Stirring Up: Vodka

By: Kirsten Vala

First tequila, now vodka—we're right there with Darryl Robinson mixing up divergent DIY happy hour cocktails and inspirational libations on Drink Up.  By the way, grabbing friends and following along at home makes it even better...

I’m not a huge tarragon lover, but I happened to have a leftover bunch of it in my fridge when I saw this episode. It was fate, it had to be done—I mixed up this Siberian Sling from the Raines Law Room and really, I have to say that this is now my favorite use for tarragon ever.

Another must-try: Darryl’s Vodka Martini

Secret ingredients: blue cheese-stuffed olives and a chilled glass. You’ll also need ice, dry vermouth and, of course, vodka.

Fill a shaker with vodka and ice and shake gently so you don’t break up too much of the ice and dilute the drink. Then, fill your chilled glass with ice, pour a bit of dry vermouth over, swirl it around and pour out both the ice and the vermouth—you just want the vermouth coating the inside of the glass and the rim. Pour the shaken vodka in and plop in your blue cheese-stuffed olive. It’s a classic vodka martini taken up a notch or two with little details—made me feel like a cocktail mixing pro!

Next Step: Vodka infusions. Darryl and vodka expert Jeremy Thompson simply put vodka into jars with their favorite ingredients and the alcohol pulls out the flavors. When the flavor reaches the level that they want (some ingredients will be quicker than others) they strain the vodka and serve. Recommended flavors: dill, citrus, ginger with spices or strawberries (although I imagine possibilities are endless). I never really considered making flavored vodka before, but it looks so simple I have to try now. I’m going to start with strawberries—they’re in season and Darryl gave a great, summery recipe idea for using strawberry-infused vodka.

Darryl's Strawbellini

Mix together:
Muddled strawberries
1 oz Strawberry infused vodka
1/4 oz Simple syrup
A little lemon juice

Top with:
Champagne

Next up for Darryl... white wine!  Looking forward to chilling with that.

What are you starting to stir up for summer cocktails?
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