Homemade infused vodka makes a great hostess gift…or for that person that just loves unique drinks. I have one of those people in my family–the same one with expensive frappacino tastes. (
Here’s another project I had to keep off my blog until after Christmas. It’s hard sharing handmade gifts with you when the recipient reads your blog!
While I could very well head to the local party store and pick up a bottle of almost any flavor there is, everyone knows it tastes better when you make it yourself!
This is actually a recipe we used when I was in college. I don’t recall seeing the flavored vodkas on the shelves back then…or they may just have been on a shelf further up than I could afford. Making Cranberry Vanilla Infused Vodka is super simple–almost as simple as infusing vodka with vanilla beans–homemade vanilla extract.
How to make Cranberry Vanilla Infused Vodka:
Chop 1 pound of fresh cranberries.
In pan on medium heat, add the cranberries, 1 cup sugar, and 2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 split vanilla bean. Heat until sugar is melted and it begins to boil (about 3-4 minutes).
Pour the cranberry mixture into a large jar. I used a 1/2 gallon pickle jar.
Pour a fifth (750 mL) of vodka over top. Any brand/type of vodka will work. My rule of thumb–if you wouldn’t drink it in your drink, don’t infuse it!
Stir and cover. Set aside in the pantry.
It is such a beautiful shade of red with bits of vanilla floating around.
Give it a swirl every day for a week. I do sometimes leave it for 2 weeks, depending on my time limits.
When I opened the jar after 1 week, I was amazed that it smelled “smooth”, much smoother than the vodka when I poured it in. I’m afraid I won’t be giving the full bottle, I will have to sample first…it just smells good!
First I strained it through a mesh strainer.
I stirred it up and pressed it through to get all the liquid.
I’m reserving the cranberry vanilla “mash” for further experimenting. Isn’t that a beautiful shade of red? Into the freezer it goes!
Then I tried straining through a coffee filter. Absurdly s.l.o.w. Like drip…drip…drip. (Something to do with not being able to wait…) I wish I had a milk filter. I think coffee filters are for hot liquids, not cold.
So, onto several layers of a flour sack towel.
There’s a steady flow, now we’re in business.
This is just beautiful. Such an amazing red. Much nicer than I see in the stores. See? Homemade is better.
Even a natural tie-dyed towel!
Since I am gifting this and the vodka came in a plastic bottle, I’m recycling. I cleaned an empty rum bottle well and removed all the stickers. With my handydandy PhotoShop (I love PhotoShop!), I created my own label.
Funnel into your bottle. I don’t have to steal out of the bottle! There is plenty for a drink or two for me Store in the refrigerator.
With a little raffia, it’s ready to gift.
And with a little orange juice, a Cranberry Tart is ready to drink.
Here's the full recipe and printable!
Cranberry Vanilla Vodka
- Prep Time:
- Cook Time:
- 1 fifth + a little
- 1 pound fresh cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
- 750 mL vodka
- Chop cranberries.
- In pan on medium heat, add the cranberries, sugar, and vanilla extract or split vanilla bean. Heat until sugar is melted and it begins to boil (about 3-4 minutes).
- Pour the cranberry mixture into a large jar.
- Pour vodka over top. Stir and cover. Set aside in the pantry.
- Give it a swirl every day for a week. I do sometimes leave it for 2 weeks, depending on my time limits.
- After it's infused, strain through cheesecloth, then a coffee filter.
- Store in the refrigerator.