Monday, December 13, 2010

Make It Monday: Vanilla Liqueur

Welcome back to "Make It Monday," a source for homemade gift ideas and instructions. This Christmas season, I've explained how to make a Flaxseed Heating Wrap as well as the child-friendly Dancing Ribbons and Felt Crowns. Today, I'm going to talk about a homemade gift for adults -- homemade liqueurs.

Some liqueurs can be made rather quickly (typically those that use extracts) while others take some steeping time (typically those that use fresh ingredients like citrus peel). Last year, I made coffee liqueur as well as amaretto for two of my brothers-in-law. They were quick and easy to make, and had the benefit of tasting yummy together. (Just mix 1/3 amaretto, 1/3 coffee liqueur and 1/3 half-and-half and serve over ice.)

As for bottling up your homemade beverage, you can go the "green" way and recycle a glass bottle with a screw lid. Just be sure to sterilize the cap and bottle before filling them up. You can also check out stores for pretty bottles. I just bought the one pictured above from World Market (they're sold out online but you can check stores).

Recipes abound for different homemade liqueurs. Last year, I used All Recipes to research and read feedback about particular liqueur recipes. Here's one of their articles about making homemade liqueur if you're interested for more info. This year, I tried my hand at making some Vanilla Liqueur. Since it is made with an extract, it doesn't need steeping time. However, it will taste better after the flavors have some time to blend and mellow.

Vanilla Liqueur

1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups vodka
4 Tablespoons vanilla extract

In a saucepan, combine the water and two sugars over medium heat. Bring to a boil and make sure all of the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pan from heat and let the sugar mixture cool for at least 20 minutes. Add the vodka and extract and stir well to combine. Store in a sealed bottle.

Amaretto Variation: Substitute dark brown sugar for the light and 2 Tablespoons of almond extract for 2 Tablespoons of the vanilla.

For other "Make It Monday" ideas, visit last year's posts -- the Playdough Kit, Family Calendars, Morning Out Kit, Romance Kit, Pizza Night Kit, and Personalized T-Shirts.

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