How to infuse vodka with herbs and stuff.
This is a one step guide.
All you do is get a bottle of inexpensive vodka that you'd rather not drink 'as-is' either because it's beneath you or it's boring, and put anything you want in it.
I'm really into Bloody Marys at the moment so I shoved a few stems of Asian or Greek basil (with leaves obviously) into a bottle of Absolut. This should lend a beautiful spiced basily (duh) flavour to my nice tomatoey drink.
Step 1: What?
Your vodka should at least be something like Absolut or possibly even Smirnoff, but I wouldn't buy that. I recommend Wyborowa, it's cheap enough to infuse but you wouldn't mind drinking it anyway. Infusing started whenever it did to mask the impurities of badly made vodka, so keep in mind this is not something like Kettle One or Belvedere.
Commonly added ingredients are:
Whole red chilli - Very easy, just make a vertical cut up the chilli to let some of the flavour out but you don't want seeds getting out, and leave for a week. Looks good too.
Black pepper corns - Nice earthy spice compared to chilli, use about a cup. Works well infused with Gin instead of vodka.
Vanilla pods - Fresh pods normally come in a vile of two, drop them in the bottle and 1 or 2 weeks later, delicious.
Fruits and Vegetables - Can be nice, but not really my bag. They go mushy probably.
Star Anise - Very powerful. Up to a week, try it after 2 days though and use your own judgement. Try infusing with rum.
Dried Bananas for rum. yum.
Or Anything you want!
Step 2: How Much?
My bottle is a 1 liter bottle so I put more basil in than I would for a 750ml bottle (as most bottles are sized). But to know how much to put in is just a matter of experience, like cooking. Just do what you think. But don't be shy.
Step 3: How Long?
Depending on the strength or intensity of your added ingredient you want to leave in the bottle between 1 and two weeks. But I have heard of people just leaving it for 1 or 2 days so it's best to just try it every day and see for your self. My basil is starting to look a bit brown and I'm not sure how much flavour the leaves have at this stage. If I could be bothered or had more basil I should decanter it and put fresh basil in.
Step 4: Decanter
Pour your infused vodka through a sieve and funnel into another bottle, make sure you get all the little bits out. Drink!