- Use clear wine bottles, Orangina bottles or any other decorative bottle you can get your hands on. Bottles that previously contained fancy oils (preferably that someone else overpaid for) are also ideal. Be sure to wash thoroughly before filling.
- Purchase your olive oil in one-gallon cans from a Middle Eastern market or your local bulk food store. Ask for a robust oil, but don't splurge on anything too virginal, since the delicate flavoring will be overwhelmed by the herbs.
- Fresh rosemary sprigs
- Fresh thyme sprigs
- Dried Italian herbs or herbes de provence
- Dried chili peppers
- Peeled garlic cloves (if you choose to add these, the cloves must be removed within four days to avoid scary health problems that could ruin Christmas dinner)
- Whole black or multicolored peppercorns
- Labels and hand tags: Just improvise. Use fancy paper, or make a prototype and then color copy it. If you've got kids, steal their crayons, or better still, let them do the designing. If you go the label route, pick up a spray can of 3M super 77 Spray Adhesive at your local art store or Staples outlet.
- Spouts: Liquor pouring spouts can be found in most grocery stores, as well as all restaurant supply stores and Williams-Sonoma. For the initial presentation, cork the bottle and hang the spout around its neck.
- After corking the bottle, dip the top in melted paraffin wax or sealing wax.
- Simply stuff a selection of the flavoring ingredients into the bottle and add oil. As a general rule, the more the merrier. Make sure the contents are totally submerged in the oil to prevent mold from forming. It generally takes four days for flavors to impregnate the oil.
Le Secret: Stick a chopstick or fondue fork in the bottle to create an appealing arrangement.
The Adventure Club: Save up the Sunday comics and use them as wrapping paper.
Liability Disclaimer: The International Olive Oil Council's manual states that flavored oils should be refrigerated and consumed in two days. Let this fact be your guide. Although I am not encouraging you to follow my irreverent ways (in this particular instance), I keep my flavored oil for months and display it on my kitchen counter.