'DIY' on Serious Eats

We Try The HomeMade Gin Kit

For many, the phrase "homemade gin" may conjure up images of bathtub distilleries during Prohibition, and rotgut stuff not really fit for human consumption. Sarah Maiellano and her husband Joe see it differently. They're the folks behind The HomeMade Gin Kit, a package that transforms your self-supplied vodka into gin. It's a lot safer than actually distilling at home, and legal, too. More

DIY vs. Buy: How to Make Your Own Orange Soda

Most orange soda has more in common with orange the color than the fruit, but that doesn't stop me from craving it. The reason I drink soda isn't because I think it's full of vitamins and minerals. I drink it because it tastes good. My idea of the perfect orange soda is the fast-food fountain Orange Crush and Sunkist that I grew up with, even though as an adult I know it's just a bunch of corn syrup and artificial flavoring. Luckily, DIY orange soda delivers the same satisfying combination of sweet and tart you get from the commercial version without the questionable ingredients. More

DIY vs. Buy: How to Make Your Own Root Beer Liqueur

I like to think of root beer as the gateway beverage into the big, bad world of booze. Even though it's a big leap from A&W to Fernet Branca, there's definitely a connection between what makes a good root beer and what makes a good alcoholic beverage. This homemade root beer liqueur has more in common with an aperitif than it does with a soda, because the sugar is dialed back and the root-and-bark goodness can shine through. More

DIY vs. Buy: How to Make Grape Soda

Most grape-flavored things don't taste like grape at all—they taste like purple. Commercial grape soda walks the line between the taste of real grapes and sugary artificial flavor. Grape soda should be the non-alcoholic, fizzy sister to wine, but instead it seems to be the least appreciated of the sodas. I've had a soft spot for this deep purple, bubbly beverage since childhood, so I was inspired to make a DIY version that has a more natural flavor. More

DIY vs. Buy: How to Make Cherry Bitters

Asking me to pick my favorite cocktail is sort of like asking parents which of their kids is the best. It's a hard question to answer, but deep in my heart, I know. Sorry, Sazerac and Martini, even though I love you so, the Manhattan is easily my favorite drink. So I was surprised that a simple change to this classic drink made me love it even more. More

DIY vs. Buy: How to Make Your Own Cherry Cola

Cherry cola is amazing. Cherry Coke, on the other hand, is a disgusting tease. For a split second there's some cherry flavor, but then it's replaced by a chemical finish that reminds you that no cherries were harmed while making that beverage. I've done some experimenting with adding cherry syrup to store-bought cola, which was good. But making my own cola and cherrying it up was even better. More

DIY vs. Buy: How to Make Advocaat, Dutch Eggnog

When I was a kid, Dutch relatives would bring my family all the treats that were hard to find here in the states. My favorite was hagelslag, which are candy sprinkles that you put on buttered bread. (Boxes of hagelslag guaranteed that I would be allowed to eat candy for breakfast.) The grownups, however, got all excited about a ochre-colored liqueur called advocaat. It looked like an avocado-and-mustard milkshake to me, so when they'd pour themselves a big glass for Christmas, I was never tempted to sneak a sip. After all, these were the same adults who'd rave about salty black licorice, which I knew for a fact was the worst thing I'd ever tasted. More

DIY vs. Buy: How to Make Cranberry Liqueur

Forget about the big jugs of watery cranberry juice on the grocery store shelves—the best way to put these gorgeous red fruits into your drinks is with a homemade cranberry liqueur. Fresh cranberries are ubiquitous this time of year, and turning them into liqueur is a snap. So not only will you have a versatile ingredient for festive Thanksgiving cocktails, but a bottle of this beautiful crimson liqueur also makes a great gift come December. More

DIY vs. Buy: How to Make Aquavit

My liquor cabinet is starting to resemble a liquid United Nations, with almost every region and culture accounted for. Until recently, however, Scandinavia was sorely missing from the General Assembly. Then a bartender in L.A. served me a spritzer that had a savory rye-bread kind of flavor to it that I couldn't quite place. I figured she had gotten creative with a syrup. But when I asked how she got that flavor, she whipped out a bottle of aquavit. I quickly got to work experimenting with making my own. More

DIY vs. Buy: How to Make Pumpkin Liqueur

There's just something cozy about pumpkin and spice, and once autumn's arrived, I want to cram pumpkin into everything I eat and drink. Getting pumpkin into a cocktail can be a little messy and goopy, so I like to whip up a batch of pumpkin liqueur to ensure that I can conveniently drink pumpkin pie cocktails for months to come. This recipe doesn't take long, so you can even finish it in time for that Halloween party you're having. More

DIY vs. Buy: How to Make Swedish Punsch

Prohibition did more than inspire an HBO gangster drama about how Steve Buscemi is rich and sleeps with showgirls while people get shot. Making booze illegal changed the way America drank, banishing a lot of popular ingredients to obscurity. One of the cocktail casualties was Swedish Punsch, a liqueur made with citrus, spices, rum, and a southeastern Asian liquor made with sugar cane and red rice called Batavia Arrack. More

How to Make Don's Mix for Tiki Drinks

Don's Mix is the perfect project for the passing of the seasons. The smell of sugar and cinnamon bubbling on the stove will make you feel ready for all things autumnal. Grapefruit, a perfect citrus for summer by the sea, will also remind you that the day will come, mid-December, when, if you are lucky, you'll look down and find a box of seasonal citrus on your door. More

Barrel-Age Your Own Cocktails for $10

Over the past year or so, it seems that every fancy bar or ambitious restaurant cocktail list has included a barrel-aged cocktail: a cocktail mixed and ready to drink, but instead poured into a mini (or real big) barrel to mellow and take on a little oak flavor. Jeffrey Morgenthaler's method has spread to Chicago and San Francisco, Boston and New York, so of course the DIYers wanted to get in on the action. More

Homebrewing: How To Build Your Own Stir Plate

Brewers make wort and yeast make beer, right? And lots of healthy yeast can make low- or high-alcohol beers with fast, strong, and reliable fermentations. So what can the brewer do to get lots of healthy yeast? Make a starter. And to make a better starter, use a stir plate. More

More Posts