Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Introducing the Mad Scienticians, and their first experiments.

Welcome to the debut entry of "Infusions of Grandeur!" In this blog, your hosts, renowned mad scienticians Brendan and Wayland, will be experimenting with the creation of infused vodkas of all flavors. We intend to begin a new experiment on a weekly basis, and update our readers on the creation, testing, and usage of our Mad Scientician™ brand flavored vodkas.

Despite our scientifical backgrounds, however, these vodkas are not professional productions. We have never tried this before, so some of our experiments may very well end in resounding failure. But by the good graces of the scientific method, we will learn and improve, and vicariously, so shall you!

Before we move on to our first experiments, a note on methodology. As mad scienticians, as opposed to your garden-variety scientician, we prefer to make our experiments as convoluted as possible, to further our research potential. Furthermore, we have an interest in keeping our costs as low as possible. For these reasons, we have decided to apply the methods developed by Oh My God It Burns!, another band of respected scienticians, in improving the quality of cheap vodka by way of home distillery. Put simply, the cheapest, vilest, back-of-the-bottom-shelf vodka can be made wondrously crisp and smooth simply by cycling it several times through a Brita or Pur water filter.

And so it begins....

Experiments #1 and #2: Cinnamon- and Apple-Infused Vodkas

What we used:

Vodka, Vladimir brand, 2 fifths
Pur filter, 1
Apple, Granny Smith, 1
Cinnamon, stick, 3

Before beginning the infusion, the vodka had to be filtered into something drinkable. For control purposes, we sampled the vodka in its unaltered form. Brendan volunteered to take the first sample.

As you can see, Vladimir (at $5.45 per 750mL) is about as vile as you can get without medical coverage.

After seeing Brendan's reaction, Wayland knew this was going to be an unpleasant experience, but he forged ahead anyway in the name of science.

Wayland, having spent part of his college career majoring in drinking Aristocrat, did not react as violently as Brendan, but you can still see the pain he is feeling.

Without further ado, the filtration process began. First, we primed the filter with several quarts of water. This clears the filter of any loose bits of carbon. Then we poured in the first bottle of vodka.

These filters work by carbon distillation, which is pretty much the same process that vodka manufacturers use. It takes several runs through the filter to fully transform a vodka this bad; we filtered ours five times. Take that, Mr. Triple-Distilled Smirnoff!

After the fifth run through the filter, we sampled the vodka again. The resulting product came out much smoother and cleaner. Wayland took the first sample this time:

Wayland appears satisfied. He may not be overjoyed, but hey, this is still straight vodka, people.

A slight grimace from Brendan. This is high praise, considering vodka shots normally get at least a reflex head-shake from him.

Now that the first transformation is complete and meets with the mad scienticians' approval, we're ready to begin the second. Wayland places three cinnamon sticks in a glass jar and pours the vodka in over it.

Our research indicates that a sprinkling of sugar reduces the time for the infusion to set, so Wayland adds half a spoonful.

That's one down! The vodka filtration process is repeated with the second bottle, and we begin the apple infusion. Wayland slices a Granny Smith apple into wedges, and Brendan pours the vodka over the apples:

By the time the apple vodka is sealed, you can already see some coloration seeping from the cinnamon to the first batch of vodka.

Finally, both jars are placed in a dark cabinet in our lab. Research indicates that the cinnamon vodka will take two weeks to infuse; the apple vodka will begin to set within a week, but can be left to infuse for up to three weeks, depending on how strong we want the flavor. We'll sample it occasionally along the way and see what we can come up with.

We have a party planned for this Saturday, but unfortunately, neither will be ready. The apple vodka may be close; we may try the first sample then. We will also begin our next weekly experiment then. What will be the next featured flavor? We haven't decided yet!

Last, but not least, we prepare for the final touch. The empty bottles are soaked in warm water to remove the labels. When the vodkas are complete, they will return to the original bottles, free of the bottom-shelf stigma they once endured. In their place, we will be designing our own labels for our creations.


zarhooie said...

If you can perfect bacon-flavored vodka, I'll kiss you.

(also, what you're making are called cordials)

Brendan said...

True, but the word "cordial" has such a 30-proof connotation. Besides, if Smirnoff and Stoli can market their concoctions as flavored vodkas, so can we.

I would love to try making bacon vodka as a novelty or a gag gift. We may try it sometime down the line.

Unknown said...

Fun site! -E

Anonymous said...

ahhh...very nice
i have tried creating a coffee flavoured vodka myself...
now that i have learned from your pre-filtering experience, i too will follow blindly in your footsteps.

Oh, and my coffee vodka turned out to be of the headshaking variety, and i DEFINATELY a sweetening agent of some sort should you attempt

Brendan said...

Did you use roasted or non-roasted coffee beans? That's an infusion we're planning to try sometime in the near future.

Sarah said...

I just started making flavored vodkas and am pretty happy with my first results (pomegranate, for the curious). I'll be watching with interest for good recipes!

Anonymous said...

Ohhh so interested in this even though I myself would be far too lazy to make it! I admire your ambition!

Thorsten said...

My own experiments indicate that patience is the most important ingredient!

I have just enjoyed a cocktail made with 2 years' infused coffee vodka, which has an immense kick to it.

Cinnamon vodka takes on the colour after a few weeks, but the taste takes about a year to develop properly!

I'm looking forward to more vodka-ish mayhem. Keep up the spirit (as it were).