syrup. Again, this is to taste. The rhubarb syrup can be used now or stored in a clean jar in the refrigerator for later use. I prefer to have a chilled syrup.
For one glass of Rhubarb-Thyme Vodka Tonic Cocktail:
I use a 1:2 ratio.
¼ c. (60 ml.) chilled rhubarb-thyme vodka
½ c. (120 ml.) tonic, sparkling water or soda water.
1 ea. lime wedge
Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the vodka. Top with tonic, sparking water or soda water.
Garnish with a lime wedge. Serve and enjoy outside on your balcony or in your backyard.