For those of you who aren’t familiar, alcohol infusions versus mixing flavors into alcohol is like the difference between letting sliced fruit marinate in a jar of water and merely adding fruit juice to the water. Infusions don’t dilute the original liquid or add volume to it. They leave behind pure flavor.
I like to use vodka for infusions because it allows the flavors of what you add to really shine through. Although you don’t need to go for an expensive brand of vodka, do choose a decent one. The “rubbing alcohol” flavor common in the cheapest brands will ruin the flavors of the infusion.
This particular recipe is one that will either delight or disappoint…it all depends on if you enjoy the taste of licorice! Star anise is used in many Chinese dishes, and has a distinct flavor very similar to licorice (but not in the sugary way of Twizzlers or Good & Plenty). I’m not a huge licorice fan, but the addition of tangerine flavor resulted in a thumbs-up experience. This drink is best chilled and enjoyed as an apéritif, or sipped on its own after a meal.
This recipe has the power of 3’s: Only uses 3 ingredients and only takes 3 days to infuse. Plenty of time to prepare for holiday sipping and gifting!
Recipe for Star Anise and Tangerine Infused Vodka
10 star anise pods
1 tangerine, sliced
2 cups potato vodka
Drop star anise and tangerine slices in glass jar that holds at least 3 cups (24 oz) of liquid. Pour in vodka. Cover tightly and store in cool place. Give jar a gentle shake each day to mix. Allow recipe to infuse for 3 days. Strain out solids with fine mesh strainer. Store infused vodka in a jar or bottle.