By Cora L. Diekman

Published on October 14, 2015

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Photography by emma christensen

by Cora L. Diekman

Forget the cookies, the chocolates, and the baking for that matter! Surprise friends and family with the gift they really want (and need) this holiday season – vodka! And while a bottle of their favorite spirit is always much appreciated, why not go the extra (half) mile and DIY an edible treat that will amaze everyone on your gift list – even fussy foodies! 

For the travel enthusiast: homemade limoncello

Anyone who has ever visited Italy (or even just dreamed of it) will appreciate a homemade batch of this zesty citrus treat. One pop of the bottle, and the delicious aroma will transport its recipient out of cold-weather winter doldrums and directly to the Amalfi coast. And no one has to know how simple this 3-ingredient recipe is to make. Simply peel 10 lemons and combine the peels with one 750-ml bottle of vodka, and cover with plastic wrap for 7 days. After 7 days, strain the peels. Then create a simple syrup with ⅔ c water and  ⅔ c sugar, add the sugar syrup to the vodka, and stir to combine. Allow to rest for 1 month before gifting.

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

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Photography by chocolate moosey

For the baking enthusiast: homemade vanilla extract

If a boozy beverage treat isn’t at the top of everyone’s wish list, try this 2-ingredient recipe instead. Every baking enthusiast knows that vanilla extract is an absolute must, so why not gift them with a homemade bottle of the read deal? These sweet little bottles are a treat to the eye just as the dark amber liquor inside is a treat for the tastebuds. To make, simply fill a medium-sized bottle with up to 12 split vanilla bean pods and top with vodka. Allow to marinate for at least a month before gifting.

Recipe via Ina Garten

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Photography by michael kraus

For the bloody mary enthusiast: pepper-infused vodka

Add a kick to any cocktail with a shot of spicy pepper infused vodka. While perfect for the brunch classic Bloody Mary, spicy spirits are having a moment right now on the cocktail scene, adding heat to drinks that are traditionally sweet in nature. This recipe can be made with any spicy pepper – from habanero to jalapeno to red chiles – depending on your desired level of spice. Slice peppers lengthwise, place in a bottle, and top with vodka (garlic is optional for an additional kick). Allow to rest for at least a week before serving.

Recipe via Emeril Lagasse

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Photography by mind over batter

For the sweet cocktail enthusiast: pineapple-infused vodka

Not everyone is a Bloody Mary gal. No worries! That’s okay when you have this oh-so-delicious sweet cocktail alternative that’s perfect for so many fruity libations! This 3-ingredient treat comes together by slicing a whole pineapple and combining with one 750-ml bottle of vodka and ⅓ cup of sugar. Allow to marinate for 48 hours and then strain, and store until ready to serve.

Recipe via Saveur

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Photography by recipe diaries

For the maraschino cherry enthusiast: vodka soaked cherries

Just when you thought nothing could improve the nostalgia-inducing candy-like sweetness of Maraschino cherries, enter Vodka. Vodka soaked cherries are the perfect cocktail adornment, but are just as tempting as a poppable (spiked!) sweet treat. The beauty of this recipe is that a single bottle of your favorite spirit (nearly any liquor will do) is enough to make several jars of these oh-so-giftable cherries. To make, simply replace half of the syrup from a jar of store bought Maraschino cherries with vodka, and marinate for up to a month before serving (but they only get better with age). Bonus points for repotting these in your own decorative glass jars for a more personal touch.

Recipe via So, How’s It Taste