Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cocktail Hour: Honey-Oat Vodka

For Charlie's birthday party last December, I made four different kinds of infused vodka.  One of the most interesting was Honey-Oat.  It was thick and sweet, but a little grainy - almost like the milk that's left over after you finish a bowl of cereal.  I tried a few different mixers and spirits with it, but couldn't quite find the right complement - and the infusion tasted like it wasn't quite finished. Long story short, the bottle was gone by the end of the party, and I didn't ever really find the right way to serve it. 

I started another batch for a party in April, but again, it didn't taste ready. This time, I kept it in the fridge to let it mature a little longer. This particular infusion seems to do best when it's had a few weeks to sit. I started it around a month ago, so it's finally time to take it out and see how it's tasting.

At four weeks in, the vodka has a strong oat flavor that almost completely overwhelms the honey. Clearly, my oat-to-honey proportion must have been a little heavy on the oats.  To fix it, I decided to strain out the oats and add a little more honey in the hopes that the taste would mellow further with additional time.

I poured the entire contents of the jar into a fine strainer set over a deep bowl.  The oats soaked up a lot of liquid during the infusion process, so after most of the vodka had passed through the strainer, I pressed the remaining solids against the sides of the strainer with a spatula.  Once I was sure the oats had given up all the liquid I could possibly extract, I poured the vodka back into the original bottle.  To the vodka, I added an additional 1/4 cup of honey.  It settled immediately to the bottom of the bottle, so I'll take it out of the fridge several times over the next week to swirl the contents. 

In the meantime, here's the recipe for those of you who might like to try your own infusion.

Honey-Oat Vodka

One .75 liter bottle of vodka (Smirnoff, Absolut, and Svedka all work particularly well for infusions; I prefer Absolut)
1 cup rolled oats - not instant
1/2 cup honey

Pour honey over oats in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid, then add vodka.  Shake well to combine.  Refrigerate; swirl contents several times per week.  Infuse for 3-4 weeks.

When vodka is ready, pour through a strainer, pressing all remaining liquid out of the oats.  Return to bottle and store in the refrigerator.

Once the Honey-Oat vodka is finished, I think I'll try it as a martini: 2 parts vodka with 1 part butterscotch schnapps, a splash of half and half, and a little cinnamon.

Do you have other ideas for me? Leave them in the comments, and I'll report back on their relative success!

1 comment:

  1. You're a vodka infusion type of gal! I continue to be amazed at the creative ways you find to make such fun varieties of martinis!