Some things are so easy and so satisfying to make. Infused vodka is one of them. When the grass starts to steam and the sidewalk starts to sizzle, and you feel like someone threw a wet towel at your head when you walked out of the door, you need something tropical and clean to revive you, without the hard work of a frozen, frou-frou drink. A simple, grown-up cocktail is in order.
My two favorite vodkas (so far) are ginger-infused and grapefruit-infused. Simply peel and slice into chunks a 2-3 inch piece of ginger and submerge in one of those 750 ml. bottles of your favorite vodka (or decant into a lovely empty bottle that you've been saving, despite the space it takes up and the clutter it creates, because you just know you'll find an occasion to use it--well, you found it, my duckling). Place in the refrigerator and shake (gently) occasionally. 4-5 days later and, voila!
For the other, carefully peel the zest from an entire grapefruit with a vegetable peeler (impress your friends and family with how it's all one continuous piece--you'll have to point this out to them, frequently), and proceed as above.
How to drink it? Ice-cold and neat--a first favorite of mine. Or you can get fancy:
Lime Ginger Martinis (serves one)
2 oz. ginger vodka
juice of 1 lime
1 t. simple sugar syrup
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with a lime twist.
Grapefruit and Blood Orange Cocktails (serves one)
2 oz. grapefruit vodka
Scant 1/2 oz. Cointreau or triple sec
Splash of blood orange juice (you'll find this in bottles in fancy food stores or your regular grocery store in the refrigerated section where they keep the fresh-squeezed orange juice)
Splash of sparkling water
Shake vodka, Cointreau, and juice together with ice and strain into glass. Top with a splash of sparkling (carbonated) water. Garnish with an orange slice.
UPDATE: Even easier is to just to skip the juice and to top it off with a splash of Italian blood orange soda, available at grocery stores (by the French limonade in Ukrop's) and, unsuprisingly (?), Target.