Sunday, September 25, 2011

DAA Cocktail Hour: Pepper Vodka

I admit, when I first heard of pepper vodka, I was pretty intimidated. It’s one thing to have pepper on your food, but in a drink….I wasn’t so sure. But I couldn’t get it out of my head, and the more and more I looked into it, the more and more it intrigued me. And when I found out the best part, that I could make my own…well that just set me over the edge. If you know me, you know there are two things I really like to do with my free time: drink and make stuff. So I knew I had finally found my next big kitchen project (I had attempted fudge the week before, to no avail, and I was feeling sort of down.)
Making your own flavored vodka couldn’t be anymore simple. It’s two basic steps: preparation and sit time. You can flavor your vodka with just about any fruit, candy or herb you can imagine. The combinations are endless (Garlic and rosemary vodka, anyone?). You have so many more options than you could ever find on your wine and spirit stores’ shelves. And if you start your concoction in the middle of the week, it will be ready by the time the weekend arrives! Below is a simple formula for making your own flavored vodka, the peppercorns can be omitted for any other ingredients you’d like to try. So get your brain juices flowing, figure out what it is you’ve always wanted to try, and send your success stories/recipes/suggestions for what we should make next to
How to make your own homemade peppercorn vodka:
You will need:
One bottle of vodka
(very simple so far!)

1.) Add peppercorns to vodka. You can put as little or as many in as you like. I put about two tablespoons in.
2.) Let ingredients sit in the vodka for at least two days, but no more than one week, at room temperature. Shake bottle at least three times a day to mix ingredients. At the same time every day, taste test your vodka to ensure you get the taste you want. (After about two and a half days, the peppercorn vodka will have obtained a golden brown color; this is where we found it to have the ideal taste).
3.) Once you have your ideal taste, it’s time to drain those peppercorns out of vodka (we used a coffee filter and drained the vodka into a new fancy bottle).

Now that you’ve got your vodka, it’s time to DRINK DRINK DRINK! Here’s a list of some of the more popular pepper vodka drinks we’ve found, along with our opinions and ratings of each. Enjoy!

Spicy Redhead/ Absolut Redhead
Pepper vodka (some recipes call for Absolut Peppar Vodka, hence the name)
Dash of grenadine
Juice of 1/5 lime
Rating: 3.5 (out of 5)
Very pretty to look at, the drink to order if you’re out with the girls and want something with equal parts adorable and badass.

Brown Bear
Pepper vodka
Rating: 0.75
No good, no good! Honestly I thought we’d really like this one too. The before, during and aftertastes of this drink were just disappointing to the max. Definitely bypass this one!

Moscow Chill
Pepper Vodka
Dr. Pepper
Rating: 1
This is another one of those drinks that sound amazing, but tastes nothing like what you’d imagine it to be. The spice of both the vodka and the soda didn’t mix as well as it does on paper. This is probably the only drink we walked away from feeling like we’ve had our mouths numbed.

Spicy Screw
Pepper Vodka
Orange Juice
Rating: 4.75
This was just too good for words. Both ingredients meshed well and had us coming back for seconds. Definitely an improvement on the regular screwdriver.

Pepper Vodka
Ginger Ale
Rating: 4.75
Looks cool, probably the least “girly man” of the drinks we tried. Where the Spicy Redhead is girly and sweet, Hotness is masculine and strong. Everything about it is perfect, from the smell to the taste.

Pepper vodka
Cranberry cocktail/juice
Rating: 4
Smells like straight up tequila, tastes like spiced cranberry. Quite possibly the strongest of the drinks we tried (if only for Senor Cuervo!), and awesome. I’d suggest cranberry juice, and not cocktail like we tried, if you want something a little less dry.

What to order:
Alex: Hotness
Erica: Spicy Screw

What to skip:
Alex: Brown Bear
Erica: Moscow Chill

Make one (or all) of these and give us your opinion! Or do you have an idea for something we should have added to the drink list? Leave a comment, send us an email at, or visit our Facebook page (

Happy Drinking!!!

- E

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