Huckleberry Vodka

A few months ago, when our woods were exploding with huckleberries, we decided to use some of our bounty to infuse vodka. We prepared our mixture, poured it into mason jars and let it sit in our garage for two months. Yesterday was the opening of our concoction. We didn’t make much, not being sure how it would turn out, but it’s pretty darn tasty so next year we will be making more!

Here’s our recipe, which can easily be adapted to your own tastes:

Unflavored Vodka (the only way it came when I was growing up!)

Fresh huckleberries (we use evergreen, as that’s what grows in our yard but wild mountain huckleberries would be even better)

Several slices or chunks of crystallized ginger

Local honey

Dried Valencia orange peel (although fresh would be delightful as well)

Quart mason jars

Add one generous cup of berries to each mason jar. Fill 3/4 with vodka. Add two to three tablespoons of honey and a few dashes of orange peel per jar. Drop one or two good-sized slices of the ginger in each jar (we used one this year; will probably add more to half of them next year). Seal jars and keep in cool, dark place for at least one month. When ready, shake well and strain into decorative containers.

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The resulting color is beautiful, and the vodka tastes fine on its own (keep it in the freezer for best taste). It also makes a good mixer with juice, as it’s not too sweet. Here are a few suggestions:

Serve over ice with lemonade and a dash of gingerale.

Use in a vodka martini, mixed with cranberry or a cranberry mix juice and ginger syrup–shaken, not stirred.

Enjoy!

Crater Lake Spirits

Several months ago, I finally got to visit Bend Distillery with my husband and my best friend. We had a great time, as I knew we would (definitely worth stopping by if you are in the Bend area). Since then, I have been racking my brain trying to figure out the perfect drink using one of their Crater Lake Vodkas for our Drink of the Month (yes, I know I am behind on that!). While there are many, many delicious concoctions that one could come up with using these delightful vodkas, I have come to the conclusion that the very best way to drink them is chilled and straight up!

 

I grew up in a time when vodka was vodka-flavored, so sometimes all of these choices are overwhelming. Vodka was a great mixer because it really didn’t have much of a strong taste on its own. But now, there is just about every flavor imaginable. Most however, taste like vodka with flavor added. Some are really good. Some are not. But I haven’t found one yet that can touch the Crater Lake series for amazing flavor. Crater Lake Vodkas taste like the essence of the infusion. The Espresso Hazelnut doesn’t taste like vodka with coffee–it tastes like an amazing Hazelnut Espresso with a kick. The Sweet Ginger is to die for if you like ginger in any form (as I do!). I think it tastes like pure Aloha. It tastes great with all kinds of mixers. It tastes better poured ice-cold into our surf board shot glass. I should add that I have never been a fan of straight shots. Now I am!

The only ones I would mix are the pepper vodkas, but that’s just because I am a wimp when it comes to peppers. Not my husband and daughter! Just like the other vodkas, the peppers in these hit you right off the bat. Fantastic in a Bloody Mary (which I also don’t care for, unless you use Crater Lake Vodka!). Surprisingly good mixed with grapefruit juice (who would have thought???). If you like spicy, lovely on its own–again chilled and in a south-of-the-border style shot glass.

Here’s a little bonus if you fly Alaska Airlines–they serve the Espresso Hazelnut on their flights! In fact, that is where I first heard of Crater Lake Vodkas. So happy I did!!!

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