Tag Archives: gift

DIY Gifts: Homemade Hooch

pineapple5Peperoncini Vodka, Pineapple Vodka, and Coffee Bean Bourbon, ready to gift

DIY infused booze. It’s the perfect gift, whether you’re the type that likes to have your gifting done pre-Thanksgiving, or the guy who’s scouring the mall on December 23rd.

It’s simple, really. All you need is a neutral spirit, an empty jar or bottle, spices, produce, or herbs of your choice, a ribbon (or not) and a gift tag (or not). The hardest part is creating the perfect combination of flavors for your recipient (and that’s what we’re here for), and letting time do its thing.

Because the formula is vague (booze + flavor = infusion!) it can be easy to get overwhelmed. My advice is to keep it simple and stick to your gut. That’s what I did when I first made Pineapple Vodka many years ago. And though I’ve made more intricate infusions over the years, the original Pineapple is the one most requested by my family members. I get the evil eye if I don’t gift it each season. Not only is it delicious, but also has the added benefits for our purposes here, of being virtually foolproof, and quick. Which means even if you find yourself needing gifts on December 23rd, this recipe will deliver.

solopineappejarDIY Pineapple Vodka (makes 750ml of infused spirit)
Trim and cut one fresh pineapple. (If you don’t have a pineapple coring apparatus, just use a sharp chef’s knife or a serrated knife to trim off the top, then trim straight across the bottom so it will stand up straight. Slice down the sides, cutting off the tough outer skin and inner spikes. You can now slice the pineapple into rings or chunks. For rings, cut the pineapple widthwise into slices. Using a small, round cookie cutter, stamp out the inner core and discard. For chunks, slice the pineapple lengthwise around the core to desired thickness. Cut each piece lengthwise again. Finally, dice crosswise to create chunks.) If you’re using a bottle as your gifting container, be sure to cut the fruit into pieces small enough to fit inside the neck of the bottle.

cutting-pineapple-rind
chunk-closeupSelect a glass container with a tight fitting lid. Fill it ¾ of the way with the cut pineapple, and add enough vodka to fill.

pineapple4Seal the container, and shake for about 40 seconds. For optimum infused flavor, let sit for at least 1 hour and up to 2 weeks. If you find yourself short of time, simply indicate an “open” date on your gift tag. One of the best parts about this particular infusion? The fruit is edible (some say even better) once it’s soaked. Don’t forget to tell the recipient to eat the booze-infused pineapple – it’s amazing.

Bottling Your Infused Gift
This recipe yields 750ml of liquid, enough to fill a standard wine bottle. Swing-top bottles (we sell both the 750ml and 8oz sizes) are really great for this, as are wide-mouth mason jars, which lend a truly homemade feel.

Writing Your Bottle Notes
A handwritten note or tag to accompany your handmade hooch is a lovely, thoughtful touch.
-consider including your suggestions for how best to enjoy the spirit, or a recipe for a cocktail that has as its main ingredient your infusion.
-if your infusion contains ingredients that may be considered allergens, include that info on your tag.
peperoncini

 

Below are additional combinations I’ve used for years. Some require weeks of steeping and contact time, others only 24 hours. Visit our handy Infused Booze Infographic for instructions, then play with the combos below. I’d love to hear about infusions you’ve done or are trying this season. Tag @bottlesfinewine on Instagram and we’ll share your creations!

Bourbons (I like Bulleit or Maker’s Mark)
Hearty, warm aromatics will enhance the spirit’s warm, oaky notes. Consider:
Apple Cinnamon Bourbon
Coffee Bean Bourbon

Vodka (Prairie & Tito’s are my go-tos)
These neutral spirits are the most versatile, and play nicely with just about any fruit, herb or vegetable. Try:
Peperoncini Vodka
Ginger Lime Vodka
Blackberry Thyme Vodka

Gin (Prairie or Farmer’s work best here)
Herb and citrus flavors are a natural partner for gin. Consider:
Cucumber Basil Gin
Rosemary Gin

Tequila (Altos or Camarena)
Bring out the big guns to match tequila’s punch. Try:
Mango Tequila
Strawberry Tequila (so great for strawberry margaritas!)
Jalapeno Tequila

I hope you have fun infusing your booze!

Happy Holidays,
Alex

Holiday Party Idea: Self-Serve Bubbly Bar! Free Printable Sign!

When we think of New Year’s, we think of bubbly! A festive way to ring in the New Year with family and friends is to set up a self-serve sparkling wine bar at home. Let your guests have fun creating their own sparkling cocktails! Your guests can choose a simple Kir Royale, or play mixologist as they combine flavors to create a multi-layered concoction. We’ve even made a free printable sign for you to download and place at the bar for the party!

FREE PRINTABLE BUBBY BAR SIGN >

Click the link above to download and print this Bubbly Bar sign!
After you’ve printed it, simple cut out the sign, fold in half, and place at the bar.

THE BUBBLY BAR SHOPPING LIST >

Click the link above to download and print the list of everything you’ll need. Stop by Bottles for all of these ingredients!

 

What You’ll Need for a Bubbly Bar
  • Ice Bucket
  • Jar of spoons (Pouring the mixers straight into your glass will cause the mixer and sparkling wine to combine too quickly. The best way to create a sparkling cocktail is to turn a spoon upside down and let the liquid slowly run over the spoon into your glass. SCIENCE!)
  • Champagne Flutes (check to make sure you have enough for all your guests!)
 
Our Favorite Sparkling Wines
We’ve drawn up a list of our favorite sparkling wines, Cavas, and Champagnes for you to choose from. Chill them beforehand, and place them at a the Bubbly Bar table.

 

  • Grandial – Light and bright, this Blanc de Blancs Brut is made from 100% Chardonnay that gives this sparkling treat a lovely note of green apple on the finish. $9.99
  • Mercat Cava – Wonderfully balanced and complex Cava from Catalonia, Spain.  Notes of lemon and peach meet with an undertone of minerals to create a spectacularly dry sparkling. $16.99
  • Gruet Brut – Sparkling wine from New Mexico? No way! Thank goodness French winemaker, Gilbert Gruet, travelled through New Mexico in the 1980’s and found European winemakers planting grapes in this inexpensive location. He promptly moved his sparkling wine operation from Bethon, France to Albuquerque, New Mexico! $19.99
  • Meinklang Rosé Frizzante – Bio-dynamic, organic and absolutely fun, this Pinot Noir sparkling style has less effervesce than others on this list but makes up for it in the most splendid strawberry notes. $21.99 
  • Mumm Napa – French Champagne house G.H. Mumm found a new home in Napa Valley in the early 1980’s. Notes of melon and vanilla are abundant in this rich and balanced California sparkling. Classic Californian sparkling, bright. $29.99 
  • Charles Heidsick Brut Reserve – From the house nicknamed ‘Baby Krug’ comes the most spectacular champagne I have had in recent memory. Delicate hints of nectarine and peach first come into play followed by a creamy, honeyed finish. Complex and rich, this is a non-vintage champagne that drinks like a vintage bottle twice the price. A fantastic way to ring in the New Year! $69.99
 
Not sure how many bottles of sparkling wine to get for your party?
 
Meinklang Rosé Frizzante
An Assortment of Mixers
Here’s our hand-picked selection of syrups and liqueurs for guests to mix with bubbly.
 
Giffard Crème de Cassis Noir de Bourgogne$34.99
A dash of Cassis over a glass of champagne = a classic Kir Royale! While a Kir cocktail is a French cocktail with white wine and blackcurrant liqueur, a Kir Royal is a variation that uses bubbly instead.
Pama Pomegranate Liqueur$14.99
Add a rosy glow to your glass of sparkling wine! Pama has the complex, sweet, yet tart taste of pomegranates.
Giffard Pamplemousse (Grapefruit)$24.99

 

100% natural fruit crème that makes a great aperitif cocktail when mixed with bubbly.

Quince & Apple Rhubarb Hops Syrup$11.99

Quince & Apple Tart Cherry Grenadine$11.99

Quince & Apple syrups are all natural, hand crafted syrups from Madison, Wisconsin. Quince & Apple syrups rely on the best local produce to create a smooth, not too sugary syrup that can be combined with sparkling wine, liquor or club soda to provide a refreshing, non-alcoholic drink.

Let’s talk Champagne!

Champagne is a region in France, home to some of the best Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes in the world that create delicate, complex and heart stopping wines. Buying Champagne to stock a bubbly bar can get pricey fairly quickly, but there are plenty of other sparkling wines made outside of Champagne that will impress your guests with their grace and balance. Featuring sparkling wines made from different countries and different regions is a great way to have an educational moment in the midst of good, old-fashioned bacchanal.

However, as the clock is about to reach midnight, I pull a few bottles of Champagne from the back of the vegetable crisper, underneath the Swiss Chard and grapes (don’t tell my friends about my hiding spot) and pop the piece de resistance as the clock strikes midnight!

Happy New Year!
Joanna
Bottles Fine Wine

Perfect Holiday Wines for Gifts, Dinners & Parties

Visit our Providence wine store for wonderful selection of festive wines, great for easy gifts and for all of your holiday celebrations this season. Watch the Bottles Wine Manager, Nick, give his advice and recommendations for wines that are great to give as hostess gifts, bring to parties, and that pair wonderfully with holiday dinners.

If you are in the area, look for our holiday wine display, full of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. These make great holiday gifts and easy choices for any celebration this season.

BV napa valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is a recognizable grape, and are generally nice, sturdy, structured wines. BV Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is loaded with classic cherry flavors and sturdy tannins, making it an easy grab if you are attending a party and need a hostess gift.
Pouilly Fuisse marie antoinette

Marie Antoinette Pouilly-Fuisseé will please any white Burgundy or Chardonnay fans. With an elegant label, Pouilly-Fuissé is rich, round, and elegant, with minerals and white flowers.

underwood cellars pinot noir oregon wine

Underwood Cellars Pinot Noir is great for parties, and is from Oregon. Reasonably priced, this delicious Pinot Noir is medium-bodied with dry, earthy fruit.

Feel free to contact us for wine selections, food pairings and anything else!