Recently, we attended a wonderful family wedding… and afterwards, there was a TON of leftover vodka. We had one full 1.75L bottle… PLUS another almost-full 1.75L bottle of vodka. Since the bride and groom are from out of town and couldn’t bring all the leftovers back home… we ended up with all of it! What were we going to do with that much vodka???
In the end, I decided to use this as an opportunity to test out making fruit infused flavored vodkas that could be used to make some simple (but flavorful) mixed drinks. Fresh strawberries were on sale at the market, so I made a batch of “Strawberry Shortcake” Vodka which could be used as a base for martinis or other cocktails.
If you have a gallon sized glass jar with a tight lid – I find these are the best for infusing alcohols and making liqueurs like Limoncello or Roy’s Hawaiian Martini Mix. If you don’t have a glass jar, any clean gallon sized container should work – but I would try to stay away from plastic if possible. (Sometimes you can “taste” the plastic when you infuse in a plastic container.) It takes about 5 days to infuse vodka… so plan ahead! You can cut this recipe in half if you don’t want to make as much as I did here… but it does keep refrigerated for awhile! (If you have any leftover Strawberry Shortcake Martini mix, you can strain it and store (refrigerated) in a glass container for approximately 2-3 months.)
(To make one martini, you mix about 1/2 c. of the Strawberry Shortcake Martini mix in a shaker with some ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. You can add 1/2 oz to 1 oz more simple syrup if you want a sweeter martini. See step 7 below for martini/cocktail instructions.)
**FYI, to make simple syrup – just microwave water & sugar (in a 1:1 ratio) in a pyrex measuring cup for a minute or so until the sugar is fully dissolved. Cool before using.
Strawberry Shortcake Martini/Cocktail Mix:
- 2 – 3 lbs fresh strawberries (32 – 48 oz.)
- 4 c. vodka
- 2 c. vanilla vodka
- 3 oz. simple syrup (6 T.)
1. Wash and hull your strawberries.
2. Cut each strawberry into quarters, and place in a large (gallon sized) clean/sterile glass jar.
3. Add the vodka, vanilla vodka, and simple syrup. Cover with a lid and shake to mix. (I made other fruit flavors at the same time! To the left is “Ginger Peach Martini Mix”, the middle is “Roy’s Hawaiian Martini Mix“, and on the right… the “Strawberry Shortcake Martini Mix”.)
4. Set aside in a dark place at room temperature for 5 days. (It is normal for the strawberries to lose their color and turn pale – meanwhile, your liquor will turn a nice ruby red color.)
You can see in the picture below how the strawberries have lost their red color!
5. Strain the mixture through a fine sieve.
6. Pour the martini mix into a sterilized glass container, then store in the refrigerator. (It will keep a long time due to the high alcohol content).
7. To make a martini: Fill a martini shaker with crushed ice and 4 oz. (about 1/2 cup) of strained Strawberry Shortcake Martini Mix. Before mixing, taste the martini mix – if you prefer it to be sweeter, you can always add extra simple syrup at this time if needed. Shake “aggressively” and strain into a chilled Martini glass. Garnish with fresh strawberry (or mint/basil leaf) in a sugar rimmed glass, and serve! (To rim a martini glass in sugar, rub the cut strawberry along the rim to moisten, then dip the rim into a shallow saucer of sugar. Shake off excess sugar gently, then add the cut strawberry to the rim as a garnish.)
If you prefer to serve as a cocktail (instead of “up” as a martini), then after mixing as described in step 7 above, pour over rocks into a short old fashioned glass. Alternately, you can pour into a taller Collins glass over ice and add soda water or sprite/7-up/ginger beer to top off.