Clove: The Nice Spice

One thing I’m working on, along with infusions and too many other projects, is improving my “table-top studio” photography. I’ve been trying to start simple–glass full of liquid, arrange lighting, shoot, etc. The idea is to generally add layers of complexity. Drinks provide so many factors from garnish to the table to controlling the ice cubes to controlling reflections. It’s fun. It also validates having a drink at 10am if I need to do some “photography.”

The recent sugar post marked an important benchmark. Now we can increase the layers of complexity while also controlling sweetness.

Anyhow, clove! One of my favorite spices–some subtle heat, sweetness, complex. It creates a strong aromatic vodka that is lovely on its own and really shines as an enhancing agent in certain blends.

Photograph by Michael Paydos, 2010

A dash of clove-infused vodka can make an otherwise standard Cranberry & Vodka take on a whole new dimension


  • 3 cups vodka
  • 2 tbsp whole cloves


  • Combine ingredients in an air-tight jar and shake well.
  • Store in a cool, dark place for 5 days.
  • Pour through a coffee filter and store in a cool, dark place for an additional month for best results. Will keep for at least a year after that.

Tips: With many spice infusions, aging for at least a month helps to smooth out the flavors. It is certainly good right away, but be sure to save some for a month later just to see the difference.

Clove vodka is one of my favorites to just sip neat or do as shots (I don’t even care for shots, but usually can make an exception here):

Cloven but not Divided

Shake both ingredients with ice and strain into a cocktail glass or as 2 shots. Garnish with a lemon wedge or cherry.

Clove & Cardamom. Photo by Michael Paydos

The lemon enhances the photo more than the drink, but it does provide a nice contrast of flavors.

Other uses:

  • Vodka & Coke
  • Cranberry & Vodka (just replace a bit of the vodka)
  • With ginger ale or tonic

About Dazed & Infused

Failed science major turned to creative writing which led to a job as a bartender hack turned mixologist turned book editor turned writer who then went on to the world of International Corporate Communications. This is a bit getting back to his roots--that would be booze & science & rambling.
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