Infusing alcohol is a creative way to put a personal stamp on your favorite cocktail recipes and preserve the flavor of the season’s glorious fruits, herbs, and flowers. Enjoy your infusions all summer long or reward your shoveling in February with the taste of sunshine.
While fresh ingredients take days or even weeks to fully infuse, tea and spice infusions reach their best flavor fairly quickly and make a great place to start. Vodka’s neutral flavor makes it pretty foolproof as far adding ingredients goes. When choosing a base for your infusion, keep in mind that a higher alcohol content will increase the extraction power. High proof spirits (100 proof or higher) are diluted with water to a drinkable level once the infusion is complete. If you’re sticking to tea, which infuses easily, a lower alcohol (80 proof) content is perfectly fine, no dilution required.
What you’ll need
Vodka, 80 proof. We use Grey Goose, because we like to be fancy, it’s very drinkable infused, and because of the word Grey.
Loose leaf Earl Grey black tea. We also offer an organic version, but conducted our experiment with our standard Earl Grey. Both use 100% real oil of bergamot, extracted from the rind of bergamot oranges.
A tea strainer. We used the Hook Handle Tea Infuser, a simple metal strainer. If you’re using a finer cut of tea, you may want to strain the infusion through a coffee filter.
For every 1 cup of vodka, we added 1 teaspoon of loose leaf tea.
Add your desired amount of vodka and tea, in the ratio above, to a mason jar or other sealable container. Add the lid and shake to combine. Let it sit in a cool place, away from light. The flavor should be just right at 12 hours, but you can definitely drink it much earlier. After just a few hours the vodka will be tasty, but the bergamot flavor dominates. It takes a longer time for the black tea flavor to emerge, and it’s worth waiting a few more hours for. Enjoy it cold, strained over ice, make yourself a martini, or try it with grapefruit soda (the earl greyhound).