By: Rachel O'Reilly
It’s easy to get swept up into the buzz of holiday consumerism: The pretty stores! The sparkling presentations of things (that you don’t really need)! The festive music! The food, drinks and merriment! It’s enough to put you in a haze of autopilot consumption. But ultimately, does that really satisfy you or the receiver of the gift? Some of the best and most treasured gifts I’ve received have been homemade creations. So, rather than getting swept into buy-buy-buy overdrive, try some of these more meaningful gift ideas you can easily at make at home:
1. Festive Cocktail Kits - Who doesn’t love a ready made craft cocktail? One of my favorite gifts ever was when one of my dearest friends left a surprise at my door after a long day of work… I opened a cute bag to find delicious cocktail fixins inside. “Hallelujah!” was all I could feel. These cocktail kits will make everyone light up! You can dress these up, or keep it simple. The first step is to find bottles you like that are 12 ounces or more (preferably, glass like mason jars or these bottles).
You can arrange your infused alcohol with accompaniments in a simple bag with a bow, or get a little more fancy by putting your goods in a basket and maybe even add cocktail glasses, cider mugs, or a shaker. Just be sure to include a festive recipe card, too. There are many combinations to play with, but here are a few of our faves:
Easy - Bourbon spiced cider: Add a couple of cinnamon sticks, and orange peel if you want to get real fancy to the bourbon. Let it infuse for at least 2 days before gift-giving. Include a tasty bottle of apple or pear cider to go along with it… And voila!
Recipe: Combine 1 ½ ounces of infused bourbon to apple/ pear cider. Can be shaken with ice and served cold, or warm by heating cider first.
Simple - Asian pear & ginger vodka martini: Simply peel and chop an asian pear and peel and slice a stalk of ginger into ¼ inch thick slices. To the vodka, add ½- 1 pear and 2-4 slices of ginger, depending on the size of your bottle. Accompany the vodka with 1 lime, a small bottle of ginger liqueur, and a small bottle of sour mix. You can buy large bottles of the liqueur and sour mix and divvy up into small bottles or mason jars, too.
Recipe: Combine 1 ½ ounces of infused vodka, ½ ounce of ginger liqueur, ½ ounce of sour mix, and ½ juiced lime, into shaker over ice. Shake, shake… Do a little dance and strain into a martini glass.
Next level (but still simple) - Rosemary & lavender gin gimlet: To your gin, add 2-4 sprigs of rosemary. Next, make the lavender simple syrup by simply pouring equal parts water and sugar into a saucepan along with 4-10 lavender blossoms, depending on how much you’re making, and bring to a simmering boil over medium heat. Keep stirring until all sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow it to steep for 30 mins, then remove lavender blossoms (it’s ok if a few particles remain), and let it cool before adding it to your small bottle or mason jar. Put the rosemary infused gin, lavender simple syrup, 1 lemon, and a small bottle of club soda together to gift - Herbaceous heaven!