For a friend's 21st birthday, we decided to throw a jello shot party--with all the fancy recipes you see online for jello shots. The only downside to this idea was that there were so many flavored vodka's used in fancy jello shot recipes. So I decided to infuse my own vodka.
Step 1: Required Ingredients/Materials
These are the ingredients I used:
8 oz Mason Jars
Svedka Vodka (At $17 for about a gallon, it was the best choice)
Now, you can use more expensive vodka if you feel so inclined. I didn't think it was necessary, since I was flavoring the vodka. And no one complained about it when they were put into jello shots. if you're making these for gifts or for a fancy get together, you might want to shell out the extra cash, but it didn't make sense for my purposes.
I made a variety of flavors, and these were the ingredients I used:
Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate
Step 2: For Fresh Vegetables and Fruit
Cut up fresh fruit and vegetables before adding them to the vodka. I thought of it as surface area--the more space the vegetable has to touch the vodka, the more the vodka will soak up the flavor.
I used a whole jalapeno in an 8 oz mason jar, and I've been told that this made very spicy vodka. If you're using larger mason jars, you might want to use the whole jalapeno, but for more intense flavors--like jalapeno and spicy peppers and other materials, you might want to not add as much.
For milder flavors, like cucumber, I cut about a half-dozen slices and put them in the cup. For two 8 oz jars, I used about 2/3rds of a cucumber, and that seemed to be enough.
Step 3: Pre-Processed Fruit
I also used cherries and pineapples, but both were already pre-processed. Because of this, I didn't choose to do any additional cutting to the product. I found that the cherry flavor was pretty strong with about 6 or 7 cherries, and that the pineapple just needed about 3 slices from the can per 8 oz container.
Step 4: Herb Flavoring
Mint didn't turn out quite the way I was hoping, but that might've been because I bought wilting green tea. I would suggest buying fresher mint than I did, and probably not leaving it for the full week, as I will suggest later on in this instructable that you do for more solid foodstuffs.
For the green tea, I simply inserted the package of green tea into the Mason Jar as if I were doing regular steeping, and left it for the entire time infusion process.
Step 5: Chocolate
For the chocolate, I went with a darker chocolate, so that there was a richer flavor. I also chose a brand I knew to be low in preservatives. I don't know a lot about the processes involved, but I wanted to make sure that there wouldn't be a risk of chemicals leeching into the vodka (very slight, but just in case).
This seemed to work really well with about a palmful of chocolate in the bottom of the glass, covered in vodka.
Step 6: Final Steps
Don't forget to label your jars. it's less of a concern when the ingredients look drastically different, but for example, in one mason jar I put cherries with vodka and in the other I put cherries with rum. It helps to have them labeled in my opinion.
For all of the ingredients I listed, I suggest about five days to a week of curing in a darker area of the kitchen--no direct sunlight. Afterwards, I used a fine mesh strainer to separate the physical ingredients from the vodka/rum.
I wouldn't leave the materials in there much longer--I've been told it causes the vodka to 'turn' and can affect the tastes. Since I immediately used these materials for jello shots, I have no personal experience, but I would suggest separating them.
For lighter ingredients like the mint, less time infusing is probably wise. About 3 days should do it.
Feel free to ask me any questions you may have!
(Side note, Jalapeno Vodka and Mango Jello? Super popular jello shot)