Last year about this time, there were a lot of tinctures being made in my household. We were making them to add to cocktails (you can add a drop or two to a cocktail or spritz the top for an aromatic). We'd made cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, black pepper, chile, espresso...and then I decided to make a tincture from our Christmas tree.
I wasn't sure if it would work, but it ended up being one of our most successful. In fact, the bottle I have from last year still smells as fresh and amazing as it did when I first bottled it. So why would anyone make a tincture out of their Christmas tree? Well, we gave them as Christmas "cards" to my husband's mixology circle. It was fun and maybe this year we'll actually come up with a cocktail to accompany it.
But I think it's a nice gift to give anyone who could use a dose of Christmas spirit - friends who don't buy trees because their apartments are too small, elderly friends and family members who've decided a tree is too much trouble, friends and coworkers who spend too much time working in windowless offices. You can spritz it on your wrists, in the air, on your linens...all natural, no overly perfumed, artificial air freshener. Christmas in a bottle.
To make it, simply snip some fresh sprigs of pine (stems and all) and place them in a wide-mouthed, airtight jar (such as a Mason jar). Cover the pine sprigs with grain alcohol or 100 proof vodka (the vodka will take longer, however). Shake it up and place it in a cool, dark cupboard. Shake it at least once a day and start checking it after a couple of weeks. You'll know it's ready when the smell of pine replaces the smell of alcohol. At that point, strain it, bottle it and give it away or store it out of direct sunlight (which will cause the potency to fade).
Tip: If you trim the bottom branches off your Christmas tree when you buy it, use those to make tinctures. Otherwise, there are many lots that will give you the discarded branches or sell them for a few bucks - and you don't need a whole lot. But don't bother making tinctures from branches that have been cut awhile back and are already drying out. The more resinous the branch, the better.