in readiness for the upcoming san francisco summer (which as we all know comes in the late summer, once the giant fog bank relents a little) my mind has turned to booze. well, to be frank, my mind is always on booze. wine, bourbon, pernod, limoncello, pimms, raki, sake, shoju. i've never met a drink i didn't like, with the possible exception of fernet, which i can choke down for digestive purposes only. oh, and also on my not-to-drink list is something called "mescalito". not to be mistaken for mescal, mescalito is a brand name of an alcohol you can buy in liquor stores in mexico - it is positioned on the shelf between the lowest grade of mescal and the rubbing alcohol, i kid you not. it is basically cane alcohol and while it tastes just fine with some ice and fresca (and is dirt cheap at two bucks a litre), it will cross your eyes after the first four sips.
so, as i was saying, in readiness for the rolling back of the fog, i've been infusing vodka. i got the idea shortly after i shelled out twenty five bucks for some absolute citron. the great thing about brewing your own is that you can make any flavor you want, as strong as you want it, as sweet or unsweet as you like, and you can use the trader joe's nine dollar and ninety nine cent bottle of fake polish vodka (made in austria, i think) and it will taste fantastic.
and it is so easy. just buy a bottle of vodka, select your flavor, remove a little of the spirit from the bottle, shove the zest (for citrus), or the fruit, or the herbs, or the vegetables into the bottle and wait anywhere from one day to a week, shaking it occasionally and tasting. when it's reached the desired intensity level, remove the vodka-preserved stuff to the trash can and strain the liquor from any particulate. that's it. couldn't be easier.
pictured here are, from left to right: lychee, cucumber, lemon and mango. these guys taste soooo good over ice with some sparkling mineral water, and the cucumber makes a most interesting martini. if anyone out there has any ideas for more flavors or mixed drinks using this stuff, please post....