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Homemade liqueur is a great gift for the holidays. This year I plan to give “cocktails for eight” – a recipe and the ingredients for grown-up concoctions. (I started with cocktails for two, but figured I’d let the receiver do the math and figure out how many pours they’d like.)

Homemade liqueur can last up to six months, either stored at room temperature or refrigerated. I can’t personally attest to the amount of time…it never lasts that long in my house. Use it as a cocktail ingredient, or sip it as it. I’m thinking it would be great with some sweet tea…Gives new meaning to sugar honey iced tea.

Buy good vodka. I don’t mean the Stoli, Grey Goose or Belvedere variety. Smirnoff is fine. Stay away from the really cheap stuff. What comes out is what goes in. Mix cheap-grain-vodka-that-gives-you-a-headache brand with anything and you’ll still get a headache. I bought a bunch of bottles of Sobieski vodka. It was on sale for wicked cheap and it’s rating was 90; turned out great.

A plus to making your own: If you make a batch every two weeks or so you won’t need to invest in the as-seen-on-TV-arm-shaker; just shake containers vigorously each day until you open it up, but be sure to make a new batch first to keep the exercise routine consistent.

See Clemencello, Limoncello and Cranberry Liqueur.

Honey Ginger Liqueur

honey ginger liqueurWhat you need:

  • 2/3 c honey
  • 2/3 c water
  • 2 tbs crystalized ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 c vodka

What you do:

  • In med saucepan heat honey, water, ginger and cinnamon over med heat.
  • Stir until syrup is formed and continue cooking 5 min.
  • Remove from heat and cool.
  • Once the syrup has cooled, strain liquid through fine-mesh sieve.
  •  Pour vodka into sealable glass container.
  • Add honey mixture.
  • Shake vigorously.
  • Store at room temp or in frig; let steep for at least a day to maximize flavor.
  • Shake daily.
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