It all started when I ran out of gin. Patio season was in full swing, the May afternoons were perfect for sipping those fine botanicals on the rocks with tonic and a wedge of lime to complete the holy trinity of spring cocktails. However tonight it would not be, the gin was gone. “Where did all the gin go? Wait… don’t answer that.”
I looked through the bar to find something to enjoy on such a fine evening as it was. Scotch, my other go-to spirit, but after a winter full of peat, smoke and salt air I yearned for something light and refreshing. Rum, too sweet for a night like this. Vodka? Confession time. I’m not a vodka drinker. I keep some on hand for guests or parties, but for the most part, ‘it just don’t wet my whistle’. I like my spirits to be alive with depth and soul. But these were dire straits. So I poured a measure of vodka on the rocks and hit it with the customary lime wedge and a splash of soda and headed outside. Lime, vodka, soda…it will at least be refreshing I thought. I took a sip. Meh.
As I sat there on my patio surrounded by the freshly planted herbs an idea occurred to me. “Let’s go buy more gin!” That would probably be the logical conclusion, but no…”We should make our own gin!” After thinking on this a moment, the legal implications and really the lack of a good place to put a still in my backyard I came to my final conclusion. “We should make this vodka taste like gin”
I excitedly grabbed for sprigs of the three closest herbs on the patio – lemon verbena, lavender and pineapple mint (sadly no juniper berries). I ran inside and tossed my gin making secret ingredients into a fresh mason jar. I grabbed for the soulless spirit on the counter next to me and filled the jar to the brim. I’ll be drinking gin in no time I thought, with zero idea of what I was actually doing or how long this process would take. I shook the jar a few times (it seemed like the thing to do) and set it on the counter. I walked back out into the spring air with a little extra pep in my step and a fresh dram of Dalwhine 15. It’s a spring scotch, I reasoned.
The weekend came and went, I bought more gin and honestly forgot about my little herbal experiment. It had been 5 days since I had Frankensteined my bottle of vodka urging it to LIVE! LIVE! Well no time like the present, I thought.
As I opened the jar I was immediately hit with the intoxicating scent of herbal majesty. I took a small sip. Lavender! Right up front with slight citrus notes from the lemon verbana and an earthy mint backbone. Not Scope minty mind you, just a cool refreshing earthiness that gave the spirit a bit of body. It’s ALIVE, I thought!
Was I a genius? Surely I am a pioneer. Bars will be named in my honor, I thought. A quick google search brought me back to earth. This is a thing. People do this. Happy genius people who want to give cocktails new life. I raise my herbally delicious glass to these people. Slainte.
Look for more herbal spirit infusions this summer.
Lavender Garden Infused Vodka:
- 1 sprig lemon verbana
- 1 sprig lavender
- 2 sprigs pineapple mint
- 16 oz of questionable quality vodka
Put all into a clean dry mason jar and seal lid. Shake a few times because it seems like the right thing to do and forget for 5 days. After anxiously waiting 5 days, open and strain into a fresh clean dry mason jar. Enjoy!