First, get a bottle of 360® brand vodka — it’s made at a facility that works to reduce its carbon footprint, and comes in an 85 percent post-consumer recycled glass bottle with a recycled-paper label.
You’re basically going to cut up some fruit, place it in a container with the vodka, and let it sit for a week or two. These recipes are not exact, and can be adjusted to taste.
Pineapple: use about ¼ of a whole pineapple. Cut it up, dump it in, and wait a week.
Vanilla bean: Cut open two beans by slicing them down the center, scrape out the inside, and put it in the bottle along with the shell part. Wait one week.
Jalapeño (for Bloody Marys): Use a red jalepeño, which won’t lose its color in the alcohol the way a green one will — two or three peppers per bottle. Slice it open along the side and toss it in. Wait one week.
Honey lavender: This one is great because there’s no waiting. Take about two tablespoons of dried lavender flower (the same kind used for a bath or for tea; you can get it online or in a store selling lotions and bath products). Brew the flower in a regular drip coffee maker with a filter, using about four cups of water. Put the coffee pot’s resulting contents into the vodka bottle with a ¼ cup of lavender honey (available at a gourmet grocery), squeeze in ½ a lemon, and stir. Cool it to room temperature and serve on the rocks or shaken over ice and up with a twist.
Blood orange: You can make Nova’s blood orange infusion with no added sugar — just fruit. Peel and section the orange, dump it in, add a few twists of rind, and wait two weeks.
Kiwi: Slice two kiwis, place in bottle, wait one week.
Apple spice: One apple, one cinammon stick, and a clove. A yummy seasonal infusion.
This article originally appeared in Plenty in February 2006.