Handmade Holidays: Scott Rocketship chats about making last year's holiday gifts — homemade alcoholic infusions
Happy Holidays! Er... Happy beginning of November at least. We're so excited for holiday shopping that we're starting NOW with some interviews with the rad Market Day staffers. I asked them about their giving season and how they decide what to gift. To kick it off, I caught up with Scott Kubie about his adventures in infusions — or making his own liquor. He and Cat gave their homemade concoctions to everyone on their list, for a unique-yet-all-inclusive gift. Read on to see how he did it.
Hey Scott! Thanks for chatting. First off, kudos on the (very original) idea to gift homemade liquor for the holidays — that's awesome. How did the notion come about?
I'm not 100 percent sure, but it may have come from my brief flirtation with using Pinterest. Cat and I had actually finally saved up for Christmas gifts all year last year (using SmartyPig) and had a modest budget for gifts. I think having a set budget changed our perspective on gift giving a little bit, and made it easier to approach the whole thing like a project. We decided we wanted to make something ourselves that people would be able to enjoy pretty universally — nothing is worse than a handmade gift you don't like and feel like you have to hang on to.
And that was liquor. (And I heard that you'd never made it before? Crazy!) Did you go through any bad batches before deciding it was ready to be gifted?
Some of the infusions, like lemons and oranges, only took a few days. Others, like the spices, took almost a month. So ... we didn't necessarily have time to "test" them. Our quality control was essentially, "Does it still smell like booze? Yes? Good. Is it cloudy? No? Good."
Ha! Cool. What was the general response from the giftees?
The response was a mix of confusion and excitement. We have very kind friends, so if they didn't like it they weren't letting on :) I'm not certain everyone has even tried their infusions yet, but we kind of planned for that by choosing interesting bottles and putting custom designs on them. We wanted people to still get value out of the container even if the liquor didn't turn out all that great.
Had you ever decided to give one gift to all your friends and family before?
We'd never done the one-size-fits-all route, but I found it really great. It was easy to scale the scope of the gift up or down simply by including more bottles. We put infusions into many different sized containers and also included mixers like cinnamon sticks and spices for spiced rum so that everyone could get a gift that felt substantial.
That sounds like a great system. Would you do it again?
If we do it again I'll probably pick something that doesn't require as much wait time. It was a little nerve-wracking being a couple hundred dollars into our Christmas budget with stuff we couldn't be 100 percent certain was going to turn out. I guess I could also start earlier, but I know myself well enough to say that's not going to happen.
Ha — happens to the best of us. In your opinion, what's the coolest thing about making your own holiday gifts?
Making your own holiday gifts lets you put more of your personality into it. Cat had been making a lot of street art inspired graphics and posters and stuff in the fall of last year and we carried that aesthetic into the packaging and stencils on the bottles.
What are you planning to gift this year? Anything awesomely handmade?
No handmade plans yet, though you've definitely got me thinking about it. I've been looking for a project to make use of my recently refinished garage and new workbench and miter saw, so if we go handmade it might involve some carpentry work.
Ooh, carpentry. Best of luck. Anything else you want to share about last year's infusion-making extravaganza?
If you need a particular item in bulk for your handmade gifts, be it bags, bottles, fabric, yarn, whatever — make sure and shop for it early. Getting enough bottles of the right size with the right kind of seal was actually the hardest part of the whole thing.
Thanks for sharing, Scott! We'll have more posts with Market Day organizers about their holiday plans, so stay tuned.
Do you have any great plans for giving handmade this holiday season? Let us know! We'd love to hear about it.