How long can you leave fruit in vodka?

Infusing vodka with fruit is a delicious way to add flavor and try new cocktail recipes. But how long can you safely leave fruit soaking in vodka before it goes bad? Here’s a quick answer: 2-4 weeks is the recommended timeframe for fruit-infused vodkas. The vodka’s high alcohol content prevents most bacteria growth, but fruits will eventually break down. Keep reading for more details.

What happens when fruit is soaked in vodka?

When fresh fruit is submerged in vodka, the vodka extracts and absorbs the juices, flavors, sugars, and aromas from the fruit. This infusion process effectively flavors the neutral spirit with the tastes of the fruit. Fruits like berries, stone fruits, citrus, melons, and even some vegetables make excellent infusions.

During this infusion process, the fruit will also start to break down. Enzymes naturally present in the fruit begin to degrade the cell structures. The high alcohol content of the vodka helps limit microbial growth from bacteria and yeasts, but it does not fully prevent the fruit from spoiling eventually.

How long does fruit last in infused vodka?

Most experts recommend infusing vodka with fruit for 2-4 weeks. This timeframe allows the flavors to fully develop without letting the fruit decompose significantly.

Here is a breakdown of recommended infusion times for common fruits:

Fruit Recommended Infusion Time
Berries (raspberries, blackberries) 2-3 days
Stone fruits (peaches, plums) 1-2 weeks
Citrus fruits (lemons, oranges) 2-3 weeks
Melons (watermelon, honeydew) 1 week
Apples, pears 3-4 weeks

Berries and melons have more delicate flavors and textures, so they infuse quickly and also spoil faster. Denser fruits like citrus and apples can handle longer infusion times.

What are signs that fruit is going bad in vodka?

Here are some signs that the fruit has been soaking too long and is starting to spoil:

  • Fruit looks very shriveled, mushy, or starts falling apart
  • Liquid becomes visibly cloudy
  • Strong fermentation odors like yeast or rotting
  • Mold grows on the surface of the fruit

If you notice these warning signs, it’s best to remove the fruit immediately and filter the vodka through a cheesecloth or coffee filter to remove any remaining fruit particles.

Tips for infusing vodka with fruit

Here are some tips for getting the most flavor and the longest stable infusion time:

  • Wash fruit thoroughly before using
  • Cut larger fruit like peaches into slices to increase surface area
  • Use a ratio of around 1 cup fruit per 750mL bottle of vodka
  • Shake or stir the jar daily to distribute flavors
  • Add a bit of sugar or honey to counter tart fruit flavors
  • Sample regularly until desired flavor intensity is reached
  • Fine strain before drinking to remove fruit solids
  • Refrigerate after straining for longest shelf life

What are some common fruit vodka infusion recipes?

Almost any fruit can be used to make a flavored vodka, but here are some of the most popular infusion combinations:

Berry vodka

Blend berries like raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries for a mixed berry infusion. Berry vodkas are vibrantly colored and pack lots of flavor quickly.

Citrus vodka

Lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruit all make excellent citrusy infusions. Add some zest for extra orange or lemon oils.

Stone fruit vodka

Peaches, plums, nectarines, and apricots have lush summer flavors. Peel peaches and cut pits from stone fruits to infuse.

Apple pie vodka

Slice apples and add warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Sweeten with sugar or honey for an apple pie in a bottle taste.

Watermelon vodka

Cube fresh watermelon and infuse with a bit of sugar for a sweet melon liqueur. Double strain to remove pulp.

Jalapeño vodka

Add slices of jalapeño pepper for a spicy kick. Start with just one pepper and taste regularly until desired heat level is reached.

What kinds of cocktails can you make with infused vodka?

Fruit vodka opens up lots of possibilities for creative cocktails. Here are some cocktail recipes to try:

Berry Lemonade Vodka Spritzer

  • 2 oz berry vodka
  • 3 oz lemonade
  • 1 oz club soda
  • Lemon slice garnish

Pour vodka, lemonade, and club soda over ice in a tall glass. Garnish with a lemon slice.

Watermelon Vodka Fizz

  • 2 oz watermelon vodka
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 3 oz ginger beer
  • Fresh watermelon ball garnish

Shake vodka and lime juice with ice. Strain over fresh ice into a collins glass. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with watermelon ball.

Peach Punch Lemonade

  • 1.5 oz peach vodka
  • 3 oz lemonade
  • 1 oz peach nectar
  • Fresh peach slice garnish

Stir together vodka, lemonade and peach nectar over ice. Garnish with a fresh peach slice.

Spicy Bloody Maria

  • 1.5 oz jalapeño infused vodka
  • 4 oz tomato juice
  • .5 oz lime juice
  • Dash hot sauce
  • Pinch celery salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Jalapeño slice garnish

Shake vodka, tomato juice, lime juice, hot sauce, celery salt, and pepper with ice. Pour over fresh ice and garnish with a jalapeño slice.

Storing and shelf life of infused vodkas

Properly stored, fruit-infused vodka can last for several months. Here are some storage tips:

  • Store in an airtight container in a cool, dark place
  • Refrigeration can extend shelf life slightly
  • Make sure all fruit solids are strained out before storage
  • Higher alcohol content of around 40% ABV will last longer
  • Citrus and spice infusions last 2-3 months
  • Berry and soft fruit infusions last 1-2 months

Over time, the color and flavor intensity of the infused vodka may fade. Taste regularly and re-infuse with new fruits if the flavor becomes too weak.

If you see sediment or the vodka turns cloudy, the infusion has likely gone bad and should be discarded.


Infusing vodka with fresh fruit is an easy way to create delicious flavored spirits. While vodka’s alcohol provides some preservation, fruits should not be left soaking indefinitely. For best flavor and safety, fruit vodkas are best enjoyed within 2-4 weeks of infusion. With the right fruits and recipes, homemade infusions open up a whole new realm of cocktail creativity!

1 thought on “How long can you leave fruit in vodka?”

  1. Hello, I want to soak Cherries, Peaches, Pineapples. Can I soak them for 6 months and still have a great tasting fruity alcohol, I am trying new things. I would love to see what the alcohol would taste like after 6 months.


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