Reach for the bottom shelf
Vodka is versatile. It’s one of the most popular liquors. But occasionally, you might have some leftover low-quality vodka from a party, or maybe you received a bottle as gift for the holidays. Rather than suffer through vodka that you dislike or pour it down the drain, put it to good use around your house.
Other than drinking, how have you used it?
Here are a few ideas.
You’ll need 20 ounces distilled water, 1-1/2 ounces 100-proof vodka and 1 teaspoon lavender essential oil. Find a large container with a lid. Mix the vodka and water, then add your essential oil. Shake thoroughly. Place into a mister or spray bottle. You can substitute other scents, too. Use this on your sheets and towels in the linen closet or on your pillow, sheets, comforter, clothing (it can help with smoke odors), sneakers (heck, even your feet), upholstered furniture or carpeting.
ADD SOME SHINE:
Pour some vodka onto a cloth and shine chrome, windows/windshields, eyeglasses, mirrors, tile and tub.
Apply vodka to grass, paint, ink, tree sap or lipstick stains. Launder as usual.
You’ll need: 2 cups vodka (you can use rum, too), six vanilla beans cut into 1-inch pieces and a jar with a tight lid. Combine vodka and vanilla beans in jar. Cover the jar, and let stand for at least six weeks in a cool dark place. Shake mixture several times a week. After half the vanilla extract is used, add more vodka to cover the beans. The flavor in the beans is gone when the vodka no longer turns a dark amber color. You can find vanilla beans cheap on eBay.
GEL ICE PACK:
This is great for small bumps or bruises. You’ll need 2 cups water, 1/3 cup vodka (80 proof), food coloring (optional) and two zip-enclosure freezer bags. Pour water and vodka into the bag, and add food coloring. Seal and encase it in a second freezer bag. Place in the freezer. Wrap with a cloth before applying to skin. It’s more gentle and pliable than a hard ice pack.
Avoid chemical herbicides. Opt for a more natural approach. Pour vodka into a spray bottle and douse dandelions on a sunny day. Add a little dish liquid for more stubborn weeds.
Some essential oils such as clove, citronella, eucalyptus, peppermint, lavender, cedar and lemon grass repel bugs naturally. In a spray bottle, combine essential oils with vodka. Use 2-1/2 teaspoons of essential oils per cup of vodka. Apply carrier oil (jojoba or almond oil) to skin before spraying.
“Cook’s Illustrated” shared vodka as the secret ingredient for a foolproof pie dough back in 2007. The recipe can be found at www.food.com/recipe/foolproof-pie-dough-with-vodka-256764. The vodka provides the liquid that the dough needs, but it’s colorless, odorless and much of it evaporates when baked, and it leaves a flaky crust.
Apply vodka to stuck-on stickers, price tags or labels to loosen the adhesive and remove the sticker.