For the men in my life I made something a little different this Christmas. I found this recipe for bay rum aftershave and had to try it. This recipe uses a West Indies bay leaf, Pimenta racemosa, which is a different type than what you buy at the grocery store, making it hard to find! What I did find was too expensive, so I bought a bottle of Pimenta racemosa essential oil on ebay.
Apparently sailors in the West Indies used to rub the bay leaves on their skin to cover odors. Eventually the bay was combined with the local rum and bay rum was invented to be used in extra manly colognes and aftershaves.
8 TBSP Vodka
2 TBSP Jamaican Rum
Pimenta racemosa essential oil (I used 2 or 3 drops per bottle)
Orange essential oil (1 or 2 drops per bottle or add fresh orange zest)
¼ TSP Allspice
¼ TSP ground cinnamon
Basically I just mixed everything together in a 2-liter bottle. Let it sit a couple days, shaking it up every once in a while. Then strained it through coffee filters and bottled it up in recycled yeast bottles.
Yeast bottles worked perfectly for the aftershave and I added a label on the lid along with a tag explaining the origin of bay rum.
I wrapped each bar in wax paper, tied with ribbon, and made muscle man labels.
All in all I spent about $50 on ingredients and made thoughtful, handmade gifts for 6 people. Plus I have quite a bit of rum left! I tested both products on my boyfriend and they met his satisfaction. And mine, he still smelled very manly after a full day of work!