There are so many varieties of infused vodkas out there, candy colored and a bit too campy. At this juncture you might be yearning for the purists to instigate an upheaval, and demand a high-ball, old fashioned retrenchment. No you can put away your picket signs for now and read on for something different, like for example a spicy horseradish vodka that is perfect in a bloody mary and can provide you with some medicinal qualities as well. So for now you can just ignore the Skittles vodka until it’s time for Halloween.
The Egyptians knew about horseradish as far back as 1500 B.C. Early Greeks used it as a rub for low back pain and an aphrodisiac. Jews still use it during Passover Seders as one of the bitter herbs. Some used horseradish syrup as an expectorant cough medicine; others were convinced it cured everything from rheumatism to tuberculosis. I forage wild horseradish in the spring, the woody root is fairly easy to find and prepare. (if you want to know more about finding your own wild horsey root click here)
I was inspired by a portland distiller named Josh Badcock, he and I were inspired by the Russian tradition of adding horseradish to vodka to give it a warming quality. This warming infusion is an effective tool to help the good people through the fierce Moscow winters and mask the rotten potato taste in the cheap vodka that the average человек can afford. Badcock’s vodka has been improved and americanized via a shi shi filtering technique, where it is run through crushed organic rock 5 times to make it oh so smooth!
Not to be outdone, I found comparable recipe in an old 70’s jewish cook book from my husbands grandmother, made modifications and upgraded the vodka to Ketel One. It’s got a bit more kick and flavor than Badcock, so if you want more subtle zing you can buy his elixer or modify my recipe.
The result: You will have a spicy savory vodka that is perfect in a bloody mary or as a straight shot to warm you up while this winter continues to hang on like a cheap suit.
1 tablespoon of celery seed
2 teaspoons of black peppercorns
4-inch-long piece of fresh peeled horseradish, thinly sliced lengthwise.
750 milliliter bottle of good quality vodka (about 3 cups)
Place horseradish slices, peppercorns and celery seed in a clean 1-quart jar. Using a wooden spoon, lightly crush the horseradish slices against the side of the jar. Add vodka.
Cover jar tightly with a nonmetallic lid (or cover jar with plastic wrap and tightly seal with a metal lid). Let stand in the freezer for 4 days.
Pour vodka through a fine mesh sieve to remove all solids.
Return infused vodka to jar, or to give as a gift, pour infused vodka into a decorative jar, label and and seal.
Place jar in the freezer up to 3 months to store. Makes about 3 cups (24 1-ounce servings)
By the way it’s amazing with a big steak!