Cocktail Friday: Cucumber-Dill Infused Vodka (Soda + Lemonade)
I decided to wear shorts today. It isn't warm enough for shorts, at least not in my opinion, but I'm doing it anyway. I'm kind of chilly, which reminds of being in high school in Minnesota at this time of year. I remember all the trendy spring clothes already being displayed in the stores and all the "cool kids" are sporting the new fashions in homeroom, algebra, and choir (yep, this girl is big into choir and singing- more on that someday). And the funny thing about this fashion show is that all the girls are freezing their tushies off. But, being tough Minnesota girls, we braved the cold in the name of looking fabulous. Or thinking we look fabulous, anyway.
In a similar way, I'm pushing the envelop a teensy bit with this cocktail. Dill and cucumber are a combination best served in early summer. But guess what? I don't care. It just felt right to share this now, on the cusp of what is sure to be a gorgeous spring weekend for many. And if it isn't, then this will help you pretend that you have warm sun on your face and green grass between your toes.
This post is really more about the infused vodka than about the cocktail itself. I mean, you can't get much more basic than a vodka soda. But with a splash of vodka infused with fresh, clean flavors, you can bring it to the next level. What I love about the dill and cucumber combination here is that you don't have to add any sugar to the infusion. Some infusions really require sugar- like when you make limoncello, for example- but the dill is so fragrant and lovely paired with the cleanness of the cucumber that sugar would surely mask the pure, natural taste. Another reason this infusion is so great is that it doesn't take much time. I let mine sit for only 36 hours and it was perfect! Some infusions can take weeks...too long for this gal!
I didn't feel like I needed to make a huge batch because Brad doesn't really drink vodka and doesn't care for dill, so a small amount was fine for me. I even sent some friends home with a little bit of it the other night. If you want or need to make more, it can be easily doubled or tripled. As with any infusion, make sure to turn and taste it every day! What do I mean by turn? Simply take the jar or whatever container you are using and flip it upside down and right-side up a time or two throughout the day to ensure the flavors are evenly spread throughout the vodka and don't get stuck on the bottom or top.
Ready for some more good news? This post is a three-for-one! You get a recipe for the infused vodka PLUS two perfect cocktails to make with it! Here, I've combined fresh, homemade lemonade with an ounce of the cucumber-dill vodka. Divine and perfect for an adult beverage as the weather heats up.
One more thing: Don't even think about using the powdered lemonade mix! Just don't! The homemade version is so much better and honestly takes just about the same amount of time. It's worth it. If you aren't going homemade I wouldn't even bother with this cocktail until you're ready for the real thing.
And now, here are your recipes for a 3-for-1 Cocktail Friday!
Cucumber Dill Infused Vodka
1/2 cup loosely packed dill, thick stems removed
1/2 a large cucumber, peeled and sliced
2 cups vodka
Place the dill and cucumber in a mason jar or another airtight glass container. (I prefer to use glass when infusing because it ensures that any leftover residue, which can remain stuck in plastic containers, isn't transferred to the alcohol.) Pour the vodka over the dill and cucumber and seal the container. Allow the flavors to infuse the vodka for 36 hours. Taste it once, maybe twice during the second day to gauge the flavor based on what you're looking for. It shouldn't take more than 48 hours at the longest.
Strain the vodka through a fine mesh strainer and a coffee filter if the vodka is kind of cloudy. Now you're done! Store in the fridge or freezer. This one might freeze because of the water in the cucumber, but if that happens, just set it out for about half an hour or so before you're ready to mix the vodka into a cocktail.
Cucumber Dill Vodka Soda
Fill a glass with ice. Add 1 1/2 ounces cucumber dill vodka. Top with club soda and a squeeze of lime juice. Garnish with a cucumber slice, sprig of dill, and/or lime wedge.
Cucumber Dill Lemonade (for grown-ups!)
Make this lemonade (good for all ages) from Simply Recipes. You won't regret it. Fill a glass with ice. Add 1 1/2 ounces cucumber dill vodka. Top with lemonade. Serve!