Hostess Gift: Flavored Vodka

Vodka is an incredibly versatile spirit, and is popular any time of the year in cocktails. Flavored vodkas in the store are a bit pricier than standard vodka, so making your own is economical and easy. You can also customize flavors that aren’t available in stores. For the holidays, I like to make cranberry vodka and lemon vodka (also known as limoncello). It’s incredibly easy. You’ll need either a pound of fresh cranberries (slightly crushed) or the zest (rind) from about 12 fresh lemons. Pour your vodka into a large container (wide mouth gallon drink jars are perfect), and add either the lemon or cranberries. The longer you let the infused vodka sit, the stronger the flavor and color will be. I like to leave mine in the fridge for about six weeks. When it’s done to your liking, strain the fruit out by pouring it through cheesecloth, then decant it back into the original bottles. Replace the original label with one of your own.  To make a gift set, add etched glass coasters and/or cocktail glasses (put stickers on your glass, then cover it with Armour Etch creme by following the directions on the container; the area covered by the stickers will be clear and the uncovered area will be etched). You can also make your own cocktail drink recipe cards and drink/spirits trivia cards and drink charms, and package it all in an ice bucket. Makes a great holiday gift for those who appreciate a fine drink every now and again!