Homemade/Hand Crafted Creations


A lemonade stand was probably the first time we learned the basics of a homemade mix. All we needed was the right proportions of lemon juice, sugar and water and viola! Making your own mixes, liqueurs, and faux spirits is fun and even makes a wonderful personalized gift. Depending on what you decide to hand make, why not create a theme basket around your choice. This is truly a gift that can’t be bought.

You’ll discover that you’ll need a few things that you don’t normally have in the drawers and cabinets in your kitchen like filters; sieves, mesh, cheesecloth, paper towels, and coffee filters. Placing a coffee filter in a conical mesh strainer works really well. You will also need: Wide-mouthed jars with tight secure lids like canning jars, bottles (plain or decorative, gallon containers, saucepans, measuring spoons and cups, plastic bags, funnel, and corks.

In case you were wondering, you are allowed to make as much homemade wine, liqueurs, beer, or anything as you wish. You just cannot sell it. So, go ahead and make and share as much as you want!

Keep in mind that the number one thing that will spoil your creation is oxygen. It’s very important that all containers have tight secure lids. And once your creations are made, continue keeping the air away from them by making sure you have a tight seal on your bottle. Lots of people like to use corks. You can buy them at hobby stores and sites online. Also, make sure everything is scrubbed, sanitized, and squeaky clean before starting. Especially your hands!

By the way, my 4th published book, The Everything Cocktail Party and Drinks Book, has a chapter titled,"Homemade Creations". Here are the names of the recipes: Flavored/Infused Vodka, Gin, and Rum, Raspberry Liqueur, Limoncello, Irish Cream, Coffee Liqueur, Simple Syrup, Sweet-n-Sour/ Margarita Mix, Bloody Mary Mix, Sangria, White Sangria, Instant Cappuccino Mocha Mix, Ginger Beer, Faux Absinthe, Mulled Wine, Strawberry Wine, Wine Coolers,Mead, Hot Buttered Rum Mix, and Spiced Cider.

My 7th published book, The Everything Bartender's Book has a homemade chapter as well with these creations: Amaretto, Balloon Wine, Bar Punch, Basic Bitters, Bloody Mary Mix, Drunken Olives, Coffee Liqueur, Cranberry Juice, Egg Nog, Faux Absinthe, Faux Aquavit, Faux Drambuie, Faux Galliano, Faux Pimm's No. 1, Flavored/Infused Spirits, Flexible Ice Pack, Ginger Beer, Limoncello, Hot Buttered Rum mix, Instant Cappuccino Mocha Mix , Irish Cream, Mead, Mint Bourbon, Mouthwash, Mulled Wine, Peach Puree, , Raspberry Liqueur, Sangria, Schnapps, Simple Syrup, Spiced Cider, Sweet-n-Sour / Margarita Mix, Whipped Cream, White Sangria, and Wine Coolers.

My 9th published book, Knack Bartending Basics has photos and instructions how how to make unfusions, simple syrups, flower water, and more!

Make Liqueurs & Cordials
Jeffrey Morgenthaler's Pitcher of Bloody Mary Mix
Making homemade liqueurs
Deena's Homemade Irish Cream
Homemade Sweet-n-Sour Threads
Homemade Bailys
Make your own Moonshine
Allrecipes.com: Homemade Liqueurs
Deena's Homemade Kahlua
Make infused simple syrup
The Best Sangria Recipe
Ginger infused honey
Make simple syrup
Make your own Orange Bitters
Make Ginger Beer
Infused Vodka Threads
Bacon infused Bourbon
Fresh Fig Wine
Mocha Mix
Homemade Bloody Mary Mix Threads
Deena's Sangria
So you wanna make your own beer
Making Gin and Vodka
Fat washing spirits

Bacon Infused Bourbon

Irish Cream
Makes 1 bottle
1 cup Irish whiskey
1 (14 ounce) can Eagle Brand condensed milk
1 cup whipping cream (the real stuff)
4 eggs
2 tablespoons chocolate flavored syrup (like Monin)
2 teaspoon instant coffee granules
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients then blend until smooth. Store in a tightly covered container in refrigerator. You can serve it in 24 hours. It’ll last a month just stir before serving.


Coffee Liqueur
Makes 2 bottles
5 cups sugar
8 cups water
1 1/4 cups instant coffee
6 tablespoons Vanilla extract
1/2 bottle (750 ml) vodka

Heat the sugar and the water to boiling then remove it from the heat and leave to cool. When at room temperature mix it with all the other ingredients and bottle it. Let it sit undisturbed in a cool dark place for one month.

Serves 8
2 bottles of red wine
2 ounces blackberry brandy
1 cup orange juice
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup cherry juice
3 cups maraschino cherries.
2 cups seasonal fruit cut into wheels.

Combine all the ingredients except the fruit and keep it in the fridge. When ready to serve add all the fruit.

White Sangria
Serves 4
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
6 cinnamon sticks
2 bottle non-dry white wine
1 cup sparkling water
1 cup apple juice
1 cup white cranberry juice
3 oranges cut
2 cups cherries
3 apples cut

Heat the water, sugar, and cinnamon sticks to a simmer for 5 minutes then remove from the heat. Mix in all remaining liquid ingredients and refrigerate. Add the fruit when time to serve.


Balloon Wine
Makes 5 bottles
1 large can of frozen then thawed grape juice
1 large can of frozen then thawed apple juice
1/4 teaspoon dry yeast
4 cups sugar
1 gallon distilled water
1 thick toy punching balloon

Mix the juice, yeast, and sugar. Funnel into a glass gallon jug. Fill with distilled water. Attach the balloon securing it with string. Set the jug in a dark place for three weeks while the balloon inflates. When the balloon deflates slowly pour out without disturbing the sediment. Discard sediment. Chill in bottles.


Fake Absinthe
Makes 1 pint
2 1/2 tsp dried wormwood
1 pint vodka
2 teaspoons chopped angelica root
3 teaspoons crushed anise seed
3 crushed cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon crushed fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon marjoram

Place the wormwood in vodka for two days, filter, add remaining herbs and let sit for one week. Filter and then bottle. Serve by dropping a sugar cube in the bottom of a cordial glass. Wormwood can be found by searching in the Internet. Real Absinthe has been illegal in America since 1912. It’s been known to have hallucination properties. It’s the green drink seen in Moulin Rouge with Nicole Kidman.


Infused Gin, Rum, and Vodka
Makes 1 bottle
1 bottle of gin, rum, or vodka
Spice, fruit, or herb of your choice

Get a large mouthed glass container to make an infusion. You want to wash anything you are using to remove all possible pesticides. Place your chosen spice, fruit, or herb in the container then add the alcohol. Close the lid and place somewhere away from direct sunlight and letting it sit from four days to two weeks. Strain, then bottle when finished.

2 weeks: Whole chili peppers, pineapple, fresh ginger, and lemongrass.
1 week: Cantaloupes, strawberries, peaches, mangoes, pitted cherries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries.
4 days: Vanilla beans, lemons, oranges, grapefruit, limes, mint, garlic, tarragon, basil, oregano, dill, and thyme.


Hot Buttered Rum Mix
Makes 25 servings
3 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3 tablespoons clover honey
1 tablespoon rum extract
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

Mix all the ingredients together then put in a jar with a lid and store in the fridge. You can also fill an ice cube tray with the mix then put the tray in a freezer bag and pop one out when needed.

To make Hot Buttered Rum add 11/2 ounces of light or dark rum in a mug, a big spoonful of the mix then fill with hot water.


Whipped Cream
Makes 4 servings
1/2 pint whipping cream
3 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cap of vanilla extract

Whip cream with an electric mixer or hand whisk and as it begins to thicken slowly add the sugar and vanilla. Refrigerate.


Makes 6 cups
Sour mix is probably the most confusing mixer of all for most beginner bartenders. It’s just lemon and limejuice mixed with simple syrup (sugar and water). However most bars supply a sweet-n-sour mix that comes in a concentrated or powder form that you add water to. Understand that this is for cost reasons because fresh squeezed citrus juice in mass amounts is too expensive and time consuming for the average bar. If you’ve looked at other recipes books, you’ll see that recipes call for fresh squeezed lemon or limejuice and a spoon of sugar. Basically, this is sweet-n-sour mix made to order. The water from the ice provides the water needed to balance out the lime and sugar. Got it? Next time you are at your local liquor or grocery store take a gander at the mixer aisle and look at the crap they sell there. Bottles pretending to be sweet-n-sour will say, Margarita Mix, Sour Mix, and Whiskey Sour mix. Now look at the ingredient labels because they practically all say the same thing; water, sugar, corn sweetener, citric acid, lemon flavor or lime flavor, sodium benzoate, sodium citrate, polysorbate, potassium sorbate, and some yellow or green color # from the FD&C. Now are you ready to make real sour mix?

Juice from 6 lemons
Juice from 6 limes
4 cups of sugar
6 cups water

When you mix the juice and simple syrup together you’re striving to reach a perfect balance of sweet and a perfect balance of sour. Keep taste testing until you find your preference because not all lemons and limes yield the same amount of juice.
Mixing half lemons and half limes makes a great all purpose sour mix. Margaritas should have lime juice and a Whiskey Sour should have lemon juice. You can make individual batches if you prefer.


Handmade Simple Syrup
Makes 3 cups
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

Heat the sugar and the water in a pan on the stove while stirring. When it starts to a boil reduce the heat and continue to stir for another 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it cool. The result is simple syrup. It can be stored in the fridge for a long time.
You can also make a no cook simple syrup by filling a bottle half with sugar and half with lukewarm water. Shake then after the cloudiness clears, shake again. For sugar-free simple syrup replace sugar with Splenda.



Raspberry Liqueur
Makes 2 1/2 cups
1 pint fresh raspberries
2 1/2 cups Vodka
1 vanilla bean
1/4 tsp. whole allspice
1/2 cup simple syrup

Wash berries and lightly crush to release flavor. Add vodka, vanilla bean, and allspice. Stir and store in a large mouthed bottle in cool dark place for 3 weeks. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth and squeeze as much juice as possible. Pour back in bottle, add sugar syrup to taste. Age another 3-5 weeks.


Makes 1 bottle
1 bottle (750ml) vodka
1 cup simple syrup
7 lemon zests

Wash lemons with a brush and hot water to remove any pesticides or wax and zest the lemons. Pour 1/2 of the vodka in a gallon glass jar and add zest. Cover and let sit at room temperature for 20 days. Add the simple syrup and remaining vodka and let sit for another 20 days.


Handmade Bloody Mary Mix
Makes 16 cups
2 (46 ounce) cans tomato juice
2 teaspoons celery salt
4 ounces lemon juice
1 ounce of limejuice
1 (5 ounce) bottle Lea & Perrins Worcestershire sauce
Tabasco sauce to taste
Salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate. Feel free to experiment with raw horseradish, wasabi, A-l steak sauce, beef bouillon, chili powder, cayenne pepper, white pepper, pickle juice, or bitters.