Beverages, Recipes

A Perfect Holiday Gift to Give (or Keep for Yourself)

Well, there’s not much left to can this time of year. Or I guess the bigger problem is I’m running out of room for everything! There’s only so much a Brooklyn apartment can store (and a Brooklyn couple can eat!). But I can’t completely give up preserving! Instead, I’ve moved from jars to bottles…

We’re trying to budget this year, so for the holidays, handmade gifts are a definite. I’ve already rationed the canned goods I’m willing to part with, but when I started thinking bottles rather than jars, I figured, who wouldn’t want a little extra booze for their bar? Especially some homemade stuff. No, I’m not talking about moonshine. I stumbled across a Cranberry Lime Vodka recipe on Fancy Napkin. It looked so pretty (and tasty), how could I resist? Honestly, the hardest part of the entire recipe was finding the bottles. The local restaurant store (where I sometimes pick up canning jars if I’m in a jam) wanted to charge me $8 each! I knew they would be a little expensive, but really? Instead I ended up getting them at Crate & Barrel for $5. I probably could have found them a little cheaper if I looked harder (or bought in bulk) but at the time my options were slim.

Fancy Napkin advise to prick the cranberries with a pin or needle prior to dumping them into the jar. I wanted to make sure I was getting a good cranberry punch, so instead used a paring knife and turned the knife slightly while pricking, to make sure I had a deeper cut. I also wanted to make sure I could squeeze as much vodka into the bottles as I could so filled the bottle about 3/4 with cranberries rather than all the way up.

After the initial preparation of the vodka, you need to shake the bottle every few days for about a month so the flavor mixes well. Cranberries are thirsty little things and after the first two days I found my bottles where a good 2oz low, so I added some more. You might have to do this periodically, especially during the first week or so.

After about a month, the vodka’s good to drink! Feel free to keep the cranberries in the bottle, just use a pouring spout so they don’t fall into your drink. Or use the cranberries as a garnish! Still waiting for mine to infuse but I’ve been dreaming of Cosmopolitans and Crantinis ever since!

Cranberry Lime Vodka (Adapted from Fancy Napkin) Makes 2 Bottles

  • About 3c fresh cranberries
  • 4 small limes (or 2 large)
  • 4 tbsp sugar, divided
  • 1.5l vodka (cheaper the better; you won’t taste it!)
  • 2 750ml sealable glass bottles

Using a sharp knife pierce each cranberry and twist knife slightly to create a wider opening. It’s a little laborious, so have a mindless movie or some good music on in he background. Drop pierced cranberries into your bottles until about a quarter of the way full.

Peel the rind off your limes with a paring knife or peeler. Divide lime rinds between two bottles. With the rest of the lime, get some cranberry juice and make yourself a Cosmopolitan!

Continue filling bottles with cranberries until bottles are a little less than 3/4 full. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar to each bottle then CAREFULLY add vodka (a funnel would have really helped for this…).

Seal the bottles and give each a few good shakes to mix. Be sure to give the bottles a shake every few days to make sure the sugar mixes through (and add some extra vodka if necessary). Let the vodka infuse for at least a month; the longer it sits, the stronger and sweeter the flavor will get!

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15 thoughts on “A Perfect Holiday Gift to Give (or Keep for Yourself)”

  1. This sounds amazing! Another place to check for bottles (not sure how cost effective, though) would be a beer/wine/homebrew supply place. The one closest to us doesn’t carry canning supplies, but they definitely have bottles similar to the one you’ve pictured.

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks for the tip! I checked our homebrew shop’s website but they only sold by the case. I wasn’t sure I needed THAT much vodka. But maybe at the store they sell them individually. Need to check it out!

    2. Wait…. wait. Why WOULDN’T you need that much vodka? 😀

      Or maybe buy together with some like-minded friends? I’ve got a good group that does things like that sometimes. Like a miniature Groupon!

    3. You may not need that much vodka, but as you mention, they make great gifts. With a big family, it may make sense to buy in bulk.

  2. I agree with the previous comment, my local Homebrew store sells bottles for a great price (but they don’t make me buy a case!) Specialty Bottle and the Glass Warehouse (both online) are good sources for bottles, though I prefer to buy at my the Homebrew store as there is no shipping cost.

    This looks so pretty! I made cranberry-orange vodka last year and it was delicious.

    1. Oooh, Cranberry Orange. I need to try that. At this point maybe a case of 12 bottles is in order. I also put up 2 bottles of a cool citrus one…recipe coming soon, post Foodie Penpal reveal on Friday. Plus I’d like to make vanilla vodka and try vanilla extract.

  3. MMMMMMM! Sounds delish!!!!

    Love, love, love cranberries! BTW, I adored your spiced cranberries (boozy cranberries?) from Thanksgiving. They were great on their own, but with turkey leftovers, topping a sandwich, super yummy.

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