Cocktails/ Recipe/ Spring/ Winter

Fennel Infused Salty Dog: The Fenhound

I realize your first thought about infusing fennel into a cocktail may be “ew”.

That’s fair. I don’t hold judgement. This is a safe space, my friend.

Fennel Infused Vodka - Greyhound Salty Dog Cocktail - She Eats

Which is why I know you won’t judge me either when I say this: Other things that have also been known to  inspire “ew” as a first impression but actually turn out to rock my boat include such phenomena as grilled cheese sammiches dunked in chocolate milk, eating pickles naked and the occasional Cadbury cream egg (don’t tell anyone).

Fennel isn’t for everyone. But dude. Fennel infused vodka, is. Except alcoholics. And Mormons. And maybe some vegans too. Because a lot of the vegans I’ve met don’t consume alcohol.

But if you aren’t an alcoholic or Mormon or a particular strain of vegan, you’re gonna dig this.

So let’s get back to what you’re gonna dig, err, drink: Fennel vodka.

Fennel Infused Vodka - Greyhound Salty Dog Cocktail - She Eats

I haven’t always enjoyed the peppery, anniseedy flavour of fennel. But over the years I’ve found with minimally processing – like roasting it or pan searing it – the sharp licorice taste dissipates and softens into something butterly delightful.

…Yes, I did just use the word butter as an adjective. We should really use butter more, in all situations. Don’t you think?

Fennel Infused Vodka - Greyhound Salty Dog Cocktail - She Eats

It’s amazing to me how our tastes change over the years. Butter not included; I’ll always love butter.

When I first started this blog 4 and a half years ago I barely knew how to put more than a can of tuna fish together with a box of KD. When I did actually attempt to properly cook a meal, I’d throw everything in the pantry into the pan, trying to make it taste good.

Now, as time has gone by, my skills have sharpened (much like my knives – always important), my palate refined, and I’m much lazier in my old age; I keep it simple.

An ingredient. The best cooking method I can think of to showcase it. And accent flavours to compliment the star of the dish.

Fennel is one of those ingredients.

Fennel Infused Vodka - Greyhound Salty Dog Cocktail - She Eats

And just as roasting or pan searing it enhances its vegetable-likability factor, so too does gently infusing it in vodka. Vodka is the perfect booze to mix with any infusion because it’s so subtle in flavour itself, it allows for the steeped flavour to shine. Or in this case, be guzzled right down the hatch.

I call this bevy the Fenhound. An evolution of the classic Greyhound (aka a Salty Dog). Because while vodka and grapefruit juice are great together as is, our drinks must adapt and change over time. Just like our tastes, cooking skills and liquor tolerance.

…Is that just me? Eek. Note to self: You can’t do belly-button shots like ya used to.

Fennel Infused Vodka - Greyhound Salty Dog Cocktail - She Eats

The Fenhound is a celebration of the bounty (albeit limited) you can find at the farmer’s market right now. Not quite Spring, not quite Winter; Not quite sunburn weather (though I did get a sunburn the other day = SPF 100 for me baby), not quite fit for scarves. It’s a happy, delicious, drinkable marriage of pining for longer days, yet at the same time sadness that comes from tucking the cozy woolies away for the year. An homage to our growing sensibilities and refinement, to the changing seasons.

…At least until we’ve guzzled the batch. And then, all bets are off. Where are belly buttons??

The Fenhound

Yield 4 drinks

Ingredients

For the infusion:

  • 2 C decent vodka
  • 2 Small fennel bulbs, fronds removed and chopped into quarters

For the drink (measured for one drink):

  • 1 shot of fennel infused vodka
  • Dash of grapefruit bitters
  • 1 C fresh squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 C organic cane sugar
  • 1 Tbsp fennel seeds
  • Optional: Tbsp of honey or simple syrup
  • To serve: Slice of grapefruit

Instructions

For the infusion:

  1. Put the fennel inside a clean, dry mason jar (or air-tight container). Top with vodka. Cover and place in a dark, cool place for 7 days and 7 nights. Each day, gently turn the jar to help the flavor infuse. After 7 days, remove the fennel from the infusion and strain the vodka. This will keep for a week in the fridge but I guzzled mine.

For the cocktail:

  1. Place the sugar and fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle. Bash together until the seeds are fragrant. Pour mixture onto a shallow plate.
  2. Use a wedge of grapefruit to wet the lip of a glass and then dunk said edge into the sugar/fennel to rim. Set aside.
  3. Pour the infused vodka, fresh squeezed juice, bitters and (if using) sweetener into a cocktail shaker (or mason jar), top with lots of ice, cover and shake until it seems silly.
  4. Pour (strain if desired) into prepared glasses. Garnish with a wedge of grapefruit.

Drink.

Notes

This cocktail does take a bit of planning and preparation as it infuses. Sadly this means you can't throw it together tonight when a case of the Mondays hits. But it also means you can throw a couple ingredients in a jar and look forward to NEXT Monday night. Or Tuesday night. Or any damn night you want because sometimes we just need a little boozy simplicity in our lives, right?

 

Do you drink your vegetables? What tastes of yours have changed over the years? Ever do an infusion? Tell me what I’m missing!

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  • Jeri
    March 16, 2015 at 6:43 PM

    Fennel is certainly on my dislike list, but I loved the apple whiskey sour recipe you put up a few months ago that I think I shall try this one too 🙂
    Jeri recently published…How to Balance Marketing Efforts with Creative Endeavors by Rick PipitoMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 22, 2015 at 10:26 AM

      Oh Jeri! The apple whiskey one was divine. This is good too – I think we should taste test just to make sure though 😉
      Kristy Gardner recently published…The Organic Food MythMy Profile

  • Tara
    March 16, 2015 at 6:58 PM

    Well now you’ve had me off on a 20 minute Google bender about infusing different liquids with different things. I’m not a fan of fennel but I’m thinking fig-infused bourbon? Now you’ve got me thinking! I always love your cocktail recipes. You know how to keep things boozily interesting.

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 22, 2015 at 10:27 AM

      hahahahahaha uh – oh Tara. However, Google IS pushing for more cocktail search usability so you probably made them very happy.
      Kristy Gardner recently published…The Organic Food MythMy Profile

  • Meaghan
    March 17, 2015 at 10:23 AM

    Ah belly button shots… that was a flash back I did NOT need this morning!! LOL This cocktail sounds amazing. I’m thinking it would be incredibly refreshing on a hot summer day. I am definitely going to need to try this.
    Meaghan recently published…Irish Soda BreadMy Profile

  • Lokness @ The Missing Lokness
    March 19, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    Beautiful drinks! What an interesting idea to use fennel in cocktail! Love the fennel seed sugar mix! Pinning!

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 22, 2015 at 10:28 AM

      Thank you so much Lokness! 🙂 I figure anything with fresh juice and booze = beautiful. It’s great to hear from you – happy Sunday!
      Kristy Gardner recently published…The Organic Food MythMy Profile

  • Thalia @ butter and brioche
    March 19, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    My initial reaction was more “yum” than “eew’ I am a massive fan of fennel and use it in everything – including bake AND drinks! This is a perfect cocktail for me to make and I have to try it.
    Thalia @ butter and brioche recently published…Blondie Cupcakes with Miso ButtercreamMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 22, 2015 at 10:28 AM

      And THAT – the yum rather than the ew – is why I adore you Thalia. I’d love to try fennel baked! What do you do with it???
      Kristy Gardner recently published…The Organic Food MythMy Profile

  • Erika Simon
    March 20, 2015 at 10:38 AM

    I just got a huge bunch of fennel in my organic fruit+veg box this week and I was pretty perplexed. The most I’ve used fennel before is in a fennel flavoured toothpaste (yeah… I was curious). This was inspiring! Can’t go wrong with vodka! Thanks!
    Erika Simon recently published…‘An Affair to Remember’ Cooking ClassMy Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 22, 2015 at 10:30 AM

      Um, fennel flavoured toothpaste? I’ll make you a deal Erika – you make the cocktail and I’ll brush my teeth with fennel 😉

      PS I’d love to hear more about your organic box ! I’ve been part of a CSA a number of times and always enjoy it and the, ahem, challenges, it brings!
      Kristy Gardner recently published…The Organic Food MythMy Profile

  • Aimee @ Simple Bites
    March 20, 2015 at 12:10 PM

    How gorgeous are these photos!!? This looks like my ideal Friday tipple. Cheers!
    Aimee @ Simple Bites recently published…A book tour of sorts: the (very long) recapMy Profile

  • Becky
    March 20, 2015 at 2:28 PM

    I’m not a fennel fan, but I have been known to do lavender infused gin, which is pretty fantastic.
    Becky recently published…Routine.My Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 22, 2015 at 10:31 AM

      Oh my Becky. Tell me more. I LOVE lavender and always am looking for new ways to incorporate it into things. Gin and lavender sounds like a win win to me!
      Kristy Gardner recently published…The Organic Food MythMy Profile

  • Kristen @ The Endless Meal
    March 22, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    I’ve got a bulb of fennel in my fridge and bowl full of grapefruits on my counter. I would be foolish to ignore the signs and not make this. 🙂

  • Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets
    March 24, 2015 at 4:46 PM

    So I’m not a big fennel girl, but I am a vodka girl so I’d be willing to give this a go. Beautiful pictures love.

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 29, 2015 at 9:42 AM

      Thank you lady. You know, fennel as fennel isn’t my favourite either. But it’s amazing how – transformed – it becomes when it’s in booze. And let’s be honest, everything is better in booze. Except coke and milk. Those two should never go together.
      Kristy Gardner recently published…Currently: The March 2015 (I Want to Eat All the Food) EditionMy Profile

  • Jayme
    March 25, 2015 at 11:09 AM

    I have used fennel this season more than any other season. I guess the flavor is growing on me. I made a fennel and blood orange salad, and tomorrow I’ll be making a fennel, green apple, and citrus salad. This vodka infusion will definitely happen, as well. As far as other infusions go? I loved a mixed berry-infused vodka. It took center stage and tasted great with just a splash or so of soda. I also did a chamomile and pear gin this past fall, which turned out to be delicious.

    So, you’ll have to tell me – what is KD? Should I already know about it? 😉 Also, I am a closet Cadbury egg eater. Just one per season does me in, but when I was little, I could down at least five of them in one sitting. Disgusting!!
    Jayme recently published…sea salt shortbread cookies with lemon curd | paired with Kracher Auslese 2011My Profile

    • Kristy Gardner
      March 29, 2015 at 9:45 AM

      Your infusions astound me Jayme! I love the tea one you did the other day and now that I just finished making a blackberry lime shrub, I’m going to take a card from you and keep the drink super simple. I like how rustic and elegant your drinks are.

      PS. KD is kraft dinner! You guys might call it Mac & Cheese…..? It’s a blue box with yellow and the eptiome of everything that isn’t good pasta. It’s also a cure-all for hangovers, just add canned tuna and ketchup.

      As far as cream eggs go…….. we won’t talk about this any further. I’m pretty sure I’m developing some kind of Cadbury egg monster in my belly. And my teeth are starting to rot out of my head.
      Kristy Gardner recently published…Currently: The March 2015 (I Want to Eat All the Food) EditionMy Profile