It is so easy to make infused vodka with sous vide cooking. Try this rhubarb and orange variation for a take on homemade Aperol! It takes just 2 hours instead of several weeks for a typical infusion.
I looove an Aperol spritz (don’t we all?). After having my first and picking up my own bottle of Aperol, I did some research to figure out well… what the hell Aperol is. It turns out the recipe is “secret” other than rhubarbs, oranges, and “various herbs and spices”, so I set out to make my own version.
This isn’t a perfect dupe for Aperol, but it’s close and I would argue… better. There’s less of a mysterious chemical taste, it’s not as sweet, and you can control the bitterness to your liking.
And even better… you can get this infusion done in just 2 hours with the magic of sous vide! I love making sous vide liquor infusions because you can get great flavor without waiting a week or two, as you would typically for an infusion.
How Do Sous Vide Infusions Work?
Sous vide is great for infusions because it allows you to heat a liquid without evaporating it since the liquid is in an enclosed container.
A traditional infusion calls for you to add your liquor (or oil, or what have you) to a container, your selected fruits, herbs, spices, etc. and let them sit together for a week or two for the flavors to slowly impart.
With sous vide, you do this same process but add the container to a temperature controlled water bath to speed things up, reducing the time to two hours. You can use a bag, but I typically use jars for my infusions.
What You Need to Make Homemade Aperol (Sous Vide Infused Vodka)
If you’re already setup to sous vide, you won’t need to add much to your collection! Outside of the ingredients, here is the equipment you’ll want:
- An immersion circulator. I recommend Vesta Precision‘s Imersa Elite.
- Jars. As large of a jar as you can put in your cooking container while keeping at least the liquid inside submerged.
- (Optional) A designated container to keep your stock pot free. I like Everie containers.
The ingredient list is pretty short:
- Vodka. Use something of decent quality for this. It doesn’t have to be the best vodka available, but you’ll want some that’s good enough to drink on its own.
- Oranges. Use a sweeter orange in this recipe (I used standard navel oranges). You’ll use the rind and the juice.
- Rhubarb. Frozen is fine!
- Water. Remember that you’ll be drinking this, so use whatever drinking water you normally would.
- Sugar. Just regular ol’ cane sugar, here!
- Orange Bitters. I like The Bitter Housewife!
How to Make Homemade Aperol
You aren’t even ready for how easy this is. Start by using a vegetable peeler or sharp pairing knife to remove the orange part of the rind from the oranges and try to get as little white rind as possible. The white part is bitter, and we’re just looking for bright, citrus flavor here.
Thoroughly wash the rhubarb and cut the stalks into large chunks.
Add the fruit to a large jar, then pour the vodka over the fruit into the jar. Add to preheated water bath and cook at 135 degrees F for 2 hours. Make sure the contents of the jar are completely submerged.
While the vodka mixture is cooking, make the simple syrup by combining orange juice, water, and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Cook until sugar is completely dissolved, stirring occasionally, over low heat. Let it cool to room temperature.
When the vodka mixture is done cooking, strain the vodka into the pot with the simple syrup and discard the fruit. Whisk to combine.
Taste the mixture, then add orange bitters a few dashes at a time, stirring and tasting in between, to your desired bitterness. When making cocktails, you’ll likely be cutting the mixture, so don’t be afraid to go bitter-heavy.
Pour the mixture into a large jar. There’s no need to store in the fridge but you can if you want!
To make a homemade aperol spritz, add ice and 2 oz of the vodka mixture to a large wine glass. Top with prosecco and enjoy!
Rhubarb and Orange Sous Vide Infused Vodka (Homemade Aperol)
- 3 oranges, sweet, like navel
- 2 stalks rhubarb
- 2 cups vodka
- 1 cup sugar
- Use a vegetable peeler to remove the rinds from the oranges, peeling off as little of the white rind as possible.
- Wash the rhubarb stalks thoroughly and chop into large chunks, discarding ends.
- Add the vodka, orange rind, and rhubarb to a quart sized jar. Place in water bath and cook for 2 hours.
- While the vodka mixture is cooking, make simple syrup. Juice the oranges into a large liquid measuring cup. After juicing, add water until total liquid is 2 cups. Combine liquid and sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved, about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool to room temperature.
- When vodka mixture is done, strain mixture into a large bowl and discard orange peels. Add simple syrup and whisk to combine.
- Taste the mixture. Add bitters a few dashes at a time, stir, and taste. Repeat until the mixture has reached your desired bitterness. Don't be afraid to lean to the bitter side!
- Store in a cool dark place or in your refrigerator.
- To make a homemade Aperol spritz, add 2 oz of the homemade aperol to a large wine glass. Add a large handful of ice. Top with prosecco and garnish with an orange slice.