Making vodka better

My little sister is making limoncello.  Here’s evidence via laptop camera.

Coincidentally, one week later up in the frozen Northern tundra we came into some cheap vodka and since we don’t like plain cheap vodka, I looked into infusion possibilities.  One short trip to Wikipedia later, I’d set my heart on PERTSOVKA.

Pertsovka is pepper vodka, a Russian specialty.  I found a compelling recipe on a cute blog called Midwestern Exposure, where there’s also more info on its history and how to drink it.  Browsing through the archives I found two more recipes I’ll definitely be trying, namely limoncello and nocino (an Italian digestif made with green walnuts and spices which apparently tastes like “Christmastime-in-a-bottle.”)  Those two will have to wait until 1. the fruit is available and 2. I get my hands on some Everclear.

The gist of pertsovka is pepper.  I used black peppercorns, one dried red chili pepper from my mom’s garden, and one dried poblano pepper.  Ginger gives a little kick as well.  Garlic is a traditional element of pertsovka, and while the recipe I was following didn’t include it, I threw some in because I’m a fiend for the stuff.

I did this all yesterday, so the verdict will have to wait.  Not seven months like nocino or six months like mead or four weeks like beer, but a few days.  Two years ago I made apple vodka with cloves, which was easy because I threw it all in a jug, told the guys to shake it every once in a while, and left town for a month.  When I came back it was delicious!  We tried to eat the apples on top of ice cream, which was a poor life choice because all their flavor had leached away into the vodka and they tasted like jet fuel.

And since it’s infused liquor story hour, I’ll mention the moonshine.

A friend and I were on an epic road trip this fall when we met some Southern gentlemen at a campground in Nebraska who gifted us with some honest to goodness moonshine from Franklin County, Virginia: “Moonshine Capital of the World.”  Apparently, the most impressive fruit-flavored moonshine is made by including the fruit in the distillation process.  This was a less prestigious variety, made by putting the moonshine and blackberries in a large Ball jar and letting it macerate.  It was delicious, especially in our morning coffee.

[Edited to add: see how it turned out!]

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One Response to Making vodka better

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