Make this right now. No, not to drink right now. There’s no instant gratification (or morning drinking) here. But if you want to be sipping these bright red drinks before linking arms, belting patriotic songs, and admiring at the fireworks on July 4th, you’ll have to start now.
That’s because this is no ordinary gimlet. I took a deep dive into DIY terrain and infused my own plain vodka with strawberry tops. After two weeks in my pantry, my little jar of booze had turned a deep pink, the once-fresh strawberries gone limp and their color dimmed as they donated their flavor and hue to the vodka. And so, 14 days after I started this project, I was ready to mix a drink.
I knew I wanted something simple after waiting so long (despite doing so little–infusing alcohol is surprisingly easy).
A gimlet normally requires nothing more than vodka (or gin), lime, and sugar. The generous amount of lime makes the drink taste like a sour, rather than a cocktail simply finished with a mere squeeze of citrus. Since I was already perverting the gimlet’s purity with berry vodka, I added a second dose of strawberry by muddling a few berries from a fresh pint with sugar–the berries, for me, really round out the drink’s flavor. After the muddling, the instructions include: pouring vodka, squeezing limes, and straining. Easy. Two drinks are ready for toasting to the U.S.A.!
My vodka recipe makes enough for four drinks, but if you’re hosting a crowd, you can undoubtably infuse much more.
Makes 2 drinks
6 fresh strawberries
4 teaspoons sugar
4 ounces lime juice (about 8 limes)
4 ounces homemade strawberry vodka (recipe follows)
2 half moon-shaped slices of lime
In a cocktail shaker or a measuring cup, muddle 4 berries with the sugar (use a muddler or a spoon) until they are broken apart and fragrant. Add the lime juice and the vodka. Mix well. Fill 2 low glasses with ice. Strain the mixture over the ice. Cut the remaining berries in half and garnish the drink with those plus the lime slices. Cheers!
Homemade Strawberry Vodka
Makes about 1 cup
This recipe is so, so flexible. It’s barely a recipe, really. So if you have more or less strawberries, a bigger or smaller jar, don’t sweat it. Aim to fill your jar halfway with the strawberry tops, then pour in vodka to the top.
About 3/4 cup strawberry tops (fruit and leaves, from 1 pint of berries)
1 cup vodka, or more to fill the jar.
Fill half of a clean 12-ounce jar with the washed and dried strawberry tops. Pour in vodka to nearly the top of the jar. Set in a cool, dark place—like a kitchen cabinet—and leave for 1 to 2 weeks, shaking the jar every few days. Use a clean spoon to taste (no double dipping!); the vodka is done when it tastes enough like strawberries for your liking. Strain out the strawberries and store in a dark place.