Tis the season, all of a sudden, for refreshing poolside/rooftop/backyard cocktails. And, lest it be said that I never did anything for you, here’s another quick and easy infusion that will set your bar–wherever it may be–head and shoulders above everyone else’s.
Like the Earl Grey vodka I put up for our Royal Wedding “tea” party, this is another simple put-stuff-in-vodka-and-let-it-sit-around kind of thing. While I have some other more complex liquors in the works (strawberry-black pepper rum, anyone?), this fairly basic lemongrass infusion is worth mentioning since the herb has such a lovely flavor–sharp, citrusy, and herbaceous–that isn’t familar to people as it should be.
I suspect this is in large part due to the “grass” part of lemongrass. It’s only good fresh (dried is UTTERLY useless), and even then, it’s tough and fibrous and just kind of a pain in the ass.
Vodka, then, is the perfect gateway application as we get all of the taste with none of the narsty crunchy bits found in the headily-scented Southeast Asian soups and such where lemongrass is usually deployed.
In a nod to those cultural antecedents, I used turbinado instead of regular sugar to smooth out the mouthfeel and add the toasty caramel note often found in Vietnamese cooking particularly. A tiny piece of ginger adds dimension to the already powerful lemongrassy zing.
This is just lovely on the rocks with ginger ale–now’s the time to reach for the Canada Dry, fancy ginger beers would just walk all over the lemongrass–or a lightly-flavored seltzer, maybe with a dash more syrup and a mint sprig. Any way you slice it, it’s a brightly envigorating.