We started making flavoured booze for Em’s sister’s wedding as they wanted to have some flavoured vodkas for favours. Its fun to do, fun to test and also great as gifts for Christmas. You can be as creative as you like and can be really personalised, we did a small bottle of black pepper vodka as a wedding gift as their dog is a black spaniel called Pepper. It tasted awful but it was a good talking point at the dinner table! We did a couple of tasting evenings to choose the flavours and finally settled on 2, strawberry for the girls, pineapple for the men.
The process is really straight forward and can be adapted to personal taste. We did 5 or 6 different flavours in small jam jars, allowing us to see what worked without wasting too much.
Put an amount of the flavouring you are using in the bottom of the jar, aim for quarter of the container. Add in sugar, if its going to be a darker spirit you can use brown sugar but white sugar will help to keep pale colours light. Generally we tend to aim for a liqueur type finish, sweet enough to drink on its own without ending up syrupy. Balance this as well with what you are adding, sweet fruit would need less, herbs or spices slightly more.
If you enjoy making cocktails you can be more experimental with your flavours. Not many people would want to sip some basil vodka at a party but mixed into a cocktail, it could work quite well!
Not all flavours will need to be left for the same amount of time, we did a great Earl Grey tea vodka and that probably took a day or 2. Sloe gin is usually worth leaving for a minimum of 3 months. General guide, strong flavours or juicier fruits will need less time.
Don’t feel you have to just put one flavour in, couple of Christmases ago we did a Christmas vodka with dried cranberries, orange peel and cinnamon, very festive with half a measure mixed with prosecco and orange juice.
At the end of the day, its all about having fun and sometimes even the ones that taste terrible end up being the ones you give to friends and generally have a good laugh over!