From a book I’ve mentioned before, Diana Henry’s Salt Sugar Smoke: How to Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat and Fish, I’m using her Gdansk Vodka recipe to make 1.5 litres of what I hope will be an enjoyable tipple.

It’s currently steeping for two weeks in a sealed tupperware in a cardboard box on a high shelf. After that, it will mature for 2 months (and thus be ready for Christmas) but the author notes that it can keep maturing over years, with some saying it doesn’t reach full maturation until three years after its preparation! Well, the first batch is unlikely to last that long, but we’ll see.

The spice mix includes juniper berries, mace blades, whole cloves, whole cardamoms, cinnamon sticks, star anise, plus the zest of five unwaxed lemons and two oranges. The base is Russian Standard vodka, which I blogged about last time.

There is little point in me sharing the recipe until I can evaluate the taste, so I’ll do a follow up sometime around Christmas. The aroma coming from the infusion mix was really deep and exotic. Fingers crossed it will all have been worth it in two months’ time.

Food Photography, Recipes

Preparing the infusion for Gdansk Vodka


Did you know that the Russian word vodka actually means ‘dear little water’? Neither did I, but the excellent book I have from the library – Salt Sugar Smoke: How to Preserve Fruit, Vegetables, Meat and Fish: The Definitive Guide to Conserving, from Jams and Jellies to Smoking and Curing, by Diana Henry says as much. It’s a book on preserving – really good recipes. Of the 5-6 books I got out of the library on the subject – this is definitely my favourite. As a result, I’m stocking up on ingredients for the flavoured alcoholic drinks I’m going to be making – most of which require vodka.

This led to decision-making needed on what vodka to buy. Having searched numerous online reviews, I came to the conclusion that Russian Standard was the one I’d go for. As luck would have it – it’s currently on offer at both Sainsbury’s and Tesco (£16 a litre at S’burys, £25 for 2x 0.7l at Tesco). Not exactly cheap – but cheaper than it normally is, for this country. So I have 3 bottles equalling 2.4 litres. The check-out lady at Tesco actually joked that she would tell my mother!

I’ve bought the sloe gin bottles (Amazon) and am now awaiting some final spices that are required in the recipes (juniper berries and mace blades). Will blog more on this subject as I progress.

Food Photography, Reviews

Dear little water (aka Vodka)