It is time to start my own stash of infused liqueurs. I have been intrigued by the variety of fresh new cocktails I see on menus and read about in magazines; liqueurs steeped in cucumber, mint, citrus and berries. How fun to have a selection of homemade concoctions to choose from when mixing up a drink! I can wait no longer.
I jumped in and learned that the process is really quite simple - chop up your chosen fruit, herb and/or spice, plop it all into a jar of vodka and forget about it for two to three weeks.
Admittedly it is late in the season for rhubarb. Inspiration struck me when I had some rhubarb stalks languishing in my fridge and I began pondering what to make with them. A plump vanilla bean made its way into the mix, as well. While simple syrup is often added for some sweetness, I substituted a small amount of agave syrup with success. If you froze rhubarb or still have access to some stalks then I recommend throwing this all together and waiting patiently.
The clear vodka becomes a rosy red as the color seeps out of the rhubarb. Tiny black specks of vanilla bean dot the surface and a fruity, vanilla scent escapes each time I open the jar, evoking rhubarb cobbler for me. I grabbed a couple of pretty cocktail glasses and headed outside where I proudly poured into each a splash of the first liqueur in my soon-to-grow stash. I topped them off with sparkling wine (any excuse for bubbles!). I'm on my way, sipping in the backyard on a warm summer evening, contemplating the next infusion.
Makes 1 cup
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1/2 pound rhubarb, diced (defrost if using frozen)
2 tablespoons agave syrup
1 cup vodka
In a large jar, muddle all of the ingredients together with the handle of a wooden spoon. Cover and place in a room temperature spot. Let the mixture sit for two to three weeks (mine infused for three weeks since I was out of town). Strain over a sieve and discard the solids. Store the liqueur at room temperature.