This year, think outside of the wine or champagne bottle and show your appreciation for the mad skills of the bartender or brewmaster in your life with one of these thoughtful gift ideas.
I know a few people, including myself, who would love any of the items on this curated list of boozy gifts. You know the type: the fridge is fully-stocked with the perfect combination of craft brews and classic beers, the wine fridge is loaded with reds, whites, and a bit of the bubbly for impromptu celebrations, and they love experimenting with flavors and know what it takes to mix the perfect cocktail – the glass, the garnish, shaken or stirred, cube or crushed ice or none at all…
More than just a handsome homage to a whiskey-loving couple, this miniature oak barrel ages spirits to peak flavor, just like its full-sized siblings found in professional distilleries. Its petite proportions accelerate the aging process, meaning that the recipient’s choice of liquor will hit its prime up to ten times faster. Made in Virginia. 2 liter, 5 liter and whiskey/rum kit also available. ($85-$200)
When your oak barrel-aged spirits are ready for sipping, serve them on actual rocks with these handsome granite drink chillers. Hand-crafted from stones collected on New England beaches, these granite discs are ideal for chilling aged spirits, such as whiskey or scotch, because they won’t dilute the complex flavors like a handful of ice. Simply chill the stones, drop two stones in 1 to 2 oz. of fine spirits, let stand for five minutes and enjoy. Set of six comes in a convenient hardwood tray for easy freezing and serving, with two tumblers to boot! ($34)
Savory Cocktails by Greg Henry
Move over sweet. Cocktail aficionados are mixing up creative concoctions that are herbaceous, smoky and strong. Savory Cocktails shakes, stirs and strains nearly 100 hard-hitting distilled delights for a cornucopia of today’s coolest drinks. Using everything from classic liqueurs to innovative new bitters, the recipes in this book offer a stylish, sophisticated approach to complex-flavored cocktails like the Green Tea Gimlet , Yuzu Sour, Silk & Gators, Off-White Negroni and many more, along with information on tools, ingredients and imbibing history.
Cannabis Cocktails by Warren Bobrow
Combining cannabis and cocktails is a hot new trend, and Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics shows you how. Featuring a collection of 75 recipes of cannabis influenced cocktails and drinks; The Cocktail Whisperer Warren Bobrow. Look beyond cocktails and create successful tonics, syrups, shrubs, bitters, compound butter and exotic infused oil to use in any drink.
Vintage Barware and Glassware
Shop local and find the perfect unique vintage glassware to add to your bartender’s collection. In Orange County, visit The Mixing Glass at OC Mix in South Coast Collection (SOCO) or visit their online store. The product mix at The Mixing Glass includes cocktail wares and supplies, bar tools imported from Japan and London, hard-to-find bitters that shoppers can sample, vintage barware and glassware, books, and cocktail kits like the Moscow Mule Kit which includes everything from the traditional copper mug to the ginger beer. The Mixing Glass hosts regular classes ranging from how to make homemade ingredients for cocktails, as well as bar mechanics, and Mixology 101.
The Mixing Glass at OC Mix in Costa Mesa
The pineapple has long been recognized as a symbol of hospitality and there is no better way to welcome guests than with a handcrafted cocktail presented in a memorable vessel. The bartender in your life would surely take pride in welcoming guests with a striking two-piece gold or copper-plated pineapple tumbler brimming with a sophisticated tropical elixir like the Pineapple Under the Sea served at TAPS Fish House & Brewery in Irvine. ($35)
With 19 reusable beer making kits to choose from, there is probably more than one that will suit your recipient’s discerning palate. Your brewmaster is bound to have questions along the way, especially if this is their first rodeo, and Brooklyn BrewShop has detailed instruction guides and videos to help out. Priced between $30 and $45.
This crate has all the goods to celebrate his/her team’s victories or drown the defeats with a pint of their favorite brew in an official, licensed team beer glass. Nobody should drink alone, so there’s a full set of four glasses. Share with three of your team mates or, do a double-fister, no one’s counting. Complete with game day snacks: pistachios, corn nuggets, beer nuts, and shell-on peanuts. Delivered in a sealed wooden crate with a laser-etched crowbar. No bow, no ribbons, no fluff, and absolutely no instructions. ($79.99)
Portland 5 Beer Flight
Friends are gathered and favorite brews are ready to be tasted and critiqued. The Portland 5 from Bambeco is the perfect addition to a beer tasting event, each glass is made from reclaimed wine cooler bottles and the gracefully arched base is recycled from a vintage wine barrel stave, the underside still purple from the grapes formerly stored within. Available in clear or amber glasses ($52). Handcrafted, recycled, Made in the USA. (Edit: 11/30/17 – no longer available.)
Last but not least, to protect the well being of your imbibing friends and loved ones, consider the gift of peace of mind. The Alcomate Revo ($219.95) breathalyzer is a pocket-sized unit featuring patented PRISM technology with replacement sensor modules available for the end user (Sensor Module should be replaced after 1000 tests or at least once a year) solving the fundamental flaw of other breathalyzers that require mail-back recalibration after extended use. Visit Alcomate’s website to see the full line of personal and professional breathalyzers.
Please drink responsibly! If in doubt, call an Uber or Lyft.
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post and, as always, opinions expressed are my own. I received an Alcomate Revo for review and am currently using it.
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