Blueberry Infused Vodka

January 4th, 2011

After great success infusing vodka with ginger, I decided to try it with blueberries as they're my favorite fruit. Also, the blueberry vodkas out there are generally clear and don't match the expectation of a blue colored cocktail.

Blueberry Infused Vodka

  • fresh blueberries
  • good quality vodka
  1. Wash the blueberries and pick out the duds.
  2. Using a small knife pierce the skin of each blueberry and add it to a mason jar until 3/4 full. Puncturing the berry allows the vodka access to the fruits internals and will steep much faster. (You could save a lot of time here by crushing the berries, but you'll end up with a ton of residue that is harder to filter out later.)
  3. Add vodka to each jar to fill.
  4. Screw on the lids tightly and shake. Store the jars in a cool dark place for at least 2 months. The longer the storage, the stronger the infusion. Shake the jars every other day or so until ready.
  5. After a couple months of storage, strain the jars into glass bottles with a metal coffee filter. (If you did the berry slicing method, there should be almost no residue and this will go quickly and easily.)

Pink Panty Martini

December 8th, 2010

During brunch on Sexy Dress Up Day, Jessica related how she thought a chocolate raspberry martini would be tasty. Later - back at The Manfort - I decided to give it a go. Crystal dubbed it the "Pink Panty" and another successful concoction was born. Nice work ladies!

  • 3 oz Absolut Raspberri
  • 1.5 oz Creme de Cocao (clear, not dark)
  • 1 oz Godiva White Chocolate Liqueur
  • 1 oz Chambord Liqueur
  • 2 raspberries

Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Shake all liquid ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats and strain into the glass. Spear the raspberries with a skewer and lay across the glass rim.

Gunflint Martini

November 21st, 2010

Last year I first encountered Clear Creek's Douglas Fir when I stopped in at W. A. Frost's after seeing my brother's art show. I spotted the unique bottle immediately and the bartender let me try a sample. I became obsessed with trying to obtain my own vessel of this original liquor.

After finding that my favorite liquor store, Chicago Lake, didn't carry it, I tried Surdyk's. If anyone might carry this, they would, I thought. They did have a nice selection from the Clear Creek Distillery, but alas, no Douglas Fir. I was informed by the staff that they could special order it for me, but I'd have to by it by the case. (Much as I wanted it, I didn't need 12 bottles.)

So I contacted the company directly. And after a few emails with their sales staff, they agreed to ship me a personal bottle (after charging me for the shipping). It has adorned my bar shelf in glory ever since. I imagined I might make some sort of holiday themed martini out of it one day.

Then tonight, a moment of inspiration hit and I decided to try an outlandish cocktail. And it worked! The lemon/pine tree/peppermint concoction seems unlikely but equates to a completely unique and crisp flavour. I love it! After a few suggestions via facebook, I decided to dub it the Gunflint martini after the famous trail in Northern Minnesota. As to me, the drink reminisces of fresh snow in the northern forest on a blisteringly cold morning.

  • 3 oz Absolut Citron
  • 2 oz Clear Creek Douglas Fir infused Brandy
  • Splash of Rumplemintz
  • Sprig of pine branch

Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Shake all liquid ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats and strain into the glass. Careful with the Rumplemintz as it's very overpowering. Just a dash will do. Garnish with the pine sprig. (Or as in the picture, a snipping of my Arborvitae bush from outside.)

Cherry Pie Martini

November 11th, 2010

And here's a tribute to an upcoming event. (A little early, but that's okay.)

On January 21st, 2011, the Landmark theater in Uptown will once again have a midnight showing of 3-D porn. In this case, it'll be Disco Dolls in Hot Skin. Starring old favorites like Johnny Holmes and Serena. That's right folks, step right up to experience Johnny Holmes blasting the first row seats with his money shot in amazing 3-D! My friend, Jessica, has been petitioning to get this back for a year now. And now it's happening.

Since our preemptive plan is to drink a lot and then see the show, I immediately thought of making a Cherry Pie Martini for the occasion. (Of course, right?!) So here it is...

Other Cherry Pie Martini's exist, but this is my version using the somewhat local Cherry Pie liquor from Madison, Wisconsin. Delish all on it's own. The dark Creme De Cacao makes the drink an even darker ruby red and makes it taste almost like one of those chocolate covered cherry candies.

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 3 oz Travis Hasse's Original Cherry Pie Liqueur
  • 2 oz Vanilla Vodka
  • 1/2 oz Dark Creme de Cocao
  • 2 Maraschino cherries with stems

Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Shake all liquid ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats and strain into the glass. Garnish with two cherries.

Wedding Cake Martini

November 11th, 2010

In a moment of inspiration, I came up with this slightly more alcoholic martini version of the classic shot. Licor 43 provides the orange flavor instead of the same amount of orange juice. The result tastes just a like a bite of the sweet white cake we've all had too much of.

(Pug statues added just for ambiance.) ;-)

  • 1 oz Premium Vodka
  • 3 oz Disaronno
  • 1/2 oz Licor 43
  • 1/2 oz Pineapple Juice
  • 1/2 oz Half & Half
  • candy sprinkles

Chill an up glass with crushed ice and water. Add the liquid ingredients to a shaker full of ice. Shake until it sweats and strain into the glass. Garnish by floating candy sprinkles on the foam.

Gingertini

January 18th, 2010

After experimenting with self-infused ginger vodka, I decided to try the first bottle after two weeks of infusing. This recipe is straight out of the Yazi book that comes with the bottle when you buy it, but I've adjusted the quantities a bit to take advantage of the slightly lighter homemade ginger brew.

After straining the vodka infusion through a coffee filter, I refilled the Yazi bottle with my own vodka. Then I mixed up the typical Gingertini I'd grown to love according to the Yazi label directions. The other flavors ended up overpowering the ginger flavor. So for the next batch, I think I'll double the raw ginger for infusion, (and probably muddle them a bit). And as previously stated, I've adjusted the other liquors so the ginger vodka shines through. My second martini was much better. ;)

  • 3 oz Ginger-infused Vodka
  • 1 oz Cointreau (or Triple Sec)
  • 1 oz Cranberry Juice
  • splash of Lime Juice
  • Slice of fresh ginger

Run the ginger slice around a martini glass edge. Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with the ginger slice.

Homemade Kahlua and Ginger Infused Vodka

January 3rd, 2010

Given my love of White Russians, I burn through a lot of vodka and Kahlua. I've heard that making your own isn't too difficult, so I decided to give it a try. It seems there are as many recipes as there are vodkas out there, but I wanted to use real beans instead of the instant coffee most recipes call for. In this case, I bought Caribou's Obsidian Dark Roast Blend knowing I'd get a wonderfully powerful rich taste from it.

Homemade Kalua



  • 1/2 lb dark roasted coffee beans
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole vanilla beans
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • vodka
  • dark rum
  • brandy
  1. Divide the coffee beans into two equal portions. Grind half the beans very finely. Leave the other half whole.
  2. Use your coffee maker to brew half the ground beans with 2 cups of water to make a very strong coffee. An espresso machine would be even better. Repeat a second time with the other half of the ground beans and 2 more cups of water.
  3. Add the coffee, cinnamon sticks (broken in half), whole coffee beans, and brown sugar to a stock pot. Heat slowly and mix until the sugar is dissolved. Don't let the water get hot enough to boil.
  4. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate.
  5. Distribute the coffee mixture evenly among four 1 quart canning jars. Then add the melted chocolate to each along with the vanilla beans cut in one inch diagonal slices. The jars should be roughly 1/3 full.
  6. Add 1 cup of vodka to each jar. Then add 3/4 cup of dark rum. Then add 1/2 cup of brandy. Fill the remaining volume with vodka until within an 1/8 inch from the top. This will use nearly an entire 1.75 liter bottle of vodka.
  7. Screw on the lids tightly and shake. Store the jars in a cool dark place for at least a month. Shake the jars every day or so until ready.
  8. After a month of storage, strain the jars into dark glass bottles with a metal coffee filter.

And since I was busy making my own booze, I decided to attempt to infuse my own ginger vodka. I (and others) have fallen in love with a delicious gingertini, but Yazi is $35 a bottle. So making my own from a ginger root and $12 bottle of Svedka is much more economical.

Ginger Infused Vodka

  • 1 large ginger root
  • vodka
  1. Peel and slice the entire ginger root into thick slices.
  2. Divide the ginger slices into two 1 quart jars evenly.
  3. Fill the jars with vodka to within an 1/8 of the top.
  4. Shake and store in a cool dark place for at least 2 months shaking every few days.
  5. Strain the vodka through a metal coffee filter into your favorite bottle.

So now these jars are busy resting in my basement. It'll be hard to simply look at them and shake them each day without getting to taste them, but it should be worth the wait. I'll definitely report back on this in a couple of months to let you know how it all turns out.

Strawberry Martini

November 13th, 2009

It's been a little while since I've played with my "chemistry set" and come up with a new concoction. A bottle of strawberry vodka from the liquor store got my creative juices running again though. :)

This strawberry martini is coupled with chocolate flavors that are pretty much hidden in the strawberry flavor, but really bring out the berry sweetness. Grapefruit juice is used to cut the sugar and provide a little color. It's absolutely delicious!

  • 4 oz Strawberry Vodka
  • 2 oz Clear Creme de Cocao
  • splash of Ruby Red grapefruit juice
  • few drops of Grenadine
  • white sugar
  • fresh strawberry

Slice the strawberry and run a slice around a martini glass edge. Rim the glass with sugar. Shake all ingredients with ice in a shaker until it sweats and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a strawberry slice.

Moonage Daydream Martini

May 24th, 2009

While hanging out before the Rebel, Rebel show. Someone mentioned we have a David Bowie inspired martini called a Moonage Daydream. I quickly stepped in to suggest something with Blue Curacao for color and Godiva White Chocolate to make it creamy. Originally, I thought of using Coconut Rum as the base, but after getting home and experimenting with the chemistry set, I decided the coconut flavor with chocolate was too much like the Obama-tini. So I swapped it out for pineapple and the result was perfectly delicious and unique. Garnished with a small colorful fruit salad, I think the drink fits Bowie's persona just fine.

  • 5 oz Pineapple Rum
  • 1 1/2 oz Blue Curacao
  • 1/2 oz Godiva White Chocolate Liquor
  • splash of Frangelico
  • drizzle of Grenadine

Shake all ingredients except the Grenadine with ice in a shaker until it sweats and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a small orange slice and a pineapple wedge with Maraschino cherry on a cocktail spear. Use a spoon or eye dropper to drizzle a lightning bolt shape with the Grenadine in the blue foam.

Grilling Prime Tenderloin

May 14th, 2009

I stopped in at Everett's Meats on 38th yesterday to pick up a few red meat essentials for the freezer. They had this tenderloin winking at me from the case and I thought it would make a mighty tasty dinner.

To prepare, I mixed up some herb butter by chopping a few various herbs (rosemary and thyme) and then combining them with softened butter. I reused the wrapper to shape it into a butter log to put back in the fridge.

An hour before I wanted to eat, I took the steak out of the fridge and heavily salted both sides of the cut. Use rock salt for this so the grains can easily be washed off later. The salt is important in that it removes water from the beef. Otherwise, when you cook the meat, the water steams it and drains flavor away. The salt draws the moisture to the surface of the meat and leaves the fat and proteins behind. Furthermore, once the water is drawn out, the meat re-absorbs some of the salt, seasoning the steak and breaking down the proteins making the meat more tender. The juiciness of the steak will come from the melted fat, so the more marbled the steak, the more tender it'll tend to be. read more »