White Russian. Bloody Mary. Dirty Martini. What do these cocktails have in common? Vodka! This clear liquor is the backbone in many of America’s favorite drinks, and a staple in even the most bare-bones liquor cabinets. Today is National Vodka Day, so if your half-full bottle of Absolut has been sitting on the shelf for months, give it some love by using it for a practical purpose: cleaning!
Photo: BrightNest at The Retro Room
To rid your bathroom of mold or banish bacteria from your kitchen counters, simply fill a plastic spray bottle with 3 parts vodka and 1 part water. Spritz it liberally on the dirty area, and then let it sit for a full 15 minutes. Scrub the vodka away with a clean towel, sponge or even an old toothbrush. This works because the alcohol in vodka loosens up dirt and grime and kills bacteria in hard-to-reach crevices. For more practical uses around the house, read: Creative Ways to Use Vodka.
If you still have some vodka left over, try making infused vodka with one of your favorite fall flavors like apple cinnamon or pear vanilla. Here’s how:
1. Choose your vodka. Any vodka will do, but we recommend you use a brand of vodka that you like drink on its own. If it doesn’t taste good by itself, it probably won’t taste good flavored, either! Our favorites are Square One Organic and Silver Tree, a Denver-distilled favorite made by the Leopold Brothers.
2. No matter what ingredients you choose to infuse your vodka with, the process to make it is the same! Simply place the ingredients in an airtight container and then fill the container with vodka. There’s no need to stir – simply seal your container and store it in a dark, cool place.
3. Wait a few days, and then taste your concoction. There is no magic amount of time that you should let your vodka sit; just taste-test your concoction daily until you like the flavor. Once it’s to your liking, strain the vodka into a fresh container and then refrigerate it for future use. Straining the mixture will help the flavor stay consistent.
Here are three of our favorite fall infusion recipes! Note: These are based on using a pint-sized container, so if your container is bigger or smaller, alter the recipe accordingly:
Apple Cinnamon – 2-3 sliced apples, 3 cinnamon sticks and 3 whole cloves
Pear Vanilla – 4 sliced pears, 1 vanilla bean cut in half (use a single half for mild vanilla flavor or both for a more intense flavor)
Beet – 3 red beets trimmed, peeled and quartered, and a few slices of raw ginger (optional)
Pumpkin Infusion @ Dazed and Infused
Skittles Infusion @ Chris JD
Squash Infusion with Ginger Syrup @ Design*Sponge
Vanilla-Pear Infusion @ Two-Tarts
Apple Infusion @Boulder Locavore
Kumquat Infusion @ Redbook Mag
Pumpkin Martini with Vanilla Infusion @ Tasty Talk
Blood Orange Infusion @ The Best Remedy