It was recently brought to my attention that I haven’t done an infused vodka in a while. I hadn’t realized that anyone had been paying that much attention to the types of alcohol posts that I was writing. Plus, I thought that I had been doing the infused cocktails quite a bit. Imagine my shock when I looked back and found that my most recent infusion was an infused whiskey cocktail and the last infused vodka recipe that I posted was for infused cherry vodka way back in July. Well slap my drunk ass and send me to bed without a cocktail. <pout>
This post will surely rectify this egregious oversight on my part (I hope).
A few weeks ago I received a gorgeous Buddah’s hand and Asian pear from Melissa’s Produce. Buddah’s hands are not the easiest things to find. I know…I went on a very fruitless (pun intended) search last year for them. They are available at farmer’s markets, Asian grocers, and at some better grocery stores. Buddah’s hand is part of the citron family of fruits, but is unusual in that there isn’t any ‘fruit’ inside its peel. In fact, its value lies in the peel. It’s very fragrant and is commonly used as a fragrant decoration in homes this time of year. It smells a lot like lemons with a hint of flowers to it.
There are culinary uses of the Buddah’s hand too. You can break apart the fingers, and you’ll find that the soft white insides look a lot like the pith of a lemon. However, the Buddah’s hand pith is not as bitter as that of the lemon. So you can actually use some of the pith in your recipes and not worry about it being ruined due to bitterness. You can candy the peel, just like you would lemon or orange peel. You can also chop it up and use it in a vinaigrette or sprinkle the zest onto desserts.
I wanted to capture the flavor and aroma of this exotic beauty in an infused vodka. But I didn’t want my infusion to taste like Limoncello. I wanted something unique to add to my vodka recipes collection and to have something special that I could give as gifts. Since I received the Buddah’s hand and Asian pear at the same time, I thought I might make an Asian influenced infused vodka.
As far as vodka recipes go, I think this might become one of my favorites. Instead of leaving it in its infused state, I added a simple syrup to it to create more of a sipping liqueur. There’s no mixing required to make cocktails from this. It works deliciously all on its own. Of course, you could always add some ginger spirits and maybe a touch of orange for some cocktails that would rock your friends worlds. But sipping on a really chilled glass of this infusion would definitely make for a nice evening.
By the way…you still have time to make this infused vodka in time for gift giving. You only need 2 weeks to complete the infusing process. So what are you waiting for?
Confidence level and failing as it pertains to getting her exactly what she wants for Christmas do not equal if you don’t ask her explicitly what she would like.
Recipe: Buddah’s Hand Infused Vodka
- 1 Large Buddah Hand (peel only)
- 1 Large Asian Pear (peeled and diced)
- 1 Vanilla Bean (split open)
- 4 Star Anise
- 1 750 ml 100 Proof Vodka
- 1 Cup Sugar
- 1 Cup Water
- Place the Buddah hand peel, diced Asian pear, vanilla bean and star anise in a large, sealable, glass jar or bottle.
- Pour vodka over ingredients, seal the lid and give a good shake.
- Let this mixture sit for 2 weeks in a cool, dark place, and shake every couple of days.
- When you’re ready to strain and bottle your infusion add the sugar and water to a small saucepan.
- Heat over medium high heat until all the sugar is dissolved. This is called simple syrup
- Let syrup cool to room temperature.
- Pour vodka mixture through a strainer to remove peel, anise and vanilla pod. You can discard these. You will have vanilla seeds floating in your infusion. If you don’t want them there, strain again through a double layer of cheesecloth.
- Add the simple syrup to your infusion and stir to combine.
- Funnel the mixture into jars and label the liqueur with what it is and to serve it well chilled.
- Keeping it in the freezer is best.
If you don’t like the flavor of star anise, you could add other spices to this. Using 4 stars, the anise flavor is quite pronounced.
You could make this sweeter and thicker by making a double simple syrup. To do that, just use 2 cups of sugar and 1 cup of water.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Diet tags: Gluten free
Number of servings (yield): 1
Culinary tradition: USA (General)
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