Introduction: Orange and Coffee Infused Vodka
Infused vodkas are easy to make at home and certainly add personality to any drink. The benefits of making your own infusions include being able to tweak the recipe to come up with the perfect spicy mix of jalapeños and celery for a vodka destined for a Bloody Mary or that perfect blend of citrus and coffee for an eye-popping Espresso Martini. It's also more economical to buy quality vodka in bulk and make your own infusions than it is to buy every flavor in the store. It only takes 48 hours to infuse a vodka with flavor, so you don't have to think too far in advance of your actual needs.
For the vodka itself, you're going to find many opinions as to which vodka quality you should use when infusing. I typically go with the Costco Kirkland Signature brand or Tito's. I also make my own vanilla extract and use what I consider to be a higher-quality vodka for that as well. Some of the cheaper brands seem to have a metallic taste that reacts poorly with the orange zest, so I stick to what I trust. However, Fred Minnick, a bestselling author and spirits-tasting expert, told Business Insider magazine that vodka is flavor-less and it... "Is meant to be thrown in with something else to take on the character of whatever it is mixed with." So, go with whatever you have available.
1-quart mason jar
Smaller pint jars or small bottles
Rolling pin or Kitchen hammer
Coffee filter (metallic or paper)
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Step 1: Collect Ingredients
Fresh ingredients add the most flavor and, honestly, are kind of fun to prepare.
For the infused vodka, you'll need these ingredients:
2) Zest of 1 Orange
3) 1/2 Cup Dark Roast Coffee Beans
Have a 1-quart jar with a lid, a coffee filter (metallic or paper and basket), and some smaller pint-sized mason jars or gift bottles available for bottling, and a funnel.
Finally, a coffee-infused vodka is pretty bitter at first and needs to be cut with simple syrup when you bottle it for use, storage, or gifting. To make the simple syrup, mix 2 cups water with 2 cups granulated sugar and heat in a small saucepan until the sugar dissolves. Keep this in a separate jar for all types of uses.
Step 2: Break Up the Beans (No Crushing or Grinding)
Vodka has an affinity for strong flavors and it will quickly take on the strongest of the flavors immersed in it. I tried using ground coffee once and the end result was just too bitter to save. By putting the beans in a zip top bag and lightly hitting them with a rolling pin or the smooth side of a kitchen hammer unlocked the beans enough to impart flavor without making it too strong.
After breaking the beans up, add them to the 1-quart jar.
Step 3: Add Orange Zest and Vodka
I must admit I've only used fresh orange zest, so I can't attest to using the spice aisle offering.
Add the zest to the jar and fill the remaining volume to the top of the jar's neck with the vodka. Cap the jar and move to a dark space.
At the 24-hour mark, swirl the contents to stir everything around again.
Step 4: Filter and Cut
Remove your infused vodka from it's location and you should see a dark brown liquid with some bits sunk to the bottom of the jar. I filter all this through the coffee filter into a very large measuring cup we have, but a pitcher would also do the trick.
Now it's time to cut the infusion with the simple syrup. This will be trial and error, depending on individual tastes. I find that a 4:1 mix is perfect, but I like bitter and strong flavors. To the (almost) 4 cups of vodka-coffee-orange infusion I add 1 cup of simple syrup. Taste and see what you think, but you may or may not want to add another half-cup of simple syrup to lighten the flavor profile. It all depends on personal preference.
Once you're happy with the taste, move onto bottling.
Step 5: Bottling
This can be as simple or as complicated as you would like it to be. I have some decanters I found in antique shops that I fill with my infusions (they're not that special). I also keep the filtrations in old used bottles I kept around because they looked nice. There is also plenty in pint-sized mason jars that I give away as gifts.
That part is all up to you. Use your imagination for both bottling and enjoying!
Thanks for trying my Instructable!
Step 6: Bonus! Coffee & Cream Martini
In a cocktail mixer, place:
1 heavy handful of ice
3 oz. Orange-Coffee Vodka
1.5 oz Irish Cream
Cover and shake vigorously so that some of the Irish cream foams. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with an orange twist and a coffee bean or 3 floating on the surface.
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