When it's 10 p.m. and the grass is still steaming, you need something tropical and clean to revive you, without the hard work of a frozen froufrou drink. A straightforward grown-up cocktail is in order.
Infused vodkas are simple, require a minimum of planning, and far outshine the shelves of flavored vodkas available. Two of the best and most versatile are ginger-infused and grapefruit-infused.
For the ginger infusion, peel and slice a 2- to 3-inch piece of fresh ginger into chunks and submerge it in a 750-milliter bottle of your favorite vodka. Place in the refrigerator and let sit 4-5 days, shaking occasionally.
To infuse the grapefruit flavor, carefully peel the rind from an entire grapefruit with a vegetable peeler (impress your friends and family by doing so in one continuous piece you'll have to point this out to them frequently), and proceed as above.
How to drink it? Ice-cold and neat that's the best way. Or you can get fancy:
Lime-Ginger Martini (serves one)
2 ounces of ginger vodka
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon of simple sugar syrup
Shake ingredients with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with a lime twist.
Grapefruit and Blood-Orange Cocktail (serves one)
2 ounces of grapefruit vodka
Scant « ounce of Cointreau or triple sec
Splash of blood-orange juice
Splash of sparkling water
Shake vodka, Cointreau and juice together with ice and strain into glass. Top with a splash of sparkling (carbonated) water. Garnish with an orange slice.