Cocktails & Spirits 20

Gift advice: would ginger-infused vodka with vanilla work?

Ditdah | Dec 13, 201105:19 AM

I've been struggling for a gift for my stepmother, who LOVES to cook but is in no way adventurous in food or drink. Her go-to drink of choice is vodka with diet ginger ale. (She also drinks white zinfandel or other very sweet wines.) Seeing the ginger-infused vodka idea in the DIY gifts calendar got me to thinking… I bet she would really enjoy an infused vodka that I made especially for her, since she appreciates cooking so much and often gives homemade food gifts to close friends and family. And a ginger infusion would certainly be in line with her normal at-home mixed drink of choice. However, being that she likes such sweet drinks, I’m worried that the spicy bite of the ginger infusion alone would be too strong or just “too much” for her to enjoy.

So, I was thinking of also adding some vanilla to the mix – throwing in a split vanilla bean or two for some added flavor and character, and maybe to tone down the ginger bite. Would this work, and would I still have time to do this by Christmas? I won’t see her until the 26th, so I could make it tonight and let it infuse until Christmas evening. The only sort of home infusing I’ve ever done is making Limoncello (which I’ve made quite a bit of) but I always let that steep for at least 2 months. It sounds like the ginger doesn’t need that long at all, but does vanilla?

Or, could I use a vanilla-flavored vodka to make the ginger infusion, since this would add a strong vanilla flavor along with a touch of sweetness (since the flavored vodkas always seem to be sweet, although that might just be in my head?) I wouldn’t normally consider using a flavored vodka for an infusion, but for this particular recipient, I think it might work. But again, this is all just guesswork on my part.

So, what do you all think? Ginger alone, ginger and vanilla bean, ginger in vanilla vodka, or some other suggestion? Thanks for any and all ideas!

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