DIY Liquor NSR (No Stills Required)

It’s December, and the holiday season is in full swing-swang-swaggle. For those who have their holiday shopping finished and have nothing to do until December 25 except sit and drink egg nog, I salute you. With one finger.

For the rest of us, there’s a little movement going on that’s defined by three little letters: D.I.Y. (aka do it yourself). Though I consider myself a both proponent of homemade spirits and hipster-hater, I’ve found that even minimal DIY-ness is enough to attractively package my favorite recipes (prior to this, I just dumped the completed mix back into recycled Rogue bottles…cute to me, not cute to others).

All it took was:

  • 12 8oz jelly mason jars (@ $10 at Menards)
  • Avery stickers (I used the Kraft brown, style 22808, @ $12 at Office Max)–you can download an MS Word template to get an idea of the layout on the paper, but I wound up designing in Adobe Illustrator –> placing over the template
  • $2 cloth from the remnants bin at Michael’s

I parceled it up into 9 jars of Apple Pie, 3 jars of Barenjaeger with some left over for myself. I’ve included the recipes below, but don’t stop there. Try experimenting with your own homemade mixtures, and keep me posted on what you make!


8 cloves
½ vanilla bean
1 liter vodka (4 1/4 cups) – I do NOT recommend using a pre-vanilla infused vodka…I like to use Reyka
350 grams (12.33 oz.) honey – fine/high quality

Chop the cloves and split the vanilla bean lengthwise. Add them to a container and filling it with the vodka. Let this mixture sit for at least 24 hours before straining the vanilla bean and the cloves from the vodka. I typically let it sit for a few days longer in my wine cellar, but beware–the longer it sits, the more the cloves will overpower the flavor.

Once the vodka is clear of any remaining pieces, stir vigorously, pouring the honey in a thin stream. Do not stop until the honey and the vodka are completely blended together. The finished product will look reminiscent of a urine sample, but don’t let that get you down.

Apple Pie – great for sipping or shootin

750oz Everclear
1 gallon apple juice (NOT from concentrate–cannot stress this enough)
1 gallon apple cider (NOT from concentrate–see above)
1 cup sugar
7 cinnamon sticks

Heat apple juice, apple cider, sugar, and cinnamon sticks together till boiling. Allow to cool before stirring in Everclear.

For a little bit more punch, add some Hot 100! schnapps in addition to the Everclear. For added ambience, I dropped a cinnamon stick into each Mason jar =]