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chillin’ my way

Recipe: strawberry vodka

Our oppressive heat of the last several weeks seems to be abating so that Kaweah can resume her jolly evening walks without overheating. While we adjust to summer temperatures, it’s much harder on the pup. So 80°F might be tolerable for us, but it will have her gasping for air on the baby trails.

kaweah was so very happy to be out after a rain

trail markers in our town

This cooling trend was just in time for the Fourth of July holiday too. It was lovely getting our legs outside and back on the trails. The wildflowers are going nuts in the high country too. For our holiday, we went for an early morning local hike.

big views

little critters (can you spot the pika?)

final ascent

token summit shot on mount audubon (haze is smoke from wildfires in wyoming)

wonderful blue columbines (colorado state flower)

blessed rains on the descent

Fireworks were cancelled in our mountain town for obvious reasons (two words: Colorado wildfires). If you’re hankering for sparklies, you can see fireworks photos from 2011 and 2010. Instead of scoping out a location from which to shoot the fireworks like previous July 4ths, I got to chill out at home and make a simple, but elegant dinner.

pan-seared scallops on fresh vegetables

My beverage of choice is water. I love it. But when I want to offer something special to friends, it’s usually fruity and usually homemade. In summer, the quintessential beverage is lemonade. I like to play with fancy lemonade like lavender lemonade or in this case, a strawberry lemonade. Except this is an adult strawberry lemonade made with homemade strawberry vodka.

get yer hands on some proper strawberries

red to the core

You might have deduced that I am a little obsessed with strawberry beverages. You are correct. I’m enamored with the brilliant red color and the intensely strawberry flavor of strawberry syrup and now this strawberry vodka infusion. Infusions are fun, easy, and pretty. They’re great to give away or keep for yourself.

wash the berries

slice into quarters or halves (if they are small)

This infusion comes from my friend, Sean Timberlake, who also runs a great site on DIY preserving: Punk Domestics. It’s so simple a child could make this… except they couldn’t purchase the vodka.

strawberries in the jar

in goes the vodka

Right, so you wash some berries, chop them up, and place them in a glass jar with the vodka. That’s most of the work right there. Seal the jar and give it a shake. Then you store the jar in a cool, dark place for 3-7 days (go for 7, let’s maximize that flavor) giving it a shake once a day. I know, it’s hard not to break into it early, but be patient. When it’s ready, strain out the strawberries and you are left with a handsome, brilliant red liquid.


the strawberries have given up their essence to the vodka

strain it

Sean recommends storing it in the freezer and enjoying the strawberry vodka straight. I store it in the freezer, but I can’t drink it straight. It tastes like cough syrup to me because I’ve never really acquired a taste for vodka. However, if you add a shot (or two) of the strawberry vodka to lemonade, the cough syrup taste goes away.

squeeze some lemons to make lemonade

add simple syrup and water

Strawberry vodka lemonade tastes like strawberry lemonade. You can’t detect the vodka, but the strawberry flavor is strong and bright. Beware, lightweight boozers! You can get plastered enjoying one too many strawberry vodka lemonades on a hot summer day. But don’t let that deter you from enjoying one (or two…) because it’s utterly delightful. And if you really don’t want the boozer option, then go for a virgin strawberry lemonade using the strawberry syrup in place of the strawberry vodka – just make your lemonade less sweet since the syrup has a lot of sugar in it.

add a shot or two of strawberry vodka to the lemonade

a great way to enjoy summer

Strawberry Vodka
[print recipe]
from a guest post on David Lebovitz by Sean Timberlake of Punk Domestics

2 pints (1.25 lbs. or 575g) strawberries, organic or unsprayed
750 ml vodka

Wash, hull, and cut the strawberries into halves if they are small, quarters if they are large. Put the cut strawberries into a glass jar with a capacity large enough to hold the strawberries and the vodka. Pour the vodka into the jar. Tighten the lid on the jar and give it a good shake. Store the jar in a dark, cool place for 3-7 days (I went with 7 days). Give it a swish once a day. When the vodka is ready, strain the strawberry solids out with a fine mesh sieve, cheesecloth, or if you have a lot of time on your hands and want a super clear liquid – a coffee filter (this method totally doesn’t work for the impatient). Store in the refrigerator or the freezer for several weeks. Makes a quart.

To make strawberry vodka lemonade, add 1-2 ounces of strawberry vodka to a glass of lemonade over ice.

3/4 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice (about 5-6 lemons)
2-3 cups water

Stir the sugar and 1 cup water together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Make sure the sugar dissolves completely. Let boil for a minute then remove from heat. Let the simple syrup cool. Combine the simple syrup with the lemon juice and add 2 cups of water. Add more water to taste. Makes about a quart (depending on how strong you want your lemonade).

23 nibbles at “chillin’ my way”

  1. farmerpam says:

    With no spare time to sit at a computer I find it such a treat to visit your site…and now, to my delight,I’ve checked out punk domestics. Sometimes it’s nice to know there are others out there doing the same thing. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now I must go can up that elderflower syrup I made the other day, it’s so lovely smelling! Rock on sista friend.

  2. Bing Chou says:

    I’m not really a drinker, but that last photo may turn me into one. It looks amazing.

  3. TheKitchenWitch says:

    That is stunning! I need one of those this afternoon!

  4. Kristin says:

    David L and strawberries really speak to me right now as we are in Paris, and my kids and I just scarfed down a bunch of luscious strawberries. Will have to try the virgin version of this when we get home. Yum!

  5. Court says:

    This looks great! This recipe will come in handy this weekened.

    Sweet Sarah Artisan Confectionery

  6. Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says:

    Gorgeous and refreshing! Love it!

  7. Tracy says:

    Those strawberries look amazing. I’m guessing that they aren’t supermarket strawberries because the last couple of times we’ve purchased strawberries from the market (the organic variety) they weren’t red all the way through – there was a lot of white and they tasted sour and “watered down” if that makes any sense. We’re growing our own, but since we only have about 5 plants we only get a few at a time, but they are SOOO much better than the supermarket strawberries! We’re definitely planting a LOT more next year!!!!

  8. Val says:

    First things first…this series of photos is absolutely breathtaking. The action and details captured are a true work of art. Very inspiring.

    Now the scallops. I am heading to the fish market tomorrow.

    Finally, that cocktail will be the perfect venue for my Seascape Strawberries which are plentiful right now. Time to have some friends over for dinner!

  9. helen g says:

    That looks wonderful! Middle England has had the opposite problem to searing heat (it’s been raining for months) and for the first time in eight years I have no strawberry crop, so sadly am unable to join you…

  10. JulieT says:

    Where oh where do you find your strawberries. Nothing at the Boulder Farmer Market, and surely not from WF or Alfalfas, and I tried Lucky Market and Sunflower as well after your mouthwatering recipe for strawberry syrup. Must I bus up the canyon to find real fraises like yours?

  11. M. K. says:

    Hey Julie T ~ I finally found luscious strawberries this week at Whole Foods in Superior….albeit in a tub with some other berries (located on the shelf across from the fish counter where they also have the cut up melons, etc.)

  12. Shut Up & Cook says:

    Beatufiul as always! I just made Strawberry Rhubarb Cocktails with Vodka that were delicious!

  13. jenyu says:

    farmerpam – oh yes, punk domestics is wonderful (as is Sean – I *love* him). Woohoo, you made elderflower syrup!! :)

    Bing – I’m not either, but you can also try making the non-alcoholic version! Both are excellent.

    TKW – I can see you chillin’ out with one of these in your lovely hand xo

    Kristin – how cool! Hope you’re having a great time.

    Tracy – yes, these are from the Boulder Farmers Market and they’re organic. COMPLETELY different beasts from the ones in supermarkets. I cannot sing the praises enough :) So awesome that you are growing your own. I’m impressed! (and a little jealous!!) :)

    Val – you’re so sweet, thank you.

    helen – ugh, I wish we could trade weather a little??

    JulieT – really? I guess that means the season is over for now. I got them at the Red Wagon Farms stand, but when I went to get some last week, they didn’t have any on Wednesday. I think they will come back again in early August? I guess it depends on the varieties. Ask around – I will do the same. I really need to get more of those babies!

    M.K. – I’ve been getting strawberries from WF too and well… they don’t compare at all. They’re far inferior to the ones from the Farmers Market.

    Shut Up & Cook – mmm!

  14. brandi says:

    gorgeous. i made fresh strawberry mojitos this spring with the berries from our yard, for the first time ever. i can’t ever go back! i’ll be making this next year when the berries are back.

  15. myfudo says:

    Wow! Such impressive pictures and what a really refreshing and pretty mix too! Perfect for the summer. A must try!

  16. Memoria says:

    Wow. Those strawberries look amazing. I don’t drink alcohol, so I cannot make this; however, I should try making regular strawberry lemonade very soon. Now I just need to find strawberries as red as yours…

  17. shannon says:

    i made strawberry meyer lemonade to go with strawberry vodka last summer… it was such a hit. need to make it again soon :)

  18. Alice Z. says:

    You should try making a watermelon lemonade.

  19. Melissa says:

    I have made some vodka close to this before but you would drink mind if you made it.

    Chocolate Covered Strawberries

    360 Double Chocolate Vodka

    Wash and cut up the strawberries then mash them some.
    Put the strawberry mixture and the vodka in a clean container. Make sure that it is an air tight container.
    Shake it every couple of days.
    Leave in cool, dark space for at least 7 days. Leaving it longer will only make it better.
    Pull strawberries out of container and push as much liquid out of strawberries through a mesh sieve (strainer) into bowl with vodka. Throw out strawberries unless you like drunken mushy strawberries.
    Strain vodka through strainer with cheesecloth or coffee filter. If using coffee filter, this is going to take FOREVER.
    If you would like to get ALL the seeds out, use a water pitcher that has a filter on it, may need 2 filters. This will take a while too.
    Once filtered, use a funnel and pour the strawberry vodka back into the 360 vodka bottle.
    You can continue to store in dark place or place in freezer.

    I’ve made one bottle of this. It was so smooth. I don’t know if I added all the steps seeing as how this is my first ever recipe to write. This recipe was made with Arkansas Strawberries, yum!
    Have a great day!

  20. Monika Lev says:

    I can’t remember how long I left the strawberries in for, but it was delicious. At a more-or-less 1:1:1 ratio of strawberry vodka : lemon juice + simple syrup : water, it was a perfect way to drink vodka.

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  23. Karen Sweet says:

    I was about to make the strawberry pâte de fruits, but as I’m at that part of the berry season where there are so many in the patch that I’m starting to resent them (first-world problems), I just need a drink. This is perfect! Thank you so very much for sharing this, the others, the pictures, and just basically making the world better by being in it.

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