It’s the most wonderful time of the year! [da dum da dum] Obviously sung in the voice of Frank Sinatra.
For most people, myself included, the holidays are what you look forward to all year round. Possibly more than vacation. It’s that feeling that the entire world is celebrating, and if that doesn’t make you gush inside just a little you might have a colder, deader heart than me. And mine’s pretty cold and dead. Thank you, New York.
For other people, the holidays produce nothing but stress. The Fiancé falls squarely into that category. If there is a human who can find something stressful in any situation, I can guarantee you he’ll find it. If stressing and worrying were an Olympic sport, he’d be the champion three times over. It’s perplexing and amusing all at the same time.
I mean I get it, a little. It can be stressful to find just the right gift that fits your budget but still passes along all those heartfelt emotions of, “Ohmigod I wouldn’t have survived without you this year.”
But fear not! I got you covered chiltlins. Homemade, infused vodka.
Here’s why it’s awesome:
- At most you need three or four ingredients, including the vodka.
- It is completely hands off once the ingredients are in the bottle (for most vodkas).
- Nothing says classy adult like a shmancy bottle of vodka with a little cocktail recipe attached.
- It totally won’t break the bank.
Even if you splurge on fancy bottles (I didn’t, I just saved glass swing top bottles from lemonade I buy in the summer for fancy parties) you can easily put these gifts together for under $15. Thankyouandgoodnight.
The two pictured here are cinnamon pear and cranberry lime, both requests from my father. We discovered however, that after sitting for awhile, the cinnamon flavor nearly overpowered the pear. So I’ve adjusted the instructions accordingly.
Gift on friends! And don’t let the holidays stress you out too much. Or if they do, just sneak a sip of your gift before bottling. Promise I won’t tell.
- 2 cups vodka (I use Titos)
- 4 - 5 Seckle pears (small sweet pears) or 1 - 2 regular pears, ripened
- 1 stick of cinnamon
- 2 cups vodka
- 1½ cups fresh cranberries
- 2 tbsp water
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 lime
- Wash and slice your pears into ½ inch wedges and place in a large, clean mason jar
- Break the cinnamon stick in half and place in mason jar.
- Cover with vodka and seal tightly.
- Let sit in a cool dark place at room temperature for a week.
- After a week remove cinnamon stick and continue to infuse the pears for 1 - 2 weeks. Taste periodically until you have achieved the flavor you desire.
- Decant and strain the vodka from the pears. Transfer to a clean glass jar with a tight lid. Store at room temperature or in the freezer.
- Rinse and sort through the cranberries, removing any that have gone bad.
- Place cranberries, water, and sugar in a small heavy-bottomed sauce pan and cook over medium heat until sugar has dissolved, berries have begun to burst, and the mixture has thickened slightly, 5-8 minutes.
- Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, wash limes and slice off three strips of peel.
- Remove white pith from peel and place peels in a large glass mason jar.
- Carefully pour in cooled cranberry mixture.
- Cover with vodka and give a quick stir. Let sit in a cool dark place for 3 - 4 weeks. Taste periodically and strain when you've reached your desired flavor.