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If your friends are anything like mine you know someone who needs a stiff drink and a laugh this time of year. That is where the Holiday First Aid Kit comes in! It is a self contained package that allows them to sneak off and have a quick pick me up at those "dry" family gatherings.

For the Kit I made Scotch Whisky Cherries, Grand Marnier Cocktail Onions & Vodka Horseradish. I made several jars of each but made sure to pack some of each into those small jam jars that you get with hotel breakfasts to package into the first aid kit. The larger jars will be used as stocking stuffers or saved for New Years Eve. In my liquor cabinet I had several small "airplane" bottles of various liquor - these tend to now come attached to full sized bottles as samples and tend to multiply as time goes on so this is a perfect way to get rid of them without looking cheap!
 
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Step 1: Scotch Whisky Cherries

Picture of Scotch Whisky Cherries
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Everyone always hates those neon red "glowing" maraschino cherries with their chemical after-taste BUT these are a totally different animal: Fresh red cherries, pitted and preserved in Johnnie Walker Scotch Whisky.

Ingredients:
  • 3 pounds pitted cherries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups scotch whisky

Equipment:
  • Knife
  • Tweezers
  • Jars with Lids

Step 2: Prep Cherries

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We need to pit the cherries but we also need to keep the stem for a traditional cocktail Cherry.
  • wash your cherries and pat dry
  • slice an X in the bottom of the cherry
  • carefully insert your tweezers through the cut in the bottom
  • grab the pit with the tweezers and twist as you pull and the pit should come out while leaving the stem intact

Step 3: Can it...

  • Sterilize and warm the jars and lids.
  • Heat water, cinnamon sticks, sugar, and lemon juice over high heat until at a boil.
  • Simmer 5-10 minutes to let the spices infuse.
  • Allow mixture to cool just slightly, and add Scotch.
  • When the mixture is cooling, pack cherries into warm jars.
  • Ladle Scotch mixture over your cherries, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace.
  • Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.

Step 4: Grand Marnier Spiked Cocktail Onions

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Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp. whole black peppercorns
  • 1 cinnamon stick cut into 1/2 inch peices
  • 1 tbsp. whole cloves
  • 2 cups Grand Marnier
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. kosher salt
  • 10 oz. white pearl onions, peeled

Step 5: Can the Onions

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  • bring Grand Marnier, vinegar, sugar, salt & water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat
  • stir until sugar & salt dissolve
  • add onions and cook for 1 minute
  • place peppercorns, cinnamon sticks & cloves in jars
  • transfer onions and brine to jars and seal with lid
  • let cool to room temperature
  • refrigerate at least 4 hours before using.

Step 6: Vodka Horseradish

There is nothing like a Spicy Bloody Mary to pick you up in the morning after a holiday party (or the Canadian favorite a "Bloody Caesar" which switches tomato juice for "Clamato" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clamato).

Ingredients:
  • 1 Horseradish Root
  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
  • 1/2 tbsp Kosher Salt
  • 1/2 cup Vodka

Instructions:
  • peel the horseradish root
  • cut into 1/2 pieces
  • grate finely in food processor
  • add lemon juice, vodka & salt
  • fill jars and process in water bath

Step 7: First Aid box

It is surprisingly hard to find a small first aid kit box. The cheap ones I found were soft sided "bags", the ones with hard plastic sides were expensive. I ended up fining a small metal hinged lid box that was slightly smaller than I wanted but was deep enough to fit the small jars and wide enough to fit a liquor bottle.

After a coat of white spray paint I taped off a cross on the front and painted the "red cross". Once the paint was dry I spray painted several layers of clear coat over top to make protect it and give a nice glossy look. To hold the contents in place I cut a gift box slightly larger than the inside of the metal box. The sides were folded down so that the cardboard top would sit about 3/4 of an inch from the top. Using the jars and liquor bottle as a guide I cut the cardboard so that the jars & bottle would sit snugly through the top and would not move once the metal lid is closed.

Using 1 inch round stickers I printed labels to identify the jar ingredients: a cherry, an onion & a horseradish root. These were applied to the lids of the jars. For the inside I printed a lid insert again with the red cross and the text "Holiday First Aid Kit". This was cut out and secured to the inside of the box lid. On the same paper I also printed two drink recipes. This paper would be cut and placed on top of the contents to add a bit more mystery when the gift would be opened. To easily remove this recipe card I taped a small piece of red ribbon to the paper as a "pull tab".

Step 8: The First Aid Kit

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Due to the size of the box I could only include one bottle and two jars. I am going to go and try to find additional larger box or may end up just using one of the soft vinyl first aid kit bags to make an additional kit.


For the "horseradish" kit I would like to include one of those little tomato juice cans as well as the Vodka. I will also pick up some salt and pepper packages from a fast food place and maybe a small glass cup. I also found the smallest bottle of bitters that I have ever seen (just enough for two drinks) you can see it with the yellow lid in the picture above...

There are so many options, just pick a drink theme and go wild!  :-)
l8nite2 years ago
This is a really neat idea. I'll have to try the horseradish. I have pearl onions in vodka as well as pearl tomatoes (there's to many to eat in those little containers) I also have jalapeno and habanero peppers preserved in vodka. Not only do the veggies get the flavor/bite of the alcohol the alcohol gets some of the vegetables flavor and or heat
vincent75202 years ago
Aaaaaah !... Now we're talking !

That's what I call true medical help !...

;)
lord_kian2 years ago
A really great idea. I have to make one.
Those cherries sound fantastic. Want!
vanweb (author)  jessyratfink2 years ago
they were the highlights of the project. so much better then the mass produced stuff and really not that much more money... and when they are all eaten you still have "cherry whiskey" left in the jar for cocktails!
Lorddrake2 years ago
Awesome job.
srohwer2 years ago
I love this. I'm doing this next year for my brother with a bottle of vodka and a can of lemonade.