Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

GIFT IDEA: Spice-It-Yourself Rum

It's getting down to the wire, do you have all of your Christmas/winter holiday shopping done? If not, and your intended recipient is over 21 and likes the booze, then check out this idea, which is both easy and fun, and personalized.

You can make your own spiced rum! It only takes a couple of days, or even a day if you are in a hurry, and even if you are not a master chef, it's pretty hard to mess up. And the elements are entirely up to you.

For my version, I used a spice combination I found on, except I used a 1.25 L bottle, so I upped the spice quantities as well, and I let it steep for three days instead of one for more flavor. I monitored the smell and flavor day by day and ended up adding more orange zest, as I found the orange mellowed and rounded out the rest of the flavors.

But you can use any combination of spices you like - you could also use ginger, lime or lemon zest, rosemary, black pepper, bay, nutmeg, or anything you like - be creative! Just monitor the flavor to make sure the taste is nice. All you have to do is throw the spices directly into the bottle of rum, and let it work.

Once you've got the blend to your satisfaction, all you have to do is find a bottle for it and make a nice label. I also recommend that when it's ready you do a taste test alongside Captain Morgan. I never realized what absolute crap the Captain was until I tasted it next to my homemade version. Captain Morgan, you will discover, when tasting it next to a real spiced rum, is basically just vanilla rum. Not that's there's anything wrong with vanilla, one of my favorite flavors, but it's a pretty bland showing when there are so many lovely spices out there to put in a rum.

When you bottle it, it really helps if you have a graphic designer handy. The labels come out so much better than when you try to do them yourself! But if you don't live with a graphic designer, then I would suggest that you either learn some graphic design skills, or do as I do - just make the thing look like you are being rustic ON PURPOSE. There is such a thing as shabby chic, after all. And I doubt that pirates had fancy labels on their bottles of rum and grog and such.


Home-flavored spirits are an excellent gift idea! I'm playing with the idea of making a strawberry-flavored tequila myself....

Of course, it should go without saying that folks trying this out should use a decent-quality spirit to begin with (instead of hoping that the spices & flavorings will cover up cheapness!)

said by H. C. at 2:51 PM Delete

Awww... Your label is adorable!

said by Chubbypanda at 4:00 PM Delete

Heather made "Mandarino" -- a limoncello except with mandarin oranges instead of lemons. It's AWESOME. Made labels and a tag explaining it and all this stuff. she's cool.

If I was in a mood to blog lately I'd've posted pics. Bleh. I'm glad you were motivated to do so . . . yay KT!

said by Jeremy at 10:51 PM Delete

the only bad thing is that we only have a little left :(

said by Anyanka at 4:25 PM Delete

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