Whether you're in need of an amazing hostess gift or shopping for the liquor connoisseur on your list, it's that time of year to indulge. Sure you could shell out for a bottle of Johnnie Walker Black and wow your hostess with your expensive taste. Or you could turn a bargain bottle of booze into an amazing, unique, flavor-filled present.
Infused vodka, bourbon, tequila, rum, gin, and anything else you can sip has become the rage at specialty cocktail bars where you can spend at least $15 per drink. But it's so easy and inexpensive to do it yourself, you'll never go back to boring old vodka again.
Whatever your favorite spirit happens to be, there's a great match for an infusion. Start now, and you'll have bottles filled to the brim with holiday cheer and a guaranteed invite to all the holiday parties next year.
Here's how you make your own infused alcohol for great holiday gifts.
1. Choose Your Booze
Whether you're giving to a vodka crowd or a dark liquor crowd, you need to know your audience. Your base alcohol can be whatever you like, and you can save money by buying a less expensive bottle since the purity of the liquor is going to be colored by the hint of flavor you're creating. But don't buy the worst possible option -- somewhere in the middle is a great idea. Once you become an expert and are past the experimentation phase, up your booze quality to really knock everyone's socks off.
2. Be Smart About Your Flavor
If you only have a few days to prep these gifts, go with something easy to infuse with a distinct flavor, like a citrus fruit. If you're working several weeks ahead of the game, you can get more creative and try your hands at infusing vodka with almonds, or a more subtle fruit like cantaloupe. If you have margarita fans on your hands, try jalapeno-infused tequila. Bloody Mary people? Infuse your vodka with basil for a serious kick.
3. Get Prepared
You only need a few tools to create a unique holiday gift. If your plan is to give an entire bottle of infused liquor to the lucky recipient, you'll only need your flavor, a knife (if scoring), and cheesecloth. If you want to divide up the 750 ml bottle into small Mason jar gifts (which I highly recommend), you need the above and about five Mason jars in the 1/2 pint size. Also, if you plan on making this a habit, create labels to identify your efforts to the giftee or buy some ready-made that you can personalize.
4. Start Infusing!
While every ingredient will differ, the general idea is to plop your flavor into the bottle of liquor and let it set for anywhere from three days to three weeks. Here's how you can infuse vodka with ginger:
750 ml bottle vodka
4 inch long piece of fresh ginger
Peel fresh ginger and cut into small pieces, approximately one inch long. Divide vodka and ginger pieces equally into five 1/2 pint Mason jars. Cover Mason jars with plastic wrap before putting metal lid and seal. Place sealed jars in freezer for five days to one week.
After one week, remove jars of vodka from freezer. Strain vodka through cheesecloth into large bowl to catch all of the ginger pieces. Rinse Mason jars to remove any leftover pieces of ginger, and transfer infused vodka back into jars. Slap a label on them and start the holiday giving!
Other fun infusion recipes from around the world wide web:
Have you ever infused liquor?