Share our Strength Holiday Table

share our strength holiday table food woolf

There may not be snow on the ground here in Los Angeles but the twinkling lights, lawn ornaments, Christmas trees, and car-top menorahs are a clear indicator that many in this city are celebrating the winter holidays. December rolls around and people all over our country begin planning the many ways to celebrate the joy of the season. But not everyone has the means to fulfill those dreams. Many struggle to find the money to pay the bills and put food on the table.

What’s worse, there are millions of hungry children (two in every ten kids in America) that will slip through the cracks without a meal because of the social stigma surrounding hunger. Many would rather skip a meal than reach out for help. Silent suffering needn’t be the answer.

Share Our Strength, a non-profit dedicated to finding a way to get food to our youngest and neediest citizens, wants to eliminate childhood hunger in America by 2015. Thanks to the efforts of volunteers and supporters, Share Our Strength (SOS) created 4.5 million meals for needy children in 2009.

In hopes of raising awareness about childhood hunger in the US—especially during this holiday season–SOS has asked a handful of food bloggers to participate in an online progressive fundraising dinner.  Starting December 6th and ending December 14th, food bloggers like Deliciously Organic, Gluten Free Girl, Devour the World, Ladles and Jellyspoons, Recipe Girl, Tartlette, The Urban Baker, What’s Gaby Cooking, and Hunger Angler Gardener Cook will feature unique recipes (appetizers, drinks, entrees, desserts and side dishes) on their websites to give people great ideas for holiday eating and drinking—while also raising awareness for a really important cause.

Raising a glass and awareness

It was an honor to be asked to participate in this year’s virtual dinner party as a cocktail contributor. I wanted to write about holiday cocktails because I think it’s important to remember that cocktails, like gifts from the heart, don’t need to be over the top to be good. Sometimes, its the simple and thoughtful things that are most appreciated.

With simplicity in mind, I decided to share with you my recipe for a simple infused vodka. Though an infusion does take a little time to bring out the flavors (I recommend about two weeks at least for a good infusion), this recipe for crab-apple-infused vodka is so good it made me re-think my assumptions about vodka. The sweet flavors of the crab apple are delicate at first, but over time the flavors of the crab apple become more substantial. Make no mistake, there is no jolly-rancher green fake apple flavors to be had when you make your own crab apple vodka. As a matter of fact, this crab-apple vodka is so good, it’s the kind of thing you’ll want to make several batches of, just so you can keep some on hand for yourself and give the rest away as gifts.

Really, it’s that good.

crab apple vodka recipe food woolf


Crab Apple Vodka

Crab apple vodka gets better the longer you let the apples soak. I still have a jar of the stuff from several months ago sitting in my freezer, and I have been want to sip at the stuff like a digestive after an extraordinarily large meal or have poured it freely into a hot mulled cider (cider plus a stick of cinnamon and star anise)*.

1 lb crab apples, halved

1 bottle vodka

sugar, if desired

1 large ball jar

Place the halved apples in a large ball jar and fill with vodka. Seal the container and leave on a shelf (not in direct sunlight). Turn and lightly agitate the jar once a week. Taste after two weeks. Add sugar if an immediate sweetness is desired. Otherwise, wait a month and then taste again. Put in freezer once the desired flavor has emerged.

*Though not everyone drinks, I think it’s always a good idea to have a couple of great drink options available to all your guests. Though fresh fruit juice and soda water is a great option for the non-alcoholic crew during most of the year, the holidays are a perfect occasion to offer hot, mulled cider without a hint of alcohol. It’s a tasty drink that doesn’t require any doctoring (but is great tasting if you do)!

December 7:


Family Friendly


Gluten Free


Brooke Burton nominated for best food writing

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Food Woolf Written by:

Brooke Burton is an Los Angeles-based restaurant professional and hospitality expert. She is a freelance food writer, speaker, and co-author of The Food Blog Code of Ethics.


  1. December 7

    It’s such an honor to participate in this event with you and the other Share Our Holiday Table bloggers. Everyone’s perspective and info shared adds a little more to the picture on why we should support Share Our Strength and also look out for those in need in other ways. Thank you for your moving words in your post!

    I never considered crab apples and vodka, but now I definitely want some of this infused vodka! I love different alcoholic beverages for the holidays. I like the idea of using yours as a gift, too. I definitely might be using your recipe … thank goodness there’s still time!


  2. Brooke, I agree with you – we do not drink over here, but a great part of celebration is not only the food but the drink. This cocktail looks great!
    So glad we can reach out as a group to share this important message about ending childhood hunger. xo

  3. December 7

    I’ve done home brewing (mead) with apples but for some reason it never dawned on me to flavor booze with it. Something about the apples browning just burned in my brain and I thought it was a bad idea.

    I’m so going to try this !!!! Its genius!

  4. December 7

    Great drink for a wonderful organization and cause!

  5. I’ve never infused vodka before… what a fun idea for a simple cocktail. Happy to be a part of this virtual party w/ you Brooke!

  6. This crab apple infused vodka looks so delicious. I can think of so many ways to use that in a cocktail!

  7. Brooke! I love you!

    I have been trying to figure out what to make my friends for Christmas this year (every year I made a food item gift) and now I am inspired to make this infused vodka!

    Thank you and love the post as always :)

  8. December 7

    Hi Brooke;

    I’m the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (, a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It’s sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I’d love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!

    (I’m also a big fan of Share Our Strength. I volunteered at last year’s event here in San Francisco.)

  9. December 7

    FABULOUS! I’m loving looking forward to each new day to see what everyone comes up with. You definitely did not disappoint with your contribution (not that I’m surprised)!

  10. I love apple – and apple drinks. And this looks so easy! Thank you for sharing. It’s great to work with you for Share Our Strength!

  11. December 7

    What a great idea! I infuse vodka with vanilla, thus making my own vanilla extract, so this apple infused vodka makes perfect sense. Can’t wait to try it! Isn’t this an amazing event?! The posts from the other food bloggers is just incredible – what a wealth of information! And the cause is one worthy of serious attention. I’m so glad to have the opportunity to add my voice to everyone else’s.

  12. I wouldn’t have thought of infusing crab apples. Great idea, and I bet cider spiked with crab apple vodka is fantastic! I’m looking forward to posting a dessert for the dinner.

  13. How wonderful: a good cause + a good recipe!!!
    During the fall I infused vodka with muscadine grapes and a vanilla bean… it was amazing. I can imagine how delectable this infusion will be.

  14. December 7

    I think this cause is amazing. Bloggers have such a supportive community. Thanks for raising my awareness!
    I don’t drink, but I am very curious as to what a crab apple infused drink might taste like. Wonder if I could make it non alcoholic!

  15. December 8

    i love you. your writing is warm, inviting, and tender. i feel blessed and honored to be a part of this wonderful, progressive dinner. and i feel even more blessed that i have food in my fridge, dinner on the table, and a group of friends whom are so conscious and so generous. this is really all i need!

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