The Platinum Blond from Adam Gamboa, the lead bartender of Il Posto in Denver, utilizes a grapefruit and rosemary vodka infusion, which is citrusy and herbal and works perfectly in this sour riff. To double down on the flavors, Gamboa includes some fresh grapefruit juice, as well as a rosemary sprig for garnish, and for sweetness he adds elderflower liqueur, whose floral qualities marry well with the citrus and herbs. A little simple syrup and some lemon juice balance the flavors.
One area in which vodka as a spirit category excels is infusions—this is due to vodka’s relatively neutral flavor profile, allowing the infused elements to come through clean and clear. And while it’s possible to simply add whatever ingredients you like to a high-proof vodka (or even Everclear) and let it sit for a week, sometimes you don’t have the time. One popular solution is to use a kitchen device for sous vide cooking.
Gamboa uses Mason jars for his sous vide infusions. He recommends that newbies bring the jars to temperature slowly, warming them with the water bath. He has yet to meet an ingredient he hasn’t been able to sous vide, he says, and he suggests picking up a copy of “The Flavor Bible,” by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg for infusion inspiration.
Once you’ve made the Platinum Blond you can try your hand at other infused vodka drinks like the Elder Greene Blues or New Year’s Sparkler. “Don’t limit yourself—you can create almost any flavor profile imaginable with a bottle of vodka and a sous vide,” Gamboa says.
- 1 ounce grapefruit-rosemary-infused vodka*
- 1/2 ounce elderflower liqueur
- 1/2 ounce grapefruit juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- Garnish: rosemary sprig
Add the infused vodka, elderflower liqueur, grapefruit juice, lemon juice and simple syrup to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish with a rosemary sprig.
*Grapefruit-rosemary-infused vodka: Add 1 liter vodka, 1 peeled and sliced grapefruit and 2 sprigs of rosemary into a Mason jar and sous vide for 2 hours at 130 degrees Fahrenheit, starting the timer once the bath hits the desired temperature. (Make sure you place the Mason jar in the bath before starting the sous vide, otherwise the rapid heating could break the jar.) Strain once the jar is cool enough to handle. Store the infused vodka in the refrigerator for up to a few weeks.