In late September, I decided I would try to make some chilli infused vodka to use for my favourite ever drink Bloody Mary. I’ve pulled up Horseradish roots from the garden with one arm and my eyes have watered at the fumes. At last it is open and I have to say I am delighted with the results. It really is Bloody Mary in a bottle, sans tomato juice. I invite you to try it……
As part of my continuing quest to find the perfect bloody Mary, I decided to deconstruct this magnificent of cocktails ingredient by ingredient and then return them to the vodka meaning on completion I would only have to add tomato juice. Yesterday afternoon I began this process by making infused vodka. There are a lot of Chilli vodka recipes out there, but the ones I found centred mainly on stuffing some chillies in a bottle of vodka,That didn’t really fire my imagination and that’s when I thought about making a Bloody Mary inspired infusion. Why not put the essence of Bloody Mary in a bottle so that you only have to add tomato juice. Here goes.
Bloody Mary Vodka
- 1 litre of vodka.
- 6 red Birdseye chillies
- 4 inch piece of peeled horseradish root
- 1 lime
- A handful of black peppercorns crushed.
- 2 Indonesian Long Pepper Catkins/ or green peppercorns
- A desert spoon of celery seeds
- 2 teaspoons of Malden salt
1 litre kilner jar
Firstly sterilise the Kilner jar by rinsing it in boiling water. Then prepare the horseradish. I dug up the root from our garden,cleaned and peeled it. If you haven’t got access to fresh horseradish then you can buy jars of freshly grated horseradish preserved in vinegar as a standby, I did, just in case I couldn’t muster the strength to dig it up with my broken arm!. Take the lime and make several incisions in it and place it at the bottom of the jar, together with the salt, celery seeds and horseradish. Lightly bruise the peppercorns to release their pungent aroma and place in the jar.
The use of the Indonesian peppercorns is entirely optional, they were a lovely surprise that arrived in the post yesterday. Then slit the chillies length ways being careful to make sure all the seeds stay inside. Finally pour the vodka into the jar and seal the lid. Shake gently and place in the larder or somewhere dark and cool to work its magic. Make sure you repeat the shaking process daily for 6 weeks.
Celery seeds are also widely available in major supermarkets in the spices aisle, If you can’t find any celery salt is an absolutely fine substitute, just omit the salt.
Tasting notes: After two weeks taste for heat and flavour. If the vodka is to your taste then remove the chillies and continue the infusing process. If like me you are a fan of heat, keep the chillies in till its full term and if you are a real chilli aficionado then add more. I used Birdseye chillies, they are pretty fierce. I’d completely chickened out and put the nāga chillies back on the supermarket shelf.
Tasting notes: Mission accomplished. Apart from Worcestershire Sauce and a twist of pepper, plus premium tomato juice nothing more needs to be added. I have tasted some ridiculously bad bloody Marys whilst I have waited for my infusion to mature. I have also tasted some amazing ones too. Is there such a thing as the perfect Bloody Mary? I think it’s like anything else really, it’s down to personal taste and how the flavours dance across your palate. I’d be interested to hear of any other infusions or potions you’ve tried and tested.