Spruce Needle Vodka

Spruce needle vodka is the perfect way to extend Christmas throughout the year by repurposing your tree while infusing voda. And it’s a unique and unparalleled last-minute gift for cocktail lovers. O tanenbaum!

Two martini glasses filled with spruce needle vodka with a spruce sprig floating in each glass.

This spruce needle vodka is essentially just vodka infused with Christmas tree. The piney potable draws rave reviews from folks who’ve tried it and will make you want to hum along to “O Tannenbaum” as you knock some back. Simply pour the piney potable into a chilled martini glass and float a fresh, tender tip of your Christmas tree branch atop or bottle it up and gift it to the person who has everything.–Connie Green and Sarah Scott

What's the difference between spruce, fir, and pine?

While we’re on the topic of tannenbaums, the type of tree you pluck a sprig from will make a profound difference in the final spirit. So as not to go overboard with a resinous smack, stick with spruce or Douglas fir, preferably one from a local tree, rather than pine. And ask whether the tree was sprayed–you want one that wasn’t. Oh, and just to state the obvious, opt for a vodka you wouldn’t mind sipping straight up.

Spruce Needle Vodka

  • Quick Glance
  • (5)
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Serves 25 | Makes 1 (750-ml) bottle
5/5 - 5 reviews
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Place the spruce or fir needles and 1/3 of the vodka in a blender. Blend at high speed for 2 minutes. Pour into a large, clean jar or bowl.

Pour the remaining vodka into the blender jar and swirl it around to gather any green residue on the sides and bottom. Pour this into the needle-infused vodka and stir to combine. Cover the jar or pour the vodka back into its original bottle and seal. Refrigerate for 1 week.

Strain the vodka mixture, discarding the solid pine mass. Strain the vodka again through a coffee filter or cheesecloth and then pour the vodka into a clean bottle. You can stash the emerald green elixir indefinitely in the freezer. (May be sorta nice to pull it out for a little Christmas in July, eh?) Originally published December 17, 2010.

Print RecipeBuy the The Wild Table cookbook

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Recipe Testers Reviews

Aside from the fact that this vodka is the easiest thing to make (it only took 10 minutes), the taste and smell are wonderful. I love vodka, and this spruce needle vodka was a huge hit at our house. I’ll make sure to always have this on hand.

This spruce needle vodka is wonderful—like the best of both vodka and gin! It’s easy and fun. I’m gifting bottles of this for Christmas!

We love infused spirits, so this spruce needle vodka recipe really intrigued me. I thought it would wind up either amazing or a total bust. Happily, it was really, really great. Aside from the fact that you may not be able to get fir needles yearround, it’s a super easy recipe. A week of steeping in the freezer with bits of our Christmas tree and the vodka was sharp, bracing, and redolent of the great outdoors.

I didn’t make a full batch because I was a little nervous about the outcome, but everyone who tried it was clamoring for more. It made a mean martini, and even mixed well with tonic and lime juice. I may make a few bottles before our tree is gone and keep them in the freezer to have all winter.


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  1. I have a question. I’m in the process of straining mine. I used Fir tree needles on the day we got our tree. I pulled off the needles (similar to pulling off rosemary needles), followed the recipe, and refrigerated the mixture. Now today, one week later, I’m straining…my mixture is an army/pond scum green, not an emerald green. I might pass it through a cheesecloth a few more times because it looks less than appetizing. What went wrong? Thanks!
    On the upswing, my kitchen smells like a fresh cut tree!

    1. Julia, it sounds like you did everything perfectly. I suspect it has more to do with the variety of tree than any error on your part. Spruce and fir tree needles can vary in color anywhere from a blue-ish green to a dark green, and this would impact the final color of your vodka. I think your suggestion to strain it a couple more times may help with the issue. And if you have coffee filter available, try using that instead of the cheesecloth.

      1. Thanks for the advice and the vote of confidence! I agree, I think it was the type of needles used. I was very discouraged when I saw the mixture, and yes, I ended up straining the mixture through coffee filters (multiple times!), but it never improved the color/appearance. My last straw came by when my 21 year old daughter came by, took one look at it, and said, “there is NO WAY I’m trying whatever THAT is!”🤣 So, long story short, it went down the drain after I tried a taste of it. I will try it again with the knowledge/suggestion of tasting the needles first. I refuse to give up!

        1. I’m sorry to hear that it didn’t improve in color, Julia, or that it didn’t go over well. I think if you can get a more blue colored spruce needle you might get that more emerald color. Do keep us posted!

  2. Wow! It sounds so tasty and refreshing! I’d really love to taste it asap! Maybe I’m going to try it this evening.
    Thanks a lot for the inspiration and, as usual, for the clear and well written article! ^_^
    Cheers xxx

  3. I did not totally follow this recipe, but made a tasty infusion – the problem was it turned brown. I started with blue spruce and it infused beautifully and had nice flavor. The next morning the color was starting to go so I took it off the needles and but it through my filter. By time I got home from work it was brown. Does the refrigeration help keep the color? I could see the infusion would take longer than at room temp.

  4. This looks amazing! Just when I was wondering if I could turn my plant geekiness into some sort of edible, holiday gift (extracts, maybe?), along comes this gem! I’m also curious as to which of the old growth or young growth would taste better.
    Personally, young-growth Doug Fir looks really pretty in the spring (it’s a metallic-y blue colour), so maybe that’s reason enough to try the younger stuff.

    Finally, something to do with all the Spruce trees in my neck of the woods! Har har har. Pun intended. Thanks, LC!

  5. I picked up some branches at a local tree farm (we have an artificial tree). Before I did the infusion I decided to taste the needles. I’m glad I did as one tasted very bitter, but a longer needle varietal had a milder, lovely flavor. It’s infusing now–can’t wait to taste it this time…with the vodka!

  6. Um, not to be stuffy or anything, but fir and spruce are different species. And they taste really different. Is this recipe better with new growth or does it matter? How about pine as opposed to fir or spruce?

    Any recommendations on martini recipes using this?

    1. As with one’s preference for vodka, one’s taste in Christmas trees is, we imagine, quite personal. I’m going to go out on a limb, ahem, and say that the author wasn’t trying to confuse matters by including several options but was good naturedly trying to offer as many varieties of tree as possible, given the variance in availability.

      As to the actual flavors, those of you who’ve tried this concoction, which types of trees did you use and how would you characterize the flavor? Based on aromas, we’d expect a Douglas to be quite resinous, almost sweet, and exceptionally aromatic. It’s the classic Christmas tree, so bear that in mind when contemplating Douglas versus spruce. A pine tends to impart a slightly but not quite as Pinesol-y taste one might expect.

      And as for for martin recommendations, we’re purists when it comes to martinis. Just the infused vodka and a wave of vermouth, if you must, suits our tastes just fine. We can, however see perhaps swapping a twist of lemon in place of the vermouth. Anyone else been experimenting?

  7. I know this was written with the holidays in mind, but is there a preferred time of year to collect the spruce or doug fir needles? I’m wondering if the results differ noticeably, say from spring, summer, fall or winter collections. I guess the best way to find out is to make this throughout the year!

  8. Hang on just a second. Does this mean that I can turn my Xmas tree into a cocktail? This is so inventive and enticing. And I happen to have some extra vodka just lying around. If Santa buys me “The Wild Table” he might just get one of those fantastic drinks. Are you listening, Santa?

      1. I just came across this and I’m super duper excited to try it!! But I’m just wondering…Why does it matter if it is specifically spruce or douglas fir? Is it purely the taste?

  9. Just wanted to comment on how delightful this sounds, and will possibly try it out. The fact that the recipe comes from the book “The Wild Table” impresses me all to pieces. A few years ago, I published a small magazine known as “Country Charm,” in which there was a section specifically for wild and foraged foods. Everyone seemed to enjoy it, and I myself tried to the dismay of my young family, quite of few of the wild edibles. One thing to never forget: always peel burdock root before cooking it, lol!! Sure it’s healthy, but if it doesn’t taste good, what’s the point?

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