You might have seen my mention about OVAL vodka’s infusion contest in an earlier post and wondered what the heck I was talking about. I got some ‘splainin’ to do.
Earlier this summer, OVAL vodka asked several cocktail bloggers to accept the challenge of creating a unique infusion using a bottle of OVAL and whatever other ingredients they like. The prize? Two nights stay in New Orleans, during Tales of the Cocktail. Many bloggers jumped at the chance to experiment and create and have some of their expensive hobby paid for!
Participants were asked to submit an 8 oz. sample of their infusion, the infusion recipe, and a cocktail recipe that called for their infusion. We got a number of great entries (you’ll see several featured below) and a judging panel (Gabriel Szaszko of Cocktailnerd, Rick Stutz of Kaiser Penguin, and mixologist Chantal Tseng of the Tabard Inn, met at the Mixo House in New Orleans to taste all the submissions and rate them on the following criteria:
One entry stood out among the rest and the judges’ scores showed agreement that Marshall Fawley’s Thai Infusion was the clear winner. Marshall, a DC blogger at Scofflaw’s Den, clearly put a lot of hard work into the process of creating this complex infusion & will now reap the reward! Check out his entry:
Marshall Fawley’s Thai Infusion:
16 oz. OVAL vodka
1 9-inch stalk of Lemongrass, cut into small rounds
Peel of 2 limes
2 quarter-sized rounds of fresh ginger
1 2-inch cinnamon stick
Place everything in a sealed container and infuse for one week, shaking the container once a day. After one week, strain through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheese cloth.
And his fantastic cocktail….(seriously I love this one!)
Andaman Sun: (picture by Marshall Fawley above)
1 ½ oz. Thai-Infused OVAL vodka
1 ½ oz. Coconut water
1 oz. Piloncillo Syrup* (1 ½: 1 strength)
½ oz. fresh lime juice
¼ oz. Coconut milk
Shake all with ice and double strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
*Substitutions for Piloncillo syrup- 1 oz. of Dark Brown Sugar Syrup (1 ½ : 1) or ¾ oz. simple syrup & ¼ oz. molasses.
Congratulations Marshall! You created the perfect cocktail for a creative infusion!
I want to thank everyone who participated in the contest, as well as Chris Stanley, who lent a great hand and made all the cocktails for the tasting. Check out a few featured infusion recipes below. I’ll also post featured cocktail recipes later this week.
Cilantro, Peppercorn & Honey Infusion Recipe by Matt Robold of Rumdood:
Steep a handful of cilantro leaves in a 750ml bottle of OVAL vodka for 24 hours.
Strain out the cilantro and then add ¼ cup of peppercorns (uncracked) to the vodka, along with ½ cup of honey and shake vigorously. Steep for 48 hours and then strain through cheesecloth and/or a coffee filter.
Jalapeño Infusion Recipe by SeanMike Whipkey of Scofflaw’s Den:
Slice up three jalapenos, removing the ribs and seeds. Place in a jar with twelve ounces of OVAL vodka. Let sit for twenty four hours, then strain out the slices of jalapeño.
Rosemary Infusion Recipe by Stevi Deter of Two at the Most:
Take leaves from 1 oz. fresh rosemary, add to 8 oz. OVAL vodka, and allow to infuse for one day. Double strain
to remove leaves.
Chip Infusion Recipe by Blair Reynolds of Trader Tiki: (This one’s extremely complex but great tasting-it was ranked #2 by our judging panel—check out the great cocktail recipe that accompanies it on my next post)
750ml OVAL Vodka
2 large brown coconuts
6 oz. Orange Blossom Honey
1 large Plantain
½ vanilla bean
Pinch demerara sugar
Drill holes in both coconuts, replace coconut water with OVAL vodka. Let sit for three days. Strain OVAL out of coconuts and into a glass container. Open and slice the coconut, being sure to remove the woody inner skin. Briefly chop the coconut and Plantain in a food processor until at a rough chop. Start a pan at medium temperature, and once at temp, add coconut and plantain. Throw sugar and cinnamon over the cocnut and plantain mix while toasting. Toast until coconut is golden brown. Let the coconut and plantains sit until cool (so as not to boil off the alcohol) then add toasted coconut & plantains and ½ a vanilla bean to the OVAl vodka. Let sit for three days.
Strain the vodka into a separate glass container. Add 6 oz. orange blossom honey and shake heartily. Strain through a Brita filter.
Lavender Infusion Recipe by Cheri Loughlin of The Intoxicologist:
1 ½ cup OVAL Vodka
2 teaspoons lavender flowers
Place 2 level teaspoons of lavender flowers and 1 ½ cup of OVAL vodka in a glass container with a lid that will seal. Allow to sit out of direct sun at room temperature for 20 hours. Strain lavender flowers from liquid and return to glass container.
Calendula & Rose Hip Infusion Recipe by Ted Munat of Le Mixeur:
750ml OVAL vodka
1 cup dried calendula
4 tbsp dried rose hips
Combine in a jar and let sit for 24 hours. Strain out calendula and rose hips.