Chile-Infused Vodka

You know what they say: varietal vodka is the spice of life. Chile vodka is a versatile ingredient that adds pep to traditional vodka-based recipes, from Bloody Marys to penne a la vodka.

Chile-Infused Vodka

  • Chiles de Arbol
  • Vodka
  • Infusing vessel of choice (make sure it has a tight-fitting lid)
  • Fine mesh strainer

Tear chiles into several pieces and drop them into your infusing vessel at a ratio of one chile per two cups vodka. Make sure to catch all of the seeds, too! Pour vodka over top and seal tightly. Let the chiles infuse for 3 days.

Place strainer over a bowl. Pour the chile vodka over the strainer to remove the solid pieces and stop the infusing process. Pour the vodka back into your infusing vessel and seal to store.


2 Comments on “Chile-Infused Vodka

  1. How do I choose the right vodka for infusing? There are tons of options at my local liquor store and I don’t know which one would be best. Should I choose the cheapest? Should I look for the vodka that has been distilled in a particular manner? Is there a brand or type that you recommend? And why?

    • Smittyq, we like a guy who asks the right questions! There are several things to consider when choosing a vodka for infusion. You named a few of the biggies: purification method (distillation and rectification vs. the ickier-sounding charcoal filtration) and cost. Another is the base. The vodkas at your liquor store may have entered this world as wheat or other grains, potatoes, corn, or even grapes, which can impart flavors to the final distillation. If you’re drinking your vodka neat, flavorful brands such as Skyy ($16/liter) or Wyborowa ($30) are good choices, but for infusions, we prefer to stick to less aromatic brands. Teton Glacier ($20) is an American potato vodka that is virtually tasteless, making it a great canvas for flavor infusion. In a blind taste test conducted by the New York Times, Smirnoff ($18) actually won the honors for smoothest, purest taste, attributes that we look for in an infusing vodka! Bottom line: choose a grain or potato vodka that doesn’t boast a lot of flavor, and don’t spend too much money on your vodka… spend it on quality infusion ingredients since they should play a larger role in determining the taste of your final product.

      For more on the NYT taste test:

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