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Pepper Vodka III: When Green Peppercorns Attack

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Pepper Vodka III: When Green Peppercorns Attack

Tom Hilton | Jul 16, 2002 04:13 PM

The chipotle vodka is just about there. I used one chipotle to ~14-16 oz. vodka. It's amber colored, with a nice (but not overpowering) heat. The smokiness is more subtle than it was in the first few weeks. I'll crack it for drinks later this week and report on the results. One note: after a couple of weeks, the flavor still seemed a little thin, so I punctured the chile and squoze it to get some vodka contact with the interior surfaces. I think this helped a lot, and in the future I'll puncture any dried chiles before I put them in.

Meanwhile, I started a new batch of peppercorn vodka, this time with pinks, whites, and greens. I let it steep about 2 weeks. Then I strained out the peppercorns and made a couple of martinis. The results were disappointing. The vodka had a strong, harsh, raw, somewhat unpleasant pepper flavor--not the subtle blend that had resulted from the pink, white, and black blend. After being shaken with ice and vermouth, the vodka was cloudy, with a slight greenish tinge--not an unpleasant look, but very odd. I would not recommend this vodka for martinis, although it might be pretty darn good in bloody marys.

The two key variables that differed between the two batches were green peppercorns, and steeping time. I'm inclined to blame the green peppercorns, and pending further testing I would recommend they be used *very* sparingly, if at all.

The next step is to make three micro-batches with equal amounts of vodka and equal numbers of pink, white, and green peppercorns, respectively, in order to get a better handle on the flavors each type contributes to the whole.

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