In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil on medium-high. When the oil is hot (add a piece of onion, if it sizzles, it’s ready) add the onion and stir to coat and spread evenly in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and stir often to caramelize. This will take approximately 15 minutes. The onions will slowly brown to a beautiful amber color.
Add the tomatoes to the pan and turn the heat up to medium. Stir often so the onion doesn’t scorch. When all of the tomatoes have burst and released their juices, add the garlic and stir. Cook for one minute and remove from the heat and cool for 5 minutes.
Add the 1 ½ oz of vodka, 1 cup unsweetened plant milk, ¼ cup rice vinegar, 1 tbsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp sugar, ¼ tsp white pepper, and the onion and tomato mixture to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
Wipe any remaining pieces of onion and tomato from the saucepan and pour the sauce into the pan. Bring it to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer. Salt to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes or longer if you want to cook off more of the alcohol. If you need to cook off all of the alcohol, simmer at the lowest temperature for 3 hours, stirring frequently to avoid scorching the sauce. You may need to add more milk if it becomes too thick.
If you’re making pasta for this sauce, cook the pasta for 2 minutes less than the package directions tell you to. Add a ½ cup of the starchy pasta water to the sauce and stir. Add the drained pasta to the sauce and toss to coat completely and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
Garnish with fresh basil, vegan parmesan, and cracked black pepper if desired.