Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Un-Vodka (with Orlando Jones as the Infusions Guy)

With the Big Experiment now behind us, we have solid proof of the difference a dash of sugar can make in certain vodka infusions, particularly those involving fruit. However, we generally do not use enough sugar to really sweeten the drink, just enough to help along the infusion of the main ingredient. This week, we're trying something a little different.

A few months ago, we created a lime-infused vodka which met a mixed reception. Though the lime flavor was tasty, the vodka was quite sour. We felt that it needed to be mixed with something sweet to counteract the sourness, but every cocktail we attempted to use it in failed to meet the task.

This week, we're going to try to work around the shortcomings of that experiment and attempt a tried-and-true flavor combination: lemon-lime. We are hoping to reduce the sourness and increase the sweetness, to create something that resembles Sprite or 7-Up in flavor. If successful, perhaps this would be good with a bit of soda water, to add carbonation? We shall see.

In this experiment, we are using the zest of one lime and one lemon, and two thin slices of each. We are only using two slices of each in the hope that they will impart the flavor of their juices without making it overly sour. (Recall that the previous lime infusion used two entire limes.) In addition, we are adding enough sugar to sweeten the vodka.

We began by zesting the fruits, using our cheese grater as we learned to do during our last lime experiment.

The lime yielded slightly less zest than the lemon, due to its thinner skin and smaller size.

Once we had carefully scooped the zest into a science jar, I cut two thin slices from the midsection of each fruit.

Here is the product as it appeared once the infusion was underway. Interestingly, the lime slices sank to the bottom, while the lemon slices floated.

Once the fruit ingredients were added to the vodka, we added two spoonfuls of sugar. We suspect it will need more sugar than that to get the effect we're looking for, but we can always add more later. We will check the progress of this experiment after about five days, and decide whether to add more sugar, and how much.

Since we've been thinking about lemons and limes, I have also decided to try my hand at some homemade lemonade. Though I primarily made it as an alternative to drinking soda at home (an odd motivation when we're making a soda-inspired infusion), it may also mix well with this vodka, or perhaps our orange vodka.

When researching how to make authentic lemonade, I came across this recipe, which suggests beginning with simple syrup (rather than simply mixing water, sugar and lemon juice). I picked up a lemon squeezing apparatus and a bunch of lemons, and the first batch turned out pretty good.

Sadly, this cheap piece of crap broke on the third lemon, and I had to squeeze the rest by hand (which I think actually yielded more juice than the squeezer). I hope Wayland enjoyed playing with it while he had the chance.


Unknown said...

Are you guys still out there? I know that the Grand Experiment must have taken a lot out of you, but where's the un-vodka results?

Brendan said...

We are still here, Robert! In... spirit, you might say? Mua-ha-ha-ha!