How To

The Great Infusion

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I have been asked (repeatedly) for my recipe for Rosemary infused vodka. Ignoring the fact this means I am seen far too often with a drink in hand, where in which I reply to the question, ‘What are you drinking?’, with, ‘Rosemary vodka and soda.’

“Rosemary vodka? Where-ever did you find that?’, A delightful yet quizzical (maybe even skeptical) look upon their face.

“I make it.”

“You make it?”, skepticism seeping from their pores, their eye brow raised.

My outstretched hand holds a mason jar, ice clinking as I extend the offering. One brow furrowed, one raised they receive the offer and raise the glass to their lips. A slight hesitation as they inhale the aroma before allowing themselves a taste. Both eyebrows raise, eyes widen as the earthy scent sparks visions of fields and meadows, nature surrounds them. They close their eyes soaking in the vision. Tilting the glass ever so to allow the drink to kiss their lips and delight their tongue.

“You must tell me how you make this!”, they exclaim.

One drink and they are sold, every time. (All but my husband. I have often wondered, but not for too long, what this says about him……)

The recipe is quite simple. In fact, items needed may already be in your home and hopefully in your own garden. You will need: A mason jar with lid, fresh rosemary sprigs, and vodka. I kid you not. The most expensive part should be the vodka (although I secretly buy cheap vodka much of the time), but at times one can pay the piper when buying rosemary at the market. The only time I purchase rosemary is during the winter when my potted plant fails to re-grow. This cold weather season had me wondering if I had brought the plant indoors, would it have continued to thrive? I will try that next winter and report back.

Items Needed:

Glass Mason Jar (Large), a canning jar, any brand will do (Ball, Mason, Kerr).
6-7 sprigs of rosemary (on the stems/branches, no taller than the jar)
Vodka to fill the jar (any plain vodka will do)

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The mason jar I use was given to me from a member of my local ‘Buy Nothing’ group on Facebook. A fantastic idea to give away items we no longer use to someone who is in need of that particular item. I wonder if the whole world did this to what extent we might do away with the needs of the world? To be certain it was clean, I soaked it in bleach water and then rinsed it out several times.

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Rosemary:

I grow rosemary in a large pot on my deck that is just steps outside my kitchen door. I purchased the plant at our local Home Depot for $5.99 a couple years ago. It has provided us with 2 years of rosemary for vodka infusion, Christmas prime rib roasts, and sprigs for various other cooking related needs. As I mentioned, the regrowth has slowed in the winter months. I found I had to purchase a package from the local market for my last batch of Rosemary infused vodka (an indication that while the growth slowed, my consumption did not). The tiny little package of Organic Rosemary had a ticket price of $5.99. Hmm…. Still worth it. I have also been gifted rosemary on the Buy Nothing Group as well, you may see of a neighbor has some to gift. You didn’t hear it from me, but one could always walk around with clippers in say, their pocket. You never know what you might come across on a walk through the neighborhood, perhaps a bush or two of beautiful rosemary needing a little trim.

Place the fresh-cut sprigs of rosemary into the empty mason jar. Unlike the photo above (it is just for effect), it is easier to fill the jar with vodka while not over filling it, if you put the rosemary in first. Do as you like, putting the rosemary in first or last will not change the outcome of the product.

Vodka:

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It really is up to you what brand of vodka you use. Lately I have been using Kirkland brand from Costco. I hear rumor that the company has contracts with big name distillers to have the product bottled under their in-house brand name. Not certain that is true, but I’d like to believe I am getting a higher end product for a reduced price. I have used Smirnoff, Skyy, Absolut, and other vodkas and found the end result is the same. I don’t know if you used the cheapest of cheap vodkas if it would affect the taste. There maybe a lower end when it begins to taste more like rubbing alcohol than something which should be consumed by human beings. I suggest you take precaution as to just how cheap you go on the vodka, but most certainly do not think you need to purchase expensive, top shelf vodka for the infusion to work or taste better.

Fill your mason jar up with vodka. covering the rosemary. Close the lid tight. Then, put the jar away in a cabinet (dark) and let it sit and infuse. There is no real specific time-frame. I have checked on mine after 3-4 days and it already had a rosemary scent to it. I tend to let mine sit for about 10 days. You will notice the vodka takes on a brown tint. Likely from the stem soaking in the vodka. After about 10-12 days it will look like this:

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Upon opening the jar, the aroma will once again hit your senses and take you off on a journey through meadows or forests filled with earthy delights full of peace and tranquility. Go ahead and remove the rosemary at this point, toss it in the compost (or I suppose you could chop it up and use it to season baked chicken….. I toss mine).

Next I strain my vodka to remove any little bits or floaties left behind in the jar. I simply put a large mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the vodka through it. Then I transfer the strained vodka to a bottle to store it in until it is consumed. It’s easiest to use a funnel for the transfer. I pour the vodka into an empty vodka bottle that I have kept on hand. This looks a little more sophisticated than pouring our drinks from a large mason jar (not that there is anything wrong with that).

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(Sophistication Note: The lovely office label and sharpie, ‘Rosemary Infused Vodka’)

There you have it, my Rosemary Infused Vodka, from start to finish. As for the drink it is equally as simple.

Rosemary Vodka and Seltzer water:

Mason drinking glass
Rosemary infused vodka (count to 6 as you pour – fast or slow, it’s really up to you)
Add ice cubes
Fill up the glass with seltzer water (I use store brand lemon-lime)
A dash of fresh squeezed lime juice (if you so desire, it cuts the earthy taste just a little for those, like my husband, who are just not that into earth or things that taste like it).
Sprig of rosemary (garnish, just for the photo. I never put this in my drink.)

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Bonus Note:

You can do the same infusion with organic ginger in place of rosemary. For this I have found you need to let it sit much longer. 3 months is the best for the ginger to get into the vodka. We use this for Moscow Mules. My husband prefers the ginger vodka with ginger beer and lime juice (lots of lime juice).

Drink and be merry! (…and share, don’t forget to share.)

Writing Exercises

Mission Complete

A sweet melody joined by an equally captivating harmony fought together, a small army, lifting their battle cry in an effort to break through the roar which filled the sky surrounding their safe house. Each one singing as though their note, line, was the headliner meant to steal the show. Together they formed a formidable force to be reckoned with and yet, unheard by all, save two. These two having honed the magical power of tuning out all sound that dare combat the notes high and low – on key and off – which began no more than a whisper and grew no greater than a gentle breeze – this was all their ears could hear. Soaring through the wind above, around and under tree branches. Diving low to the soft soil turned and watered in hopes seedlings would take root and nourishment would spring forth. Ears pricked by sound, their mission cut short, they retreated. The volume increased by intensity as the tiny army overtaken by impatience heightened by the need for sustenance hit a crescendo. Beaks open wide – a gaping hole exposing the need coming from the very pit of their stomachs. Satisfied, filled, as warm juicy sustenance was lovingly passed from mama and papa to babes. The nest grew still as the sweet sound of silence gave way to the hub-bub once again filling the air around their home.