By Paris Wolfe, Blogmaster, The Herb Society of America
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … in my kitchen. As I harvest the goods, I’ve been making Christmas gifts for family and friends. Some of my favorites are liqueurs. They’re deceptively simple and make elegant presentations.
Crème di violette and lemon herb liqueurs are two of my favorite. This year, I am trying something new – a crème di lavender liqueur. I’m making an infusion using ½ cup lavender and 12 ounce of vodka. After three days, I’ll strain and spike with simple syrup until the sweetness is balanced. I’m still debating the addition of food coloring for presentation.
To make simple syrup, bring one cup water and one cup sugar to a boil and dissolve sugar. Then, turn off the burner. Cool before use. Keeps in refrigerator for a few weeks.
Packaging the final product is as important as producing it. Do I want vintage decanters to present larger quantities to close friends? Cruets with cork stoppers for liqueurs in smaller quantities? Or maybe Mason jars with chalk labels? Perhaps I should buy brand new bottles from Amazon?
The problem with my creativity is my ideas run rampant and I struggle to choose. I want packaging in harmony with product. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years … some of it practical, some artistic.
- Select glass bottles to avoid off tastes from plastic.
- Source smaller bottles – 5 to 8 ounces – to stretch product and tease friends with a sample or two.
- Choose colored bottles if the product is an odd color and you’re not using food coloring. For example, I packaged my crème di menthe in green.
- Seal with screw tops or swing tops (not corks) to prevent spillage. Or be careful with cork.
- Finish with a heat-shrink plastic capsule for elegant presentation. These come in many colors, but I choose black.
- Use white markers, not chalk, on chalkboard labels, so they won’t smear.
- Write product name and date on label at the very least.
While I’m ordering my first batch of “Woozy” bottles from Amazon and picking up chalkboard labels/hangtags at Joann.com, I will be watching the “dot” section at the entrance to my local Target. Throughout the year they’ve sold a number of bottles and labels that made lovely presentations. And, if my budget feels more generous, I may check out the Bormioli Rocco Swing Bottles at Sur La Table.