Star Anise and Tangerine Infused Vodka

Tangerine and star anise pods

Tangerine and star anise pods

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!

Store or gift in a fun bottle. This one is from 1800 Tequila

Store or gift in a fun bottle. This one is from 1800 Tequila (375 ml size)

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.

Let the 3-day infusion party begin!

Let the 3-day infusion party begin!

2 thoughts on “Star Anise and Tangerine Infused Vodka

  1. George says:

    Hi, I tried the recipe with a few tweaks. Tangerines were not in season, so I used mandarin orange (4 medium small ones). They are in the same family as tangerine along with clementines. I would feel comfortable using any of these three for this.

    I used a whole 750ml bottle of vodka instead of measuring two cups. It’s easier and just makes more sense to me. You don’t need to use potato vodka in particular unless you’re partial to it. Whatever vodka you like is fine (at least pick something that tastes fairly clean and smooth by itself). I went with Russian Standard – a wheat vodka for $21.99 in my state (congrats if it is cheaper in your area).

    I used a little over 1 tablespoon of whole star anise. Then I added two teaspoons of coriander, and 1 teaspoon of allspice and 1 teaspoon of cardamom. These spices pair well together. I did the 4 day infusion, then filtered.

    At first I thought I may have used too much cardamom or allspice, but it has mellowed out some over the last few days (either that or my palette has adapted).

    I love the results, and this is my first try! It almost has an Amaro taste to it, but not so sweet. I find the citrus lifts the star anise flavor to make it appropriate for summer (exotic tropical spiced vodka! I drink straight shots from the chilled bottle in the fridge and love it – goes down so smoothly!). It will do well for me in all four seasons. I love it!

    Thank you for providing me with the original impetus to make my first infused vodka. As is my personal style, I just had to immediately deviate and custom make my own blend with pure guesswork, damn the results. But the results were great!


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