Grape Infused Vodka Update

It took an overnight frost for our homegrown grapes to sweeten up but the wait was worth it. A big sloppy thank you smooch goes out to Mayor Mike Tautznik of Easthampton, MA for sharing his home infusion method for fruit flavored vodka.

Fiddling around with Mayor Mike's sure-fire recipe helped me come up with the perfect formula for home infusing store-bought vodka with the Concord grapes from our backyard garden. And the abundance of those grapes carefully cultivated by the Man of the House deserves another big sloppy thank you smooch, this time for Farmer Paul.

Start by boiling a big pot of water to sterilize pint-sized canning jars and their covers. Once they are cool, fill each about 3/4 full with thoroughly washed Concord grapes plucked from the ripest of bunches. Add one teaspoon of super fine sugar. Pour your choice of plain vodka over the grapes, leaving about 1/2 inch headroom before closing the jars. Shake gently to dissolve sugar before storing in a cool dark spot.

Two weeks later you'll be rewarded with vodka that has a strong grape taste and aroma. Not at all perfumey like commercially infused vodkas but very fresh and fruity. Try it on ice in a tall glass topped off with your favorite mixer or as a martini with any number of complimentary add-ins. My Cran-Grape Martini is yummy but don't shy away from experimenting on your own -- it's hard to go wrong!

CRAN-GRAPE MARTINI
3 oz. grape infused vodka
½ oz. cranberry liqueur
½ oz. apricot brandy

Red or black seedless grapes for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Add vodka, liqueur and brandy and shake. Drop two or three red grapes into a pretty glass. Pour and serve.

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