Can you believe it we are in the heat of the holiday season, the past year has gone so quickly for our family, as I’m sure it has for most of you. My kitchen is relaxing after an amazing Thanksgiving food bonanza and I am preparing for some major homemade gifting this year. Between family, friends, neighbors, teachers, bus drivers, the mailman and anyone else I may bump into between now and January I have a lot of gifting to do. My Mom and I have a traditional “marathon cookie baking weekend” each year and that covers many of the neighbors and random folks on the list. I feel baked goods fall under the gesture gift category, like the bottle of wine you bring to a dinner party or watermelon you bring to a BBQ.
So the big question I deal with is: what brings an edible gift to the next level?
What takes it from a nice gesture to an actual gift? What makes an edible gift something you can give and feel like you truly gave a gift??? I struggle with this question and I’m not really sure of the answer, which is why I tend to pair an edible gift with something tangible as well. Like a jar of jam with a cute little knife or spoon tied to it. This is my issue: you should feel completely comfortable giving a jar of jam alone as a gift– I would be totally stoked to receive that as a gift. I just really need to be loved and that little jam spreader will make you love me, I’m sure of it. HAHA the holiday madness has begun!
Okay now for the bigger gifts, like a close friend or relative that you want to give/make something really special. Last year we gave, what I consider one of the coolest gifts ever, to my parents a.k.a. the people who have everything. My parents love to entertain and enjoy a cocktail or two (apple doesn’t fall far from the tree). So I came up with the idea of a COCKTAIL PARTY IN A BOX or in this case a pretty ice party bucket. I wish I had taken a picture of this gift, but somehow I forgot so my description will have to do.
We started with the ice bucket/oblong tin pail and filled it with all your cocktail party essentials:
- fun cocktail napkins,
- some cute little drink glasses,
- glass marker charms,
- fun drink stirrers,
- bottle stoppers,
and then the DIY edible gifts:
If that isn’t a party I don’t know what is and they loved it!
The only recipe that hasn’t been on the blog yet is the Holiday Spice Infused Vodka so here you go-Last year was the first time I tried making alcohol infusions and I have to say I really enjoy it. They do make wonderful gifts all by themselves packaged in a pretty bottle, if you want to channel your inner Martha Stewart you can make up a pretty drink recipe card to tie to the bottle. My twisted brain seems to be okay with the gift of alcohol and no material thing attached- the alcohol will make you love me, no need for a spreader or spoon here!
I have tried different types of infusions and I enjoy the ones without added sugar the best, simply a taste preference. I know many recipes call for a cheap vodka when doing infusions and I completely agree if the recipe calls for any kind of added sugar, however I like to use a higher quality if it is a simple herbal or spice infusion. I do this because often times I intend the infusions to be drank on the rocks or with a simple splash of club soda, so the smoothness is important.
RECIPE: HOLIDAY SPICE INFUSED VODKA
Glass Jars (1 pint ball jars make a nice amount for gifting)
Vodka of your choice
1 Cinnamon stick per jar
½ Vanilla bean per jar
2 Cardamom pods per jar
*1 Star Anise (optional)
*Star Anise is licorice flavor that people have a love or hate feeling toward- feel free to leave it out the infusion will be just as delicious!
Put 1 cinnamon stick, ½ vanilla bean split, 2 cardamom pods and 1 star anise (if using) into clean jar. Fill jar with vodka place lid tightly on jar and give it a good shake. Let jar sit for 24 hours. After 24 hours the vodka will have darkened to a beautiful amber color and it will smell amazing (any black flecks in vodka are just vanilla beans). Remove the spices from the jar recover, tie a pretty bow and be on your gifting way.
This vodka is delicious on the rocks or with a splash of club soda for the non-sweet drinkers. If you like a little sweetness mix it with some ginger beer (my favorite way to drink it) or if you like very sweet put it in some apple cider (hot cider would be great too) or the ultimate combination of both ginger beer, apple cider and vodka for a Holiday Spiced Punch:
Serve any of these in a glass rimmed with cinnamon and sugar and have a HAPPY HOLIDAY SEASON!