I couldn't skip away for the holidays without leaving you with one last-minute gift idea. For a quick, visually appealing holiday gift, might I suggest a batch of infused vodka? If you have a well-stocked bar or extra booze from a party, a small selection of fruit, and some sealable containers, you can infuse vodka with your favorite flavors in almost no time at all.
Fruit: use 1-3 pieces of fruit, depending on their size (i.e. one grapefruit or two apples)
Berries: 3-4 fistfuls
Peppers: The more you use, the hotter it will be so fill your container according to your taste
Herbs: 1-2 fistfuls of fresh herbs
Wash all of your ingredients and remove any pits, seeds or stems. For berries and herbs, bruise or crush them gently to help release the flavor. Place ingredients in a clean container, preferably glass, fill with vodka and seal well. Store containers away from direct sunlight.
Most recipes of this size will infuse in less than a week. Citrus and strongly flavored ingredients can infuse in as little as 2 days, which make them great last-minute gifts. For more mellow flavors let sit for at least 5 days. Taste occasionally or simply wait a week then enjoy!
* Don't skimp on the vodka. It doesn't need to be top-shelf (you're changing the flavor anyway!) but the cheap stuff will leave a harsh aftertaste. Similarly, use fresh fruits and ingredients, not canned.
* Think outside the fruit basket. Try cinnamon sticks, coffee beans, vanilla beans, ginger, or even candy like Jolly Ranchers and Skittles.
* If your fruit gets brown or begins to disintegrate it can start to affect the flavor. Strain the liquid from the solid by passing it through cheesecloth or a coffee filter. You can always add fresh fruit back in for a prettier presentation.
For my infusions I used vodka and fruit in mason jars. I topped them with circles of kitschy Japanese fabric from Superbuzzy and tied them with twine. I created tags using a typewriter font from Dafont.com and labeled my concoctions with holiday-inspired names like "Jingle Juice" and "Comet's Kamikaze."