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I'm interested in infusing pepper flavor into vodka like in Naga Chili Vodka.

Are there any peppers I should specifically avoid and how should I infuse the flavor/spiciness? In addition, other than varying the types of peppers and number of peppers how can I control the spiciness? Is a higher proof of vodka recommended, and does the quality of the vodka matter in this case?

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The controlling spiciness part of your question is essentially covered by this question: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/15932/… –  Jefromi Mar 30 '12 at 3:43
    
Not entirely covered, but partially. I'm also curious if certain methods of infusion cause a higher spice, etc., though the measurements of capsaicin could provide at least a theoretical maximum concentration. –  jandjorgensen Mar 30 '12 at 5:56
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1 Answer

up vote 6 down vote accepted

From my limited (but successful) experience, here are some answers to your subjective questions:

  • Choose peppers whose flavor you do want
  • Avoid peppers whose flavor you do not like (I'd never infuse green bell pepper, blech!)
  • Choose a vodka you'd want to drink (if you like cheap vodka, use it, if you like expensive vodka, use that)

As far as the mechanics of making the infused vodka:

  • Chop the peppers up coarsely, drop into a glass jar with the vodka, taste every 12 hours until you get the flavor/heat you want, then strain the vodka.
  • The longer you infuse, the stronger/spicier the result.
  • If you're going more for flavor (less for heat) remove the seeds and pith
  • The proof of the vodka (80-100) will have little difference in the end result as far as the infused flavor goes. Everclear (190+ proof) will probably extract flavors faster, but do you want to drink it????

If, on the other hand, you are really just wanting to get the spiciest drink available, then don't bother infusing vodka, just google how to get/make capsaicin concentrate and use that directly. Then add directly to the drink of your choice.

I've not tried dried chilies, but I imagine a Chipotle infused vodka would make an awesome Bloody Mary.

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+1, spot on. Some additional suggestions: leave your infusion in a cool, dark place. You'll get better depth of flavor with a combination of peppers rather than a single type. –  yossarian Apr 4 '12 at 18:16
    
Thank you. This is pretty much exactly what I was looking for. –  jandjorgensen Apr 4 '12 at 19:16
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Going along with the variety of peppers, throwing a few black peppercorns in will also add great depth of flavor to it. –  Christopher Cashell Apr 4 '12 at 20:34
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