Labor Day weekend!  The “official” summer send-off!  It’s one last chance to indulge in all your favorite summertime flavors before the leaves start falling.  Okay, not really.  But the fresh flavors of summer, like watermelon and cucumbers, are making their way out and pumpkin spiced everything is on its way in.  After a great weekend of riding bicycles on the greenbelt, watching the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic, and barbecuing with friends and family, my hubby and I were ready to relax at home with a tasty cocktail.   I wanted to bring a little sunshine into our home to help us cope with all the wildfire smoke that seems to saturate our valley every August.  I decided to infuse my favorite vodka with watermelon and cucumbers to create a tasty combo that will keep summer alive in our home for weeks to come.

When it comes to infusing alcohol, the sky is the limit! You can use any combination of ingredients you like to make some delightful spirits.  Peaches, jalapenos, basil, mint, apples…the list goes on and on. Infusing alcohol is a fun, creative way to make home-made cocktails sing!

For my infusion I chose Skyy Vodka simply because it’s my favorite.  I cut up some delicious watermelon I had left over from our Labor Day BBQ, and sliced some fresh cucumber from my garden.  I simply poured the vodka in with the fruit, put it in an air-tight container, and let it sit for a few days.  I checked on it every couple days and once it had that summery sweetness I was looking for, I strained out all the fruit and voila! I created a perfect sunny libation I can enjoy well into Autumn.

Infusions are relatively simple!  First, you need to find the tastiest, ripest, freshest ingredients as possible.  Make sure your ingredients taste exactly how you like them, because they will be the key to your infusion.  Next, make sure you have an alcohol you really enjoy.  I find vodka is great for infusing because it’s a blank canvas.    Of course, you will need to have an air-tight container like a mason jar with a lid, to ensure a tight seal.    All you have to do is cut up your ingredients to fit inside your container, pour in the alcohol to cover the ingredients completely (make sure to leave as little air as possible inside the container), and then tighten that lid up.  You’ll need to store it in a temperature controlled place like a dark pantry or refrigerator.  You should check on it every couple days, until you get the flavor profile you’re looking for.  Once the alcohol extracts as much flavor as it can, use a strainer to filter out all the ingredients, and you’ve got yourself a brand new flavor to experiment with.

Our Cucumber Watermelon Vodka Infusion was to die for!  Nothing makes you want to run through the sprinklers or pack a picnic more than the revitalizing sweetness of fresh watermelon and cucumber.  Summertime wouldn’t be the same without these staples, and they go amazingly well together in a cocktail!  Mix it in with a little lemonade for a refreshing summer spirit that you can enjoy even when the snow starts falling!

Here’s a tasty recipe for your drinking pleasure:

2 Parts Cucumber Watermelon Vodka

1 Part Fresh Lime Juice

1 Part Simple Syrup

8 Mint Leaves

4-5 chunks of seedless watermelon

Splash of soda water

Splash of Warn Reserve Aromatic Bitters

Muddle mint, watermelon, simple syrup and lime juice. Mix together in chilled glass with ice, add the vodka and finish with soda water and a splash of our aromatic bitters.  Garnish with a cucumber slice!