We all have that dusty bottle of cheap vodka taking up precious space in our apartment: a remnant of an ill-advised trip to the bottle shop.
Since you can’t drink it straight, and your usual orange juice mixer isn’t enough to mask its horrendous burn, we’ve found some creative hacks to put your leftover vodka to good use — from making tasty desserts to creating your own vanilla extract.
Vodka is the surprising ingredient that is essential for a foolproof pie crust. Unlike water, alcohol doesn't promote gluten formation when mixed with flour, helping the crust stay tender and flaky.
Peel some lemon zest, add it to your vodka, and let it sit in direct sunlight for a few days. After straining out the peels, mix in sugar to taste. What you're left with is a much less cloying, citrusy liquor.
(Note: higher-proof grains work better because they will extract more lemon flavour, making your foul-tasting vodka taste smoother.)
Stir a shot of vodka into a simmering pot of crushed plum tomatoes, heavy cream, and Italian herbs. Cook off the alcohol until the sauce thickens slightly, then add a fat pinch of Parmesan as the final touch.
Add a splash of vodka to a shrimp stir fry to remove some of the fishy flavour. Although a majority of the alcohol will evaporate while cooking, the vodka will add a complexity of flavour without much effort.
Coffee liquor can be made at home with just a few ingredients, including cheap vodka. After freshly brewing two cups of strong coffee, add four cups of sugar, and another two cups of vodka. For additional flavour, add a pod of vanilla bean.
Slice vanilla beans and place them in a bottle with a cup of vodka. Keep the beans in there for eight weeks, shaking the mixture occasionally, and you're left with flavorful homemade vanilla extract.
Give your cheesecake a Polish twist by infusing vodka into a sweet berry compote glaze. To avoid the harsh taste, a good rule of thumb is to use the same amount of alcohol as you would use vanilla extract.
This aromatic cocktail additive gets its name from its amber colour. Combine crushed cardamom, saffron, and orange peels to create this delicious bitter -- a must for any aspiring mixologist to have in their pantry.
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