Monday, November 16, 2009

Apple-Apple Martini

It's fall in New Jersey, which means apples are in season. While some people like to make apple pies, apple crisps, or even baked apples, but I prefer to drink my apples. No, not apple cider; gimme some apple-cinnamon infused vodka.

Infused vodka drinks were all the rage a few years ago, a trend started by the Capital Grille and their Stoli Doli. I make a few different infusions throughout the year, depending on what Jersey Fresh fruit the farmer's market sells, but I prefer apple to the rest.

Since I am a martini drinker, I like it shaken over ice and served up, but on the rocks tastes great also. The cinnamon can be a little bitter so I add apple pucker to sweeten the martini and add some color. Garnishes are optional, but a cinnamon stick or floated slice of a Granny Smith Apple look awesome. Also, rimming the glass with cinnamon sugar also adds a nice touch.

  • Vodka
  • Red delicious apples
  • Cinnamon sticks
  • Apple Pucker

  • Jar for infusing vodka
  • Apple slicer
  • Martini shaker

Making the Infusion

The first thing necessary in making the infusion is a container to make it in. Any vessel will do, but sells some fancy glass for making and serving flavored vodka. I own two, a 100oz verona and a 204oz verona. The recipe amounts below are for the 204 oz container, which makes about a gallon of vodka. Quality ingredients are always important when cooking and are just as important in flavoring the vodka. The better the apple, the better tasting the infusion. Red delicious apples are my favorite to eat, so I get the best ones I can. Cut them with an apple slicer and fill your infusion jar with them. My infusion jar takes about five pounds of apples to fill. Like all spices, cinnamon loses flavor over time, so make sure it is fresh. After some testing, I settled on three cinnamon sticks. More than three, and the infusion was very bitter, less than three and the infusion didn't have enough flavor. The vodka, however, doesn't need to be the highest quality. The apples filter the vodka during the infusion time, so there is no need for the best stuff. I'm not recommending Popov, but there is no need for Grey Goose. I typically buy Smirnoff, and use almost two 1.75L bottles to fill my infusion jar. The infusion process takes a week for the flavors to be fully extracted from the fruit, and you'll notice the vodka turns reddish brown, and the apples will lose their color. The apples on top will react with the air at the top of the container and will turn brown, but it doesn't impact the taste. Also after the first day, the apples will absorb some of the vodka, so you have to add some more to re-fill the jar.

Making the Martini

After the week wait, you can serve directly from the infusion jar, or empty the jar into a bottle for serving. I make my apple-apple martinis with much more apple cinnamon vodka than apple pucker. Since I don't measure the amounts, I estimate the ratio to be about nine parts apple-cinnamon to one part pucker. It's really about cutting any bitterness from the cinammon, without masking the taste. Shake over ice, pour into a martini glass, and enjoy.

Feel free to experiment with different apples, different amounts of cinnamon, and different mixers. Let us know about the results in the comments.