How to Make Bourbon-Soaked Cherries & Other Boozy Gifts

How to Make Bourbon-Soaked Cherries & Other Boozy Gifts | thegoodstuff

If you’re anything like me, you’re already balancing your family calendar trying to fit in various social events and parties facing you this holiday season. How wonderful to be surrounded by friends and merriment for the season, right?

Well, even though I’m thrilled to have a robust social calendar, I wanted to enter into this season armed with a great homemade hostess gift to save me that pre-party stress. I’m tired of giving the same old store-bought, mass-produced gifts that everyone else gives, so this year I’m thinking of my friends first and making them something they’ll actually want to receive…boozy holiday gifts!

I’m not talking about the standard-issue bottle of wine with a nice gift bag, oh no! The following simple and delicious recipes for Bourbon-Soaked Cherries and Boozy Cocktail Olives will actually cost less than that bottle of vino and you’ll be able to spread holiday cheer with a beautiful (and unique) hostess gift — no gift bag required!

Need some more homemade holiday gift ideas? Check out these DIY Christmas gifts for a fun (and inexpensive) way to say thanks!

Bourbon-Soaked Cherries Recipe

How to Make Bourbon-Soaked Cherries & Other Boozy Gifts | thegoodstuff

I just love the oaky, caramel, and vanilla flavors of bourbon and those notes just happen to pair really well with tart cherries.

Since finding fresh cherries at this time of year is tough, I used dried tart cherries found right at Costco and Trader Joe’s. Now add a touch of sugar, some orange juice, and bit of vanilla and what you end up with is some yummy, boozy fruit that’s delicious on top of ice cream and in cocktails. Manhattan, anyone?


• 1 cup bourbon
• 2/3 cup sugar
• 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
• 1 2-inch strip orange peel
• 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• Bag of dried cherries, pitted


1. Combine bourbon, sugar, orange juice, and orange peel in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Whisk constantly until sugar dissolves, cooking for about 5 minutes.

2. Remove pan from the heat and whisk in vanilla extract.

3. Fill jars 3/4 of the way full with dried cherries. Add liquid bourbon mixture to the cherries to within 1/2 inch from top. Add cherries to fill jar and seal.

4. Allow the filled jars to cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator. Chill for one week before using, shaking occasionally to mix flavors. Infused cherries will keep in the fridge for up to 1 month.

Boozy Cocktail Olives Recipe

How to Make Bourbon-Soaked Cherries & Other Boozy Gifts | thegoodstuff

There are so many ways to make an incredible martini, and outside of a quality vodka or gin, the next best ingredient is your choice of cocktail olives. Ask anyone who loves a Dirty Martini and you’ll appreciate how important a garnish can be to a drink.

So stock up on a few nice jars (5-7 ounces is a good size), cook up this Boozy Cocktail Olives recipe, and you’ll have a gift ready to go for your next party.

If you’d like to provide a little guidance on how to make the perfect dirty martini, check out my shaken, not stirred James Bond martini here.


• 2-3 8-ounce jars of good-quality olives (quantity will depend on how many jars you’re making)

Note: If you’re going for standard-issue green olives, Spanish olives work well, such as Queen or Manzanilla olives. Alternatively, you can use any pitted olive you’d like. I found a jar of mixed olives at my local grocery store that worked great and provided a beautiful array of colors and sizes — all martini-ready.

• Bottle of dry vermouth
• Sprig of fresh rosemary for each jar


1. Drain any brine from the olives. Fill jars 3/4 of the way full of olives. Add small sprig of cleaned rosemary.

2. Fill with dry vermouth to cover olives. Add olives and vermouth to reach near the top of the jar and seal.

3. Let olives steep in refrigerator for 3 days to a week, gently shaking the jar occasionally to mix flavors. Olives can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 months.

Quick tip: Gin vs. vodka

If you are familiar enough with your friends martini preferences, you might be aware of the fact  that they prefer gin or vodka for their martinis. The great part of this recipe is that you can easily switch out the dry vermouth in favor of a good vodka or a quality.

If you decide to infuse your olives with gin, you might want to add a nice lemon rind (no white pith!) in place of the rosemary.

Decorating Tips

To add that personalized holiday touch to your boozy gifts, stock up on some fun accessories at places like Michael’s, Target, Walmart, and The Container Store. All provide plenty of supplies and inspiration for anything you can dream up. Here are a few decorating tips and coupons to keep this DIY session fun:

Baker’s twine

This makes a great accent around the top of any jar and comes in a variety of colors.

Wait! Before you get sucked into all the amazing things The Container Store has to offer (we sure do!), grab a few Container Store coupons!

Natural jute rope

Keep it neutral and rustic with this classic wrapping accent.


if you’d like to add a little more holiday flair, these are a fun addition to your decorating supplies.

Pad your wallet this holiday season with a few online Walmart coupons.

Gift tags

There are so many to choose from!

Jingle bells

Add a little festive jingle to your gift.

If you’re a holiday gift DIYer, don’t miss out on these Michaels coupons!

Weck canning jars

Embossed with the famous strawberry logo, Weck’s jars have been the go-to choice for European home-canners since 1900 and there are plenty of sizes and styles to choose from. I used the 7.4-ounce versions here

Quilted mason jars

These are always a stylish jar for homemade gifts.

All things festive and merry have hit the shelves at Target, and you can save a little extra for a treat or two with Target coupons.


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