This year, why not trade the standard bottle of bubbly for a spirited gift you crafted yourself? Infused vodka is incredibly easy to make, plus it lasts for ages. Which means the party can live on long after the decorations come down.
All about infusion
This particular infusion uses fresh cranberries (but frozen works, too!), oranges and sugar. But don't worry — this isn't a sweet liquor — the sugar is just enough to take off a bit of that tart cranberry edge.
Now let's talk vodka: there's no need to go top shelf here. You're adding flavors, so it's not worth spending the big bucks. And if you want to make a giant batch for gifts, this recipe can easily be doubled or even tripled!
The actual infusion process only takes about 24 hours, but I recommend waiting 72 hours: that's when the real flavor magic happens.
Before you bottle this stuff up, strain out the cooked cranberries. This will make sure your vodka ends up with a clear red color, rather than a slightly cloudy one. Then you can throw in a few fresh cranberries if you like, so there's no mistaking the flavor inside the jar. The fresh berries won't affect the lovely, clear look of the liquid.
Homemade Orange-Cranberry Vodka
Yield: 1 large bottle, 2 small bottles
1. In a small saucepan, cook cranberries, water and sugar over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves and the cranberries pop. Add your orange peels to the cranberry mixture. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes until mixture thickens slightly.
2. Transfer to a large bowl or jar and add in vodka. Stir well and allow to cool to room temperature. Cover and let stand for 1-3 days, shaking 1-2 times a day to mix the ingredients around.
3. Strain through a fine strainer to remove cranberry solids. Transfer orange peels to your new bottle or jar (dividing them between two smaller bottles, if you are bottling half-batches) and add in a handful of fresh, whole cranberries. Pour in the strained spirit, which should be clear.