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I have been completely inspired by Joni Marie Newman’s book, Vegan Food Gifts!  It’s full of creative, beautiful gifts that you can make for your friends and family over the holidays.  The book provides packaging recommendations, includes gift tags that you can scan, AND has recipes for making your own flavoured adult beverages!

I started with the Vegemeister, of course, a homemade version of that dangerous (in a good way) dark herbal liquor.  The result was a caramel coloured, sambuca-like sweet drink, with some lovely floral notes.  Very impressed!  My next mission is the homemade spiced rum….


16 whole star anise

1 cup water

2 cups evaporated cane sugar

4 cups vodka

1 4-inch vanilla bean, split lengthwise

4 slices ( about 1 ounce) fresh ginger (unpeeled is fine)

4 whole black peppercorns

2 whole cloves

1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds

1/2 teaspoon food-grade dried lavender flowers


In a saucepot, bring the star anise and water to a boil over high heat.  Boil for 5 minutes.

Add the evaporated cane sugar and stir until completely dissolved.  Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely.

Add the vodka, vanilla bean, ginger, peppercorns, cloves, fennel, and lavender and stir to combine.  Pour into a jar or container with a tight-fitting lid.

Allow to sit for 7 days, giving it a shake every day.  Strain out the solids and pour into bottles, then seal.

Yield: 6 cups

I enjoy this best when it is chilled, as an after dinner sipper over ice, or on it’s own.


~The Vegan Project

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