Vodtennial Hopka

Several years ago I realized that if you steep chili peppers in vodka for a period of time, the vodka can take on the flavor (and heat) from the peppers you used.  As I was cleaning up a bit last week, I realized I had quite a bit of centennial hops (whole hops, not pellets) and a half empty bottle of vodka.  So, I decided to see if I could steep the hops to end up with a centennial flavored vodka.   I measured out about 500 ml of vodka and a 3/4 ounce of hops into one jar, and 700 ml and a 1/2 ounce of centennial hops into another jar.  I let these steep for 2 days and decided to give the first batch a taste.   The aroma was BIG with the grapefruit associated with centennial with a touch of alcohol.   The taste was slightly hoppy – only in flavor, not at all bitter, and fairly vegetal – probably due to the high ratio of hops to liquor.   Although it was vegetal, it wasn’t unpleasant.   I happened to have a lime handy so I gave a squeeze of lime to the taster, and it was actually quite nice.   The citrus of the hops went really well with the lime and seemed to tame the grassy flavor a bit.   I think I will try this again with a lower hop to liquor ratio (I assume it will take a longer period of time in that case) to see if that eases the grassy flavor a touch but maintains the hops flavor and aroma.  I think I have a couple other varieties in mind I’d like to try this with in addition to another attempt with centennial.

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