Friday, November 18, 2011

Holiday Gift Libations

There are endless possibilities for Christmas Gifts from the farmers market or from any organic source.  Layer in the herb tubes and you can elevate a simple gift to something special. This is what I think most people strive for in a gift: they want to thank someone with something special, but in absence of being able to make something, want to buy something.  You can do it, make something!!  As I look at the herbs on the kitchen table, I can think of so many ways to combine them with into other gift ideas, but today I am going to stick with holiday drink gifts.

For a simple thank you, how about a fancy bottle of organic apple cider with a tube of mulling spices~


Apple cider, $2, bottle from Sur La Table $4 (buy when there is a sale), mulling spices in tube $1.50.  You can also use a canning jar of any size, or recycle any jar you get from the grocery store such as for salsa or tomato sauce; as long as you sterilize it completely; the dishwasher can do this for you.  Top any commercial jars with a bit of fabric or burlap as we showed for the tomato sauce and you have an inexpensive yet thoughtful gift.  Use whatever ribbon or string is on hand; I always come back to Swiss Double Satin from Levine’s in downtown Los Angeles ($50 minimum for shipping!); I tied the herb tube on with a double knot them made my bow~


Rather than gifting a hostess a bottle of red wine, mull the wine first then recork and gift.  In France we call this Vin Chaud and I will dedicate a post to this next week; in brief, pour one bottle of wine in a saucepan, add 3/4 cup sugar, mulling spices and the zest of one orange or lemon to the mix.  Simmer briefly, then refill the bottle and cork.  I made this sweet little bottle bag from the Rose Bowl Vichy scraps and will be gifting these this year, on Etsy shortly if I can make enough!


Let’s move on to the more serious stuff….infused vodkas are a wonderful gift.  Last year these were snapped up by friends who rarely drink, but it was their “special” item.  They were telling me months later about how they slowly topped off the bottle after drinking some, sipping it as if it were a precious nectar; indeed, these infused vodkas won’t taste like vodka, they take the flavor of the fruit with the vodka as a medium.  HERE is a post on infused vodka gifts, in jars and bottles.  For Christmas last year I did a wonderful infused vodka bar for my spoilt family; anyone looking for a spectacular display for Holiday dinners, try this, set them up in the best decanters you can find or else any clear bottles will do; see post HERE. If at all possible, use organic or “spray-free” fruits and citrus.  This year, I have set up a few raspberry bottles; add raspberries to a sterilized bottle or jar and top off with vodka, I do not drink vodka but I recommend Tito’s brand vodka because it does not make my Mom “crazy” so she swears it is the best.  The vodka will pull the color and flavor from the berries eventually; gift it at about one week so that the berries still look red.  If you are lucky enough to have tons of fresh berries in summer, infuse them in summer, strain and rebottle with a few fresh berries or even cranberries when gifting~


and…the bomb….pomegranate.  This is only one week old, needs another week, but at this stage it smells wonderful and it’s fine for gifting.  It is leaving shortly with Kerry for Dallas~


Don’t make a mess preparing this gift; in a bowl of water, submerge each pomegranate, split it slightly they pull into halves, break out the seeds underwater; the berries will sink and the white membranes will float; this is not only delicious, it’s a labor of love! Try to clean off all white membrane pieces before bottling~


Add ribbons and bows and tags and a little greenery to the bottles and you are good to gift!!





  1. Andrea!
    I just love starting a day by loading up on Basketeer brilliance with a shot of caffeine!
    Happy weekend!

  2. Andrea, Your last 4 posts have been exceptional! LOVE the idea of giving flavored vodka, beautiful chocolate mousse and those flavor tubes for great libations like cider! Fabulous! I am so INSPIRED! Everything you do is touched with your creative spark! I'm ordering the tubes to fill for little Christmas bundles!
    Thanks for these spectacular post! I'll e-mail you very soon about the giveaway and other fun things!

  3. I love ideas for non-traditional gifts. Thanks for sharing these.

    Happy Thanksgiving,
    Katie from

  4. These are delightful and lovely suggestions. This year, I'll take the coward's way Dave would have said -smile-...and wrap a pretty bottle of Saint-Hilaire sparkling wine. "More than a century before champagne, the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Saint-Hilaire in the Southern foothills of Limoux had created France's Very First Sparkling Wine." At around $15 a bottle, it's a fine bargain!

  5. This would be a great Wine Gift for the wine lover who has everything. Thanks for the great post

  6. Oh yes please! :) All lovely.
    Ikea has the same bottles for around $1.
    I also love the lemonade from Fresh and Easy and Trader Joes and they come in such bottles that I save.

    I shall be away from the computer for several days preparing for the holidays. It looks as though you are ahead of the game. Well done!

  7. Great suggestions. It is the thought and "little touches" that go into the presentation and giving of a present that make it special. Size are price are irrelevant.

  8. Laura, thank you for the Ikea tip....I still have a bunch of bottles to make up so heading there shortly....

  9. Great blog with true stories of experience and nice write up