Thursday, October 7, 2010

How to Make Fruit Infused Vodkas

Just as the leaves begin to change each year, my kitchen pantry starts to fill with jars of jewel-colored liquids infusing with fruit.

These fruit-infused vodkas sit in my pantry from the end of summer until the winter holidays. Depending on what's available locally, I'll infuse everything from elderberries and huckleberries to peaches, plums and pears. Over the years, this ritual has become a nice way to celebrate the end of another growing season. Months later, we enjoy having a small glass of summer sunshine in the dead of winter.

Since late-August, I've added to my pantry as different fruits came to the market. I started with blackberries, strawberries, peaches and blueberries, as you can see above.

But I've since added delightful heirloom apples and plums (see above), which came from an abandoned pioneer homestead and still look remarkably healthy despite little attention.  I've also added sweet shelley berries, which taste like grapes. And I'm determined to get a batch of pear vodka going soon.

Would you like to start your own end-of-summer tradition? Here are ideas to get you started:


1 bottle of vodka
(I recommend Skye, because it doesn't have a strong flavor)
1 large, clean jar with tight-fitting lid
fresh fruit (preferably, local and in season)


Wash, dry and chop fruit; discard bruised parts
Fill jar with fruit
Pour vodka into jar until it nearly reaches top
Make sure vodka covers fruit
Store in a cool, dry place; avoid direct sunlight
Shake jar regularly
Steep at least two months or longer

Timing: Herbs, spices, leaves and flowers only need a week or so to infuse. But fruit can take several months to nearly a year to bring out its true flavor. I allow my fruit vodkas about two to three months to sit, and they taste just fine. Just be sure to shake the jars often to stir everything up well.

Straining: When you're ready to filter the infusion, strain the fruit through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Be sure to push down hard on the fruit to release all the good juices. Then toss the fruit, and pour your concoction through a funnel into a clean bottle with a tight-fitting cap to prevent oxidation. Look for unusual bottles to package your infusions. Most important is that bottles are absolutely clean before use.

Some folks like to add a sugar syrup to their infusions. But we prefer them without sugar here.

Here's an excellent source for making vodka infusions, including other recipes and instructions for sugar syrups. Enjoy!


  1. Sounds yummy! I'll have to try it! Carla

  2. This is a fantastic idea, I'll have to try this. Thanks for sharing.

  3. This is my kinda post!

    Trevor and I make infused vodka every year with our yellow plums. They are such a success that every year our friends and family clamor to be given the stuff as gifts - but we never end up with enough to go around!

    I'm planting a new yellow plum tree this year in the hope of keeping up with the demand.

  4. Carla, Elaine and Genevieve: Thanks so much for your messages. I wish you much success with your own concoctions.

    Meanwhile, I love the idea of the yellow plum vodka, Genevieve. And I think it's terrific that you're planting a tree just to keep up with the demand. Too bad you can't package up and sell your drinks. They seem very popular.

    All best and thanks for stopping by, Teresa

  5. Hi Teresa, just stopped by and discovered your beautiful site! I am definately going to add it to my faves. I look forward to keeping in touch. Jill

  6. Thanks Sweet Life Garden. So nice of you to stop by, and I look forward to exploring your blogs sometime soon too. All best, Teresa O'Connor

  7. ok, trying this tonight. I bought some locally produced ginger syrup at Brooklyn Kitchen last weekend and thought it would be great mixed with vodka. Getting tipsy writing this.

  8. Robin, so glad I inspired you! Once you start making infused vodkas, the sky is the limit. I find it a great way to celebrate the changing of the seasons. Have fun and let me know how it turns out. Best, Teresa

  9. wonderful idea! i have gallons of elderberries, blackberries, plums and huckleberries taking up space in my freezer--i think i'll try it with elderberries first. have you tried combining different fruits in one batch? i imagine blackberries and plums would go well together, maybe apples and cranberries... thank you for posting this!

  10. Hi Emily: Wow, you sound like you're all set to make a bunch of concoctions... I recommend you make them separately, and then combine flavors, as each needs its own time. You can learn more about this method at the link I referenced in my post. Always cook elderberries before eating them... Enjoy! Teresa

  11. I've been following you on twitter and was excited to see this post when I came through. I started some apple vodka last week and had trouble getting the fruit to stay below the vodka. I know this is important so it doesn't get moldy, but the apples just keep floating to the top. Any hints on this?

  12. Kris: I know what you mean. Allow some space between the apples and the the top of the jar. Shake jar regularly, even daily, so fruit keeps in contact with vodka. That should help. There's a link at the end of my post, and he may offer some more tips as well. Enjoy!