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December 17th, 2010

I Think I Got Allspice In My Eyes: A Science Thing


Last night I made home made mulling spices because I felt many of my coworkers deserved a gift. Mulled cider is my favorite winter beverage, but I’ve never made the blend from scratch before. And of course, because I didn’t get my crap together in time, I didn’t get a chance to test it out. So it really was mostly an experiment. But I feel confident enough that none of you will ever try any of my recipes in my abilities, that I’m going to post how I arrived at my final gift product here.


The purpose of this gift experiment was to come across as a thoughtful, well-organized person with many talents that included, but were not limited to, vast knowledge of spices, clever packaging skills, and the ability to draw holly berries free hand. Also, because I wanted to be nice and give people something for Christmas. (Yeah, I said it– Christmas. Not “The Holidays.”)


Materials Used:

2 oz. whole allspice
dried orange peel
1 1/2 Cups whole cloves
24 Cinnamon Sticks
Ice cream scoop (or other blunt instrument)
Cheese Cloth
Glass mug

Methods Used:

Cool metal tins and 99¢ ribbon were purchased at a craft store the day before the experiment. Laziness prevented a trip to Whole Foods for spices and whatnot that evening, so they were purchased at 9pm the night of the experiment.

The metal tins were turned over and it was discovered that they were “not intended to hold consumables.”* A small swear-fest was held in the kitchen until the lab assistant discovered that Bed Bath and Beyond would open the next morning at 8am and that they had many containers in stock.

Preparations continued by placing the cinnamon sticks and allspice into a bowl and bashing them repeatedly with the end of an ice cream scoop until they were cracked and more capable of releasing fragrance. This was done in the living room while the lab assistant was trying to watch Raising Hope.

Cloves and dried orange peel were added and mixed around while I fretted about whether or not people would actually like this, and when, if ever, I’d be able to assemble them.

Pile O' Spice

The mixture (pictured above) was put into a tupperware and put, along with the twine, the cheese cloth and the ribbon into a large shopping bag.

At 7:50 am the next day, I arrived at Bed Bath and Beyond and waited, along with 4 old ladies, for the store to open. When it did, I ran inside, and immediately noticed that all of the tins were either too small or ten dollars.

To combat this set back, I located six two dollar mugs and placed them into my cart and then raced off to work.

The gifts were assembled between phone calls and meetings at my desk over a paper napkin (my hands were washed). I placed two spoonfuls of the mixture into a square of cheese cloth, and tied it closed with the twine, placing a whole cinnamon stick into the knot for aesthetic benefit. I placed three of these little bags into each mug, and tied some ribbon to the base. A card instructing the receiver to add the bag to four cups of cider and heat in a saucepan was attached to the handle of the mug. The cards were adorned with free hand drawings of holly berries.


Sack O' Spice
Mug O' Spice
Freehand Holly Berry


Over all, I think people really liked them. They were a neat little package, and everyone is about done with buttery, sugary treats, so they seem refreshing. Plus the whole office smells like Christmas now. I really liked how the little sachets turned out. And my freehand holly berries aren’t too bad, if I do say so myself.

However, the question still remains: Will people use them? Will people like them? Will they take one sip and spit their cider across the room? Did I put in too many cloves? Why did I touch my eyes after I mixed those things around?

Only time will tell.

Literature Cited

“*” Crafts, Michaels; “Not For Consumable Products”; Bullshit On The Back Of The Tins I Bought;  2010

4 comments to I Think I Got Allspice In My Eyes: A Science Thing

  • SacredCactusBulock

    Wow so pretty! I can smell the cinnamon in my mind!

  • Steve the Cat

    If I were you I’d try to flood the Chinese market with this stuff. Just to try to get back at those bastards…

  • Went through the same sort of thing at Michaels crafts looking for boxes in order to get rid of …heh…’gift’….some of the candy I have been making for weeks which I suddenly realized can’t be eaten by many of the family members coming for Christmas eve because of nut allergies. The Christmas eve menu is causing infinite stress at the moment due to celiac diease, nut allergies and a Jewish son in law with an aversion to ham. I am on it though!

  • […]     A friend’s  recent blog post about her hilarious misadventures in making her favorite seasonal drink for gifts, prompted me to […]

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