This is a running joke between David and I – we are always gifting/receiving alcohol for Christmas. It’s kind of the perfect gift, because we tend to like gifts the gift-ee can consume, and if you know the person’s taste, it’s pretty easy to get something you know they’ll be excited about. HowEVER, I worry it looks like we’re obsessed with alcohol. We aren’t. Just unimaginative.
This gift guide isn’t going to help with that perception. Did you know you can make just about any kind of drink you can imagine? You can make your own gin! You can make your own bitters! You can make cherries that will knock the socks off the little red dye no. 40 cherries at the grocery store, and I know for a fact that homemade Bailey’s is 100% tastier than the store bought stuff. The best part about all of these is that they’re super impressive, and don’t take that much effort, just a little time. So no excuses.
Brown – You can infuse your own bourbon, which sounds so tasty. There’s this mint flavored bourbon, which is genius for your friends who are obsessed with juleps, or cherry infused, coffee flavored, or if you’re really bold, bacon infused. I have had bacon bourbon before, and it’s good – I don’t know if I’d be brave enough to try it myself, though. If you do, please let me know how it turned out! You could also make homemade Fireball whiskey, if you are okay with admitting you like Fireball. I’ve tried it. I liked it. They took my snob card away.
Clear – DIY gin! DIY gin! I SO want to try this. You could also infuse your own vodka, if you’re into that. I’m not a huge vodka person, but I think it’d be cool to make some more unusual flavors, like black pepper, or cilantro. Those would be good in bloody marys.
Liqueurs – What a strange word to spell. Anyway, this is where some real fun is to be had. Make your own peppermint schnapps, Kahlua, or Bailey’s Irish Cream, or limoncello – all of these I think taste better than store bought. If you’ve never heard of krupnik, it is an excellent gift/drink to try. It’s very good served warm, and super spicy and sweet – my aunt was into making it 6 or 7 years ago, and I remember liking it, but thinking the alcohol taste was too strong. Luckily my taste has matured since then.
Syrups & Mixers – You can make just about anything into a syrup – my favorites are strawberry syrup, ginger syrup, and a raspberry/lemon one I came up with – take a box of raspberries and the peels from 2 lemons, and simmer in 4 cups of water until the raspberries have lost their color. Filter through a fine mesh seive. Stir in 2 cups of sugar, and add more to taste, stirring until it’s dissolved. Be careful when stirring the fruit – you don’t want to disturb it too much, or else the final syrup will be cloudy.
This homemade tonic syrup recipe is intriguing too – way cooler than using canned tonic! It would also be cool to make bloody mary mix – just leave out the booze. I’d use the bloody rooster recipe, since everyone loves sriracha.
Garnishes and bitters – How cool is this candied grapefruit zest recipe? I can see substituting lemon, or lime too – any of those would taste awesome as a drink garnish. I also love this brandied cherry recipe. I am a huge fan of cherries in drinks. It’s like a little snack to make you feel better that your drink is gone. I think making your own bitters sounds exciting and fun, especially since flavored bitters are kind of expensive to just buy on a whim. Jessica from How Sweet Eats has a good recipe for some fun flavors, and if that’s not your thing, here’s a recipe for regular bitters.
I think that’s it for homemade alcohol ideas! If you have any good ones (I’m thinking like secret family recipes, holiday traditions, etc etc) please leave them in the comments – I love that stuff.