Upcycling Bottles & Infusing Liquors for Holiday Gifts

If you've been around this blog a time or two, you know that I often infuse my liquors for baking.  It adds a bit of complexity to the flavor.  There are certain spices and infusions that really come through clearly in the baking.

Today, I'm going to show you how to be creative with your packaging and get infusing - you only have a few weeks before Christmas and it takes at least a few weeks to fully infuse the alcohol.

First, you are going to want to choose your liquor.  I lean toward bourbon, because my husband likes it, and something lighter, like white rum or vodka.  Those are two good places to start.  Next step: go to the liquor store and become overwhelmed.  Wow, are there so many choices nowadays!  Consult Barnivore if you need to see if your liquor choice is vegan-friendly.  To make several infusions of each, I usually pick up two or three handles.

Once I get home: to save room, I pour a little of the alcohol into another smaller container.  I put the infusions directly inside the handles of bourbon and rum.  This Christmas, I chose:

  • Bourbon with 1 cup of whole coffee beans and two whole cinnamon sticks
  • Bourbon with 1 cup of whole coffee beans and a handful of green cardamom pods
  • White Rum with 2 whole vanilla beans, sliced, and a handful of green cardamom pods

It's so easy, just place these materials into your bottles of alcohol and close them up.  Stick them in the closet/pantry and forget about them for 2+ weeks.  The longer you let them sit, the stronger the infusion will become, although I would probably remove the infusions after 6 weeks.  That seems long enough, before they start disintegrating and looking gross.

As for the upcycled bottles: my favorite bottles to use right now are the same ones that I used for my homemade amaretto.  These are used organic dressing bottles from Target (Simply Balanced).  

Homemade Amaretto 1.jpg

They have snazzy, black lids and can be easily stripped of their wrappers.  (Soak them in hot water and use your nails to peel.  Use Goo Gone at the end to get the last bits off and wash them one last time.)  You can also use old coconut oil jars - I go through them all of the time!  A lot of stores have started selling decorative mason jar lids, like Michaels and other craft stores.   

Container 1.jpg

When you are ready to gift your booze, make sure you strain out all of the infusions.  No one wants to bite into a soggy piece of cinnamon.  Distribute it evenly throughout the jars and label them, so your friends and family know what they are getting.  The infusions can be consumed or used for baking.  Feel free to point your loved ones to this site for ideas ;-)

Enjoy these infusion ideas and let me know if you have any questions.


This post is part of A Vegan Holiday, a collaboration among vegan and veg-friendly bloggers. Follow along on social media with #AVeganHoliday. Want to learn more or become a contributor? Find out more here or here