Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Srawberry Cucumber Infusion

When I think about summer, my imagination instantly goes to a summertime BBQ. I imagine the blazing sun beating down on me, with a smoking hot grill charring burgers, chicken and dogs! Only needing a moment of relief from the suns warmth, I take a sip of a perfectly balanced and refreshingly cold cocktail!

That savior of a cocktail is a homemade infusion, made just to my liking!

 Strawberry & Cucumber Infused Vodka
All you'll need is
-1 bottle of vodka 
-1 container of strawberries
-1 medium cucumbers peeled and seeded

Infusing vodka is an extremely simple and rewarding process. You can combined any variation of flavors, however, for summer I love the crisp, refreshing taste of cucumbers with the sweet flavor of strawberries.

There are two way to go about this infusion.  
1. If you are interested in having more cucumber come through, add the cucumber when you add in the strawberries.  
2.If you are interested in having more strawberry come through, add the cucumber two or three days after you add the strawberries.
(When I originally made this, I was completely surprised at how strong the cucumber was and removed some of the slices and added in more strawberries. At first, I went with 1 container of strawberries to 3 medium cucumbers.)

Before you throw all the ingredients into a container and call it a day, there is a bit of prepping that needs to be done.

After you've rinsed off both the strawberries and cucumbers, peel the cucumbers and cut them in half length wise, then take a spoon and carve out all the seeds along with any other pulp like mess. 
Next, cut the greens from the strawberries and take out the white centers.  This gets rid of any possible bitterness the strawberries might give off while infusing.  It is not totally necessary, but I do recommend it. 
 Once all of the ingredients are ready, chop them up to a desired size, trying to cut them neatly as possible.

When the fruit is cut up, place it into an air tight container and cover them entirely with vodka.  It is important to make sure you have every piece of fruit covered so that nothing goes bad, which could ruin your entire infusion. 

 For this infusion I decided to keep everything in a glass dispenser, which is a great and easy presentation for a summer BBQ. Another option is to put the infusion in large mason jars.
The final step is placing the infusion in a dark cool area.  This infusion took about a week to make, however depending on the combination you use it could take more or less time.
It is a good idea to check your infusion every day or every other,  to make sure you are enjoying the taste. If you put it in a mason jar, give it a good shake, or good stir if it is in a dispenser. Once the infusion has reached your desired strength in flavor, strain out the fruit.  If you are displaying this at a BBQ, replace the old colorless fruit for new vibrant fruit!

Some simple and refreshing recipe suggestions for this infusion would be:

Strawberry Cucumber Vodka and Soda
1 1/2 oz infused vodka
Fill the rest of the glass with seltzer
Serve over ice

Strawberry Cucumber Cosmo
2 1/2 oz infused vodka
1/2 oz lime juice
1 oz triple sec
Splash of cranberry juice so that it is pink, not red
Serve up or over ice 

Some other infusion flavors I've tried are:
-Lemon & Mint
-Carrot & Orange
-Lemon & Orange Zest
(For martinis and Bloody Mary's, very interesting)

What is your favorite summertime cocktail?

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