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Spiced Pear Vodka

recipe from Put ‘em Up

Ingredients
– 2 pears ($2.50/lb @ Santa Monica 3rd St. FM)
– 1 cinnamon stick
– 1 vanilla bean
– ¼ cup sugar
– 2 cups vodka

Learnings
HOLY MOLY THIS SMELLS GOOD. Vanilla cinnamon pear…It’s pretty hard not to eat this immediately and forget about that silly ol’ vodka.

VANILLA BEAN. $10 for 2 beans? Really?? I know that you can reuse them, but dadgum. This recipe called for the bean to remain intact during the infusion so once it’s done, I think I’ll cut the bean open and try it in Blueberry Vanilla Vodka or Brandied Plums With Cinnamon & Vanilla (depending on the lingering vodkaness).

Usings
Spiced Peartini!

Grapefruit Vodka

recipe from CHOW

Ingredients
– peel from 1 large red grapefruit (75¢ @ Venice FM)
– 750 mL vodka

Learnings
THE WHOLE BEAST. This isn’t exactly nose-to-tail cooking, but I love when I can multitask with the different its ‘n bits of a star ingredient—in this case using the peel for infusing and the juice for curd. Canning for a New Generation is full of these magical acts. A particularly interesting one uses the papery skins from red onions to enhance the color of Hot Chile Jelly, then you transform the flesh into Sweet & Sour Pickled Red Onions. (Miss digest LA, I think a canning party is in order.)

TITOS vs 3OLIVES. Does the quality of vodka make a difference? The recipes I’ve encountered are pretty evenly split. I am not an avid vodka drinker so I’ll have to wait for an expert opinion on this one.

BITTERY. On first test, this brew seems to have a bitter aftertaste. I thought I was careful not to include any pith in the peels but maybe some sneaked in or I let it sit too long. Either way, I read that if this happens a tablespoon of grapefruit zest will right all wrongs.

Usings
I love Greyhounds and store-bought grapefruit vodka with tonic so this infusion was a no-brainer. Now I just need to revive my rosemary bush!

Pomegranate-Infused Vodka & Gin

recipe from NYTimes.com

Ingredients
– 2 cups seeds from about 3 pomegranates ($1.50/lb @ Venice FM)
– ¼ cup sugar
– 2 cups gin or vodka

Learnings
SEEDING. I’ve never even held a pomegranate, much less seeded one. But it’s actually really easy using this water bowl method (plus this way keeps your fingers from being stained). The process is still pretty time-consuming since you have to be so gentle with the juicy seeds.

Usings
I’ll let you know in 3 weeks!