What’s even better than last-minute gift ideas? DIY ones, of course! I get together with my girlfriends every year around this time for our annual White Rabbit gift exchange, and every year there’s at least one gift everyone absolutely covets and usually one that everyone knows was purchased five minutes beforehand.
In my effort to make something special this year, I decided to dabble in a little bit of home mixology, with recipes for an infused vodka, a simple syrup, and a rimming sugar, all packaged up in delightful jars from The Container Store. The best part of these gifts is the minimal effort, big reward aspect — each of these creations took me less than ten minutes to finish and I think they came out beautifully. There are also endless combinations, but I did my best to make sure the three were relatively congruous so you could mix up one delicious cocktail without any extra ingredients.
1 375-mL bottle nice vodka
Simply use a peeler to carefully peel off spirals of grapefruit zest (avoid getting any of the white pith if you can, it’s pretty bitter). Pour the vodka into a nice flask or decanter and steep the grapefruit peels for three to four days in a cool, dark space. If you’re making this in small batches as I did, you can just leave the grapefruit peel in for appeal, but if you’re making a larger batch I would suggest removing the peel after those few days to avoid it starting to break down too much.
Honey-Rosemary Simple Syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup honey
2 teaspoons rosemary
The basic simple syrup recipe is a one:one ratio of water and sugar, but I adapted this one to use honey since I thought it would nicely complement the grapefruit vodka. Bring water to a simmer and add honey, stirring until evenly dissolved. Add rosemary and stir another few minutes, being careful not to burn. Strain mixture to remove rosemary leaves and let cool before bottling.
Salty, Spicy, Sweet Rimming Sugar (borrowed from Julip Made)
1/4 cup brown sugar, fine
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup salt
2 teaspoons Chipotle chile pepper
Mix together and package. And you’re done!
Hermetic Glass Flask
4-ounce Glass Cork-Top Bottle
Commercial Straight-Sided Jars