Thursday, September 15, 2011

Russian Summer

From left: Blueberry (first two bottles), Pomegranate-Cardamom-Orange, Strawberry, Peach, Cherry.

Ossifer's Jam next to Strawberry

Actually, I did meet a lot of Russians this summer, but I didn't go to Russia. No, it was a Russian summer because it was a vodka summer. And to be perfectly honest, although these concoctions are supposed to age for months and months, I want to start drinking them now, so I had to document them pronto before they disappeared. I wrote about all but cherry and ossifer's jam in this post and this post, so I'll just give my impression of each and links to all the recipes here.

Blueberry: It is the youngest and needs to age more, but tastes pretty good. It was the easiest to make, as the blueberries didn't break down at all and so it didn't need much filtering.

Roxelana (Pomegranate-Cardamom-Orange). This is the only one I wouldn't drink by itself. The flavor is nice, but very strong, and the pomegranate is overpowered by the cardamom and orange. That's okay with me because I love cardamom, but I'd like to make a pomegranate-only vodka at some point. Very aromatic and spicy. I think a generous splash in a glass of Prosecco would make an awesome Cardamosa. Need to try that soon.

Strawberry: The first one I made. It's good. It has lost almost all the vodka burn and doesn't really taste alcoholic. Great for kids who won't go to bed! (j/k)

Peach: Similar to strawberry in that it became very smooth and barely seems boozy. Kind of a pain to filter, but really good. If it lasts until December I'm going to use it in my eggnog instead of peach brandy.

Cherry: This one is interesting. It's an Italian recipe, and no I didn't drink half of it (yet), the recipe makes a small amount, and says you will only want to sip a tiny bit, and also that it should age for at least six months. I wanted to make it because it includes crushed cherry pits, which are supposed to give an almond flavor. Once I found I could crush the pits in the food processor, I was all for it (worked but was kinda scary). Anyway, this one tasted good right from the start, and I wish I had made a double batch. It has been the hardest by far to filter though.

Officer's Jam, or Bachelor's Jam (It has become Ossifer's Jam to me, because of that old joke): It isn't vodka, it's brandy, but it's fruit and alcohol, so I invited it to the party. I found myself in possession of a bottle of cheap brandy (you know to be scared if the label says simply "French Brandy"). Since I don't have a Zippo, I was looking for some other way to use the French Brand Brandy, and found Officer's Jam, which is fruit preserved in brandy and sugar. You can use the fruit and the fruit-flavored brandy for desserts in the winter. It's really simple to do, but the fruit keeps floating to the top and it's hard to weigh it down. I've been keeping it in the fridge, but when the weather cools off, I'll stick it in a closet, I guess. So far the brandy has turned red and tastes like cough syrup. Haven't tried the fruit, I think it is too soon.

I wish I had made at least one without sugar but that can be a future project. If you like sweet fruity flavors, you will like any of them, except Roxelana, for that you really have to be a cardamom fan. They are all wonderfully aromatic.

Vodka dreams and brandy wishes to you!


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