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Over at Baking Bites, Nicole shared a recipe for a homemade Orange, Vanilla and Clove Vodka that she made as a base for holiday cocktails. We don’t use vodka all that often in drinks around here, but vodka is a great base when you want to make an infused spirit because it is essentially a blank canvas waiting to be painted with other flavors. This particular vodka is bursting with citrus and clove flavors – and those are two flavors that are amazing in both holiday cocktails and in tiki drinks.
The Spirited Mariner gets its name from the fact that the cocktail uses multiple spirits and tastes like a liquid version of the “holiday spirit” – assuming that the spirit stopped off at a tiki bar while spreading good cheer. The cocktail showcases that flavorful vodka infusion, pairing it with dark rum, lime and even more orange for a cocktail that has a great citrus flavor and an intense spiciness. We used Skipper Rum as the dark rum here, since the molasses and brown sugar notes that it has work very well with the heady clove spice in the vodka, giving the drink a rich, complex flavor reminiscent of a good spice cake. Other dark rums can be used, as well, though we recommend choosing something full bodied to stand up to that spicy vodka. The cocktail is one that you could easily enjoy any time, but it really is perfect for sipping by a Christmas tree on a winter evening. It may be a cold drink, but it is strong enough to warm you up quickly and easily.
The vodka makes an outstanding gift, as well as being a great ingredient to add to your own bar, and it only takes a couple of days to make. Buy some inexpensive vodka and make up a few batches if you need an idea for holiday gift giving. You can even scribble this recipe onto a hang tag and tie it on to the bottle (or jar) that you’re packaging your spirits in so that the gift recipient knows exactly how to use it. If you’re planning to drink it yourself, check out the Pomander Drop at Baking Bites, too, for another tasty holiday cocktail.
1 1/2 oz Orange, Vanilla and Clove Vodka
1 oz dark rum, such as Skipper Rum
1 oz lime juice
1/2 oz Cointreau or triple sec
3/4 oz simple syrup
2 dashes orange bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, fill with ice and shake vigorously until well-chilled. Strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice.
Garnish with an orange twist.