Oct 27, 2016

How to: Make DIY Whiskey Flavored Toothpicks

created at: 02/04/2014

My grandfather was a toothpick guy. Like, he had a seven-or-eight-a-day habit. When he died and we helped my grandmother do a clean sweep of the house, my aunt found more than one hundred individual ones tucked away into couch cushions and drawers and pockets. Last year, when my grandmother passed away and we prepped the house for selling, we found at least a couple dozen more stashed away. 

He and I weren't very close. He was a traditional, working-class member of the greatest generation and I was a little too artistic and sensitive for his taste. He was the kind of guy who was inclined to build walls, and I was outside them. He was often incredibly critical and sometimes very cruel to me. But, on the better days, when I grew into a teenager and later as a young adult, my grandparents and I would go to a diner or a breakfast spot. And when it came time to pay the bill, he'd grab a handful of toothpicks and pass a few to me. Cause - I think - in his mind, men just used a toothpick after a meal. 

All of which is to say: toothpicks are also "thing" in my mind, and whiskey is a thing in my heart. So, when I saw these flavored high-quality toothpicks on the excellent Huckberry last week, I thought it was certainly something worth a try. No, these DIY versions not made of "veneer quality birch" but they're super easy, and they smell amazing. All for a couple ounces of whiskey, 75¢ worth of toothpicks, and five minutes of work.

These would make a great gift for any whiskey fan, and would be super easy to make in bulk to give as favors, to your groomsmen, or to someone special for Valentine's Day. You'll never be able to use a regular toothpick again.


created at: 02/04/2014


  • Whisky - I used about 3 1/2 oz. of a single malt Scotch from Islay, which has a strong smoky, peaty smell that gives the toothpicks that characteristic aroma
  • Round wooden toothpicks
  • A small bowl that will allow the toothpicks to fit and fully submerge without unnecessarily wasting any Scotch
  • Another smaller bowl that will weight the toothpick down for full coverage.


created at: 02/04/2014

Add the whiskey to the larger bowl and throw in a handful of toothpicks. Place your weight on top, then cover the whole thing with plastic wrap for an airtight seal. This prevents the alcohol from evaporating. 


created at: 02/04/2014

Allow them to soak for 48 hours. After day one, mix them up and flip everything around a bit for full coverage. On the second day, you'll note how much has been either soaked up into the wood, or evaporated, leaving the flavor behind. 

Also - you can drink this if you want. (I did.) It will taste different; all the good stuff now lives inside the toothpicks, and what's left behind is pretty flavorless.


created at: 02/04/2014

Then, lay the toothpicks out in a single layer and allow them to dry for a few hours.


created at: 02/04/2014

That's it. Total of five minutes. These definitely take on the strong aroma of Scotch, and after you've warmed them in your mouth for a few moments, you can definitely taste it as well. I mean, they still taste like toothpick, but they also taste like awesome. A great way to end a meal.


created at: 02/04/2014

To store them, I'm using a waterproof match safe I keep with my backpacking gear. They fit perfectly. Any small container will do: small glass vials, a film canister, pill bottles... even a dedicated toothpick holder.


There it is. A simple way to make an ordinary experience something special. 


Oh, and here's a nice, social media-friendly image. Feel free to share on Pinterest!

created at: 02/04/2014



Edited from a post previously published in February 2014


Post Comments

Add Your Comment!

(2000 character limit)

Chris on Dec 27, 2017:

@Farmgirl - We've done this several times with great success. In the instructions, we recommend doing this with a strong, peaty whiskey that has a characteristic aroma.

What whiskey did you use?

Farmgirl on Dec 24, 2017:

My husband is a toothpick addict. And he love's his whiskey. I thought that this would be an awesome DIY gift for Xmas. WRONG. I soaked the toothpicks for 48 hours and then let them dry. I tried one. Tasted like a toothpick to me. So I went so far as to soak them again for 24 hours (that was all the time I had in order to let them dry and give them to him on Xmas morning). Again, I was horribly disappointed. There was no whiskey flavor at all.

Keith D Ahlstrom on Nov 01, 2016:


What is the container you used


MaidMirawyn on Dec 13, 2014:

Great tutorial! I made some flavored toothpicks with essential oils for my husband. I'm passing this along to friends.

If you can find the sliding-top tins, the larger size (3.11") holds toothpicks great. The smaller size is too short.

Samantha on Jun 10, 2014:

Can you do this with Budweiser? My dad loves budweiser lol

Patti on Apr 17, 2014:

As a kid, we did the same thing with cinnamon oil from our neighborhood drug store.

Anonymous on Apr 16, 2014:

Check out www.Daneson.com for fantastic flavored toothpicks. Made in Canada & the USA

They are packaged perfectly for gifts and I use them all the time.

better than anyone could DIY!

Dazslueski on Feb 24, 2014:

HAHA I literally am doing the same thing.  I'm on Huckberry and think.  I want to do this.  Thanks Man.  I'm doing this this so I can pass them out at the cabin this weekend!!  Of course whickey will already be on our breath haha.  

Lisa on Feb 17, 2014:

Thanks Chris! I started a new batch with a single malt Scotch from the Balvenie that seems to be going better. It smells much stronger and smokier, much heavier. I couldn't find Islay near me (small town) so hopefully this will work!  I think the Jameson was just to delicate, I had a few picks in my mouth foe quite a while, and just tasted like balsa ;).

Chris on Feb 17, 2014:

Hey Lisa - Yeah, the whiskey choice here is essential. You need something with a really strong aroma that's more than just "oak" or "alcohol" since it's those compounds that will soak into the wood. I'd suggested an Islay whisky since their nose is so characteristically peaty and smoky, and its the aroma that really sets these apart from just "toothpick"

Also - the flavor will come out more after a few minutes of being warmed in the mouth, so perhaps your Jameson toothpicks worked out, they just need a few minutes to come to life.

Lisa on Feb 15, 2014:

Hi Chris, I am loving the site! I tried making the whisky toothpicks to give as a gift but they didn't fare well so I had some questions - I did use Jameson and soaked for two and a half days. Dried them on parchment paper. They don't have much (any) flavor, so I'm guessing it was the whisky (you suggest single malt)? I'd like to try again, help? :)