I’m delighted with that beautiful blush!

My first drink was offered to me by my father soon after I turned 18. Much to Amma’s disapproval; but he said he’d rather initiate his daughter than wait for her to go drink on the sly. That drink was a gimlet. And since that first glass, I have always liked a bit of tang in my alcohol. I can’t down those syrupy cocktails and I don’t think I have the guts for whiskeys. What I do like, however, are fresh, simple drinks that can really pick up one’s mood. With those, I am always up for experimentation.

After tasting Nikhil’s licorice-scented spiced rum at a recent potluck and reading about Rushina’s adventures with alcohol, I was very tempted to do my own take. I had some vodka leftover from making my vanilla and spearmint extracts (coming soon) so I emptied it into a bottle and threw in whatever aromatics I thought would work together. The next opportunity I had to test it out was at a family get-together that primarily comprised a bunch of single malters.  I was very hesitant about taking my bottle of experimentation along, but with an encouraging push from MK, I decided, what the heck.

I am happy to report that no other bottles were opened that night and several questions about the recipe came up. You will have to take it from me when I say that this vodka is one of the best I have ever tasted. The tartness of the cranberries, the freshness of the orange rind, and the sweetness of the cinnamon, just accentuated by that additional bit of sugar made for a lovely mélange of flavors. The mint and lime only helped freshen and lighten the flavors even further. This is a perfect drink for a hot summer day (which is what we’re having here in Mumbai even as November comes to an end).

Look at that mad pink-red!

Cranberry, Orange and Cinnamon Infused Vodka

Ingredients:

  • 750 ml. good quality, unflavored vodka
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • Peeled rind of 1 orange
  • 1 stick of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. caster sugar

Method:

  1. Bruise the orange peel, cinnamon, and cranberries using a rolling pin or mortar and pestle. Do not get overambitious and grind. All you want to do is release the aromas.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a wide-mouthed bottle or jar and cap shut.
  3. Leave in a cool and dark place for at least two weeks. The vodka turns a bright pink-red.
  4. Strain before use.
Makes for a perfect party drink!

To serve:

  1. In a whiskey glass, muddle a few sprigs of mint and a wedge of lime.
  2. Fill the glass halfway up with ice and pour one large peg of the prepared vodka.
  3. Stir lightly and serve immediately.