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LH 67: Infused Gifts – Homemade Vanilla Extract and More

This episode is about making infused gifts to give away at the holidays.

These are all simple recipes that do not take much effort. However, infusing does take a little bit of time because the flavorings must sit for a while.

So be sure to start these infusions as soon as possible. That way, you will have several nice gifts ready at holiday time.

You learn:

  • How to make a simple spiced rum
  • How to make a Grand Marnier (orange liqueur)
  • Some simple tips for packaging
  • The steps to creating a homemade vanilla extract
  • Why you can use bulk vanilla
  • What to add to each vanilla bottle to keep the flavor strong

As a bonus, there is a PDF below for creating a simple cranberry liqueur as well.

The complete instructions are in the transcript for making:

  • Spiced Rum
  • Grand Marnier (orange liqueur)
  • Vanilla Extract


But it also lovely to make a festive cranberry liqueur using fresh or frozen cranberries.

What I like about this liqueur recipe is that you can make it the traditional way (using a granulated sugar syrup). Or you can make a tart (unsweetened liqueur) to use in mixed drinks. Or you can sweet the liqueur with apple juice and avoid the granulated sugar completely.

You can get my cranberry liqueur recipe here:


When bottling up your creations, you need to pour the finished alcohol infusions into clean bottles that have been washed with hot, soapy water. You do not have to “sterilize” the bottles by boiling for 10 minutes because the alcohol is a pretty good preservative. But you certainly can boil the bottles if you want to. You can also run your bottles through the dishwasher.

Resources Mentioned in the Episode:

Bulk Vanilla Beans – from Mountain Rose Herbs (fair trade & organic)

Cardamum pods – from Mountain Rose Herbs

Bottles for gift giving – Fillmore Container

More Bottles for gift giving – Specialty Bottle Company


Recommended for Further Reading:

Homemade Liqueurs Book* by Andrew Schloss

Cordials From Your Kitchen* by Rich Gulling



Click here for the full transcript of Episode #67 


Other Episodes You May Be Interested In:

Making Fruit Liqueurs (Episode 33)

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy® and is the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two teenage boys and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.


  • I listened to the Podcast about making homemade vanilla extract. That was the piece I was most interested in. I went to looking for the recipe for this. I do not find the recipe there. I see the transcript of the broadcast, the recipe for Cranberry Liquor. Can you help me find this recipe.

  • Jane says:

    How do I get just the recipe to make vanilla.

    • theresa says:

      Hi Jane,
      You can download the transcript and the recipe is described there. All you do is add some vanilla beans to a bottle or jar and cover the beans in vodka. Super simple. 🙂

  • Kerri says:

    Hi Theresa, every year, I get a box of 20 Florida oranges from my brother for Christmas (I got them this year too!). I want to make the orange liqueur with the peels and give it to him for NEXT Christmas. For how long can I let the oranges steep…is there a maximum length of time? As this is for December 2017, I have plenty of time. Also, will it still taste good by next winter if I make it now? I have all of the oranges peeled and sitting in sugar as I write this…Thank you for your help! Kerri

  • Colette says:

    Hi! I know this comment is late but I wanted to let you know that I made the Cranberry Liquor for the Christmas holidays and it was delicious. The color was also gorgeous. I didn’t sweeten it and mixed it with ginger ale. Also mixed it with plain seltzer water and it was good that way, too.

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