Tomato Vine Vodka Cocktail: Using a Sous Vide to Infuse Vodka

Tomato vine infused vodka- grassy, botanical scents and tastes of summer captured in a cocktail. 

TOMATO VINE VODKA COCKTAIL

Is one allowed to claim a cocktail as their own? DON'T CARE. THIS IS MINE. Tomato leaf is one of my favorite scents and upon request, Chris infused it into vodka. If you've ever been around a tomato plant, the aroma released when you reach in to pick a tomato, or accidentally brush buy the plant is so different from anything else. It's green, herbal, slightly grassy and maybe a little earthy with a touch of warmth. It's not the smell of the inside of a cut tomato. This is the smell of summer I remember and look forward the entire year- ergo...this is my cocktail (but you are welcome to share as long as you bring over a cheese platter). 

Despite the fact we've been using our sous vide in the kitchen for a few years, we rarely explore the breadth of possible functions it offers beyond cooking meat (what can we say-we love a good steak). We figured it was high time to explore the possibilities of rapid flavor infusion. In traditional flavor infusion methods (namely, putting stuff in a jar of other stuff and waiting a long time), it can take weeks to months to achieve a desired infusion of concentrated flavor. But by using a sous vide to heat, in this case, alcohol to a very specific temperature,  you can cut down the time to about 45 minutes with true flavor infusion. So yeah. I'd say that hits all the marks I love when it comes to efficiency! 

If you want to make a second type of flavor infused alcohol, whip up this red pepper rum that's perfect for paring with grilled items. 
Tomato Vine Vodka Cocktail
Tomato Vine Vodka Cocktail
 
Tomato Vine Vodka Cocktail
Tomato Vine Vodka Cocktail

To turn tomato vine vodka into something more than a shot, we thought about how we could make this a well rounded, balanced drink without covering up the delicate flavors that are tomato vine. To us, that means a little sugar a little salinity, some acid and to bring out the essence of what a tomato is at its best: umami. Ripe tomatoes are packed with umami compounds, so in this recipe we use MSG to cover the umami and salty bases. (Again, if you want to read more MSG, head over to this in-depth post where I explain umami as well). 

Side note: Why Citric Acid? It allows a sour component to be apart of the drink without incorporating a citrus flavored oil to overpower other flavors. You could use other acids such as malic acid. But even these acids have “flavors”. Malic is like green apple and pear, while citric acid is more lemon, orange and lime. 

Tomato Vine Vodka Cocktail

INGREDIENTS

Tomato Vine Vodka

  • 4, 1 foot length of leaf and stem of tomato plant (no fruit)
  • 1 L of vodka (it can be 'house vodka'- no need to spend a ton here)

Citric Acid Solution Batch

  • 3 1/2 teaspoon citric acid powder (find it in the canning goods area of the grocery/Target)
  • 1 cup water

Cocktail

  • 2 oz tomato vine vodka
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup
  • 3/4 oz citric acid solution (don’t use lemon in a pinch - it will overpower the tomato vine)
  • Pinch of msg (1/16 tsp)

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. To infuse vodka: Add tomato vines into a non-sealed glass jar with vodka (evaporation can create too much pressure and cause it to crack or explode if sealed) or a double bagged freezer bag (what we did). Use water displacement to remove air from bags before sealing

  2. Infuse at 135º for 45 minutes.

  3. Strain solids off and discard. Pour liquid into bottle and cool. Store in fridge. 

  4. To make citric acid solution: Add citric acid powder to water. Stir to combine. Store in fridge.

  5. To make cocktail: Shake in a tin with ice, strain into glass. Serve with large ice cube. Garnish with tomato vine if desired. 
Tomato Vine Vodka Cocktail
Tomato Vine Vodka Cocktail

Dietitian Nutritionist. My husband Chris and I create food and beverage photos, videos, stopmotions and recipes. And they're really cool.