The At-Home Trick You Can Use To Upgrade Cheap Vodka

vodka in martini glasses with garnishes
vodka in martini glasses with garnishes - Pjohnson1/Getty Images

For those of us out there that have champagne taste with a beer budget, you'll want to know this clever trick for turning a cheap bottle of vodka into a flavorful cocktail component worthy of any high-end mixologist's menu. You can infuse flavor into a dull bottle of vodka with just a handful of herbs, fruits, or spices. You don't have to plan too far in advance since alcohol extracts flavors quickly -- you can be sipping your new spirit creation in just a few hours.

The most straightforward infusion involves a clean jar, the flavor ingredient you'd like to use, and your vodka. For a fresh herbal flavor, add a handful of parsley, a sliced cucumber, and the zest of a lemon to a quart jar and cover with vodka. Close the jar and wait six hours to taste the green-tinged mixture. If you'd like a more robust flavor, wait a few more hours. For an even faster process, you can blend all the infusion ingredients with the vodka and then strain the solids. If you love cranberry's tart and bitter flavor, a spiced cranberry infusion might be a great start. You can experiment with fruit combinations in season, like fresh berries or peaches. Dehydrated fruits and whole spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and star anise may take longer to infuse since they're hard, but they open up a world of flavor combinations. Use caution with spicy peppers -- a little goes a long way.

Read more: 13 Liquors Your Home Bar Should Have

Storing And Using Your Infusions

vodka bottle on counter
vodka bottle on counter - Tereza Kotkova/Shutterstock

When your infused vodka reaches the perfect flavor point, strain it into a clean bottle. If you've used firm fruits like cherries or pears, you might be able to save them to enjoy with ice cream later -- a bonus boozy treat. Otherwise, discard the spent ingredients. Fruits and vegetables can introduce juices that could spoil, so your best bet is to refrigerate your infusion if you don't use it within a few days. A little sediment on the bottom of the bottle is normal, but if you find any floating debris or mold, just toss out the liquid to be safe.

Now that the wait is over, it's time to shake that infusion into your favorite vodka cocktail. Herb and vegetable combinations add oomph to your Bloody Mary, and berry and fruit infusions are a delicious way to personalize your Moscow Mule. The cranberry and spice-infused vodka would be a creative addition to a classic Cosmopolitan cocktail. Of course, you can always sip the flavorful spirit over ice -- no further fuss is needed.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.