Vodka often gets a bad rap from barkeeps and mixologists. Used appropriately, we think it belongs on the drink list. While un-flavored vodka works well in many drinks, flavoring your own vodka can kick the cocktail hour up a notch. And impress your drinking buddies: if you flavor one yourself at home, just shrug with a humble smile, “It’s a little something we make at home…”
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon beet juice
1/2 teaspoon simple syrup
Okay. You will have to open a can of beets for this one. This drink tastes better than you think, but you have to serve it very, very cold. Toss the vodka, beet juice, simple syrup and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice. Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds, but no longer than a minute. Strain the liquid into a cocktail glass and grind half a turn of freshly cracked black pepper over the surface.
An idea for flavored vodka: Peel and seed a cucumber. Cut into strips and place in a clean, pint-sized Mason jar. Fill with vodka and screw the lid on tight. Store in the refrigerator for a week. Next time you make a Borsht Belt or vodka Martini, use your home-flavored vodka.
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