Once again I went to the local Liquor Store and this time I asked the clerk for 2 cups of inexpensive vodka. "Come again," he said politely. I repeated that I wished to buy 2 cups of vodka that is 1 pint. I explained that I was going to use it for my cooking. He looked at me quizzically but got me a pint of vodka which I paid for, left, and let my designated driver take me home.
Are we there yet? It's a long journey from point A to Z, a challenge. To fortify myself at journey's end, I have infused small sprigs of mint and rosemary from my garden with some of my favorite spices, dried cranberries, and orange rinds to make mock Aquavit using the pint of vodka.
Aquavit is a popular Scandinavian drink served ice cold in a fancy shot glass. It is also used in cooking as often demonstrated on PBS by Norway's noted food expert. It takes two weeks for the concoction to infuse when left in a dark area, such as a kitchen cabinet. If a stronger flavor is desired, let it stand for another two weeks. Check on it once in a while and shake the bottle gently.
For two cups (1 pint or 375 ml) vodka, I used the following:
In a handsome bottle, I added some broken pieces of cinnamon, very few since they have a tendency to overpower the rest of the spices. In a mortar, I crushed lightly about 1/2 tsp each of anise, fennel, and caraway seeds. (I use the spices I have and like.) I found some dried cranberries and orange peel that I dropped into the bottle. (Any dried, frozen, or fresh fruit will do.) I also added sprigs of fresh mint and rosemary from my herb garden. Finally, I poured the two cups of vodka into the bottle and put it aside.
The mock Aquavit looks nice with the herbs and spices, dried cranberries, and orange peels floating around. When the two weeks are up, I will strain the concoction, discard the herbs and spices, and pour the mock Aquavit back into its bottle. When day Z in the blog challenge arrives and the journey is complete, I will taste and savor some of the mock Aquavit.
Warning: Although the mock Aquavit looks nice, it is still 80% proof vodka and it will knock your socks off. Handle it carefully.