More Holiday Gift Ideas

The good thing about some of the holiday gift ideas we’ve been talking about is that they can be given to almost anyone. But what about your adult friends? If you think soup in a jar is a little hokey, how about homemade liqueurs? Nothing hokey about that. Just make sure your recipient will like something like this.

Homemade Kaluah-Style

Here’s something you need to make now to have ready for the end of the year holidays. This coffee liqueur is rich and tasty and easily poured into small bottles that can be decorated. This recipe makes two quarts and takes less than an hour to make.


  • 1 (2 ounces) jar instant espresso coffee powder
  • 3 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1-pint vodka
  • 1 whole vanilla bean


  1. Mix coffee and sugar. Add boiling water and stir until dissolved. Cool.
  2. Add Vodka and pour into two 26-ounce empty bottles. Split vanilla into 4 pieces and add to bottles.
  3. Close bottles tightly and keep them in a cool dark place for one month.

Top Of The Day To Ya’

Another holiday favorite is homemade Irish Cream. It’s good all year round and can be served on its own with a little ice and maybe a candy cane, or mixed into coffee or vodka.

One warning: this recipe calls for raw eggs. Use pasteurized eggs if you can find them. If not, please place a warning on the labels that it should not be consumed by pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems.


  • 3 eggs
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate-flavored syrup
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 16 fluid ounces of non-dairy creamer
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/4 cups brandy


  1. In an electric blender, combine eggs, sweetened condensed milk, chocolate syrup, and coffee granules. Blend for 3 minutes.
  2. Add creamer, vanilla extract, almond extract, and brandy to the mixture in the electric blender. Blend for 12 minutes. Refrigerate the mixture overnight.
  3. Strain the Irish Cream through a cheesecloth, then serve.

My Take On Chocolate Syrup

If you want to cut down on sugar, you can make your own chocolate syrup. Combine 3 tablespoons each of cocoa powder and equal-measure sweetener (like Splenda) and then stir in small amounts of water until you get the consistency you want.

An Amaretto Taste-Alike

And here’s an easy recipe for homemade Amaretto. Just add vanilla and almond flavor to a simple syrup.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups vodka
  • 2 tablespoons almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract


Combine water, white sugar, and brown sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat until boiling and all sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let the mixture cool for about 10 minutes. Pour in vodka, almond extract, and vanilla. Mix well and store in a sealed bottle.

I know someone who gets together with relatives to make a large batch of homemade mustard. It’s a good recipe. If you have a favorite you’ve made that you’d like to share, put it in the Reply space below. You could make it on our Recipes page as well. I am always interested in any thoughts from readers.