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What's Up Magazine

Shake and Stir Your Way to the Perfect Holiday Gift

Dec 05, 2013 12:35PM ● By Cate Reynolds

There’s one in every family: the dreaded person who doles out homemade Christmas gifts each year. You’ve probably moaned and groaned a few times while accepting these made-from-scratch treasures (“Oh great, another pair of knitted socks!”). But handcrafted gifts don’t have to make you feel so blasé. Shatter the tired stereotype this year by stirring up some homemade gifts that are sure to delight: holiday cocktails.


There are some liquors that are meant to be drunk neat, without any panache. Others are just yearning for some extra vibrancy. Case in point, vodka. Cranberry lime vodka is a perfect homemade holiday gift for the cocktail lover. It is simple to make and goes well with lemon-lime sodas or tonic water. The preparation is simple. Grab a mason jar, a lime, some sugar, and a bag of cranberries. Poke a hole in each of the cranberries with a pin or tip of a knife and place them in the mason jar. Slice off the rind of the lime and toss that in the jar with the cranberries. Add in 1/4 cup of sugar; then fill the jar to the rim with vodka. Cover the jar, give it a good shake, and then store it somewhere. Every couple of days, shake the jar. Two weeks of steeping time and this delectable cranberry lime vodka concoction is ready for consumption.


Another fun holiday cocktail is homemade limoncello, and this one here is a crowdpleaser. Simply grab 10 lemons and use a vegetable peeler to remove the skins in long strips. Place the peels in a large pitcher, then pour a bottle of vodka over the peels. Steep the lemon peels in the vodka for four days before combining 3 1/2 cups of water and 2 1/2 cups of sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Pour the sugar mixture into the lemon mixture and stir. Let it sit overnight, strain out the junk, and then bottle it up.


If you don’t have the urge, or the time, to create homemade libations, you can always purchase something for the cocktail lover. Consider whiskey stones for the person who prefers their drinks on the rocks or a carbonation machine for anyone who likes to throw cocktail parties.