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The Holiday Gift Guide for Cocktail and Spirits Lovers

The Holiday Gift Guide for Cocktail and Spirits Lovers


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Spirits, bar tools, and cocktails galore

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The best cocktail and spirits presents for the holidays.

These days it seems everyone has become a cocktail afficionado of some sort, thanks to the plethora of cocktail recipes floating around. And much as there is a cocktail for everyone, there is a cocktail- and spirits-inspired gift for everyone on your list.

Click here for The Holiday Gift Guide to Cocktails and Spirits Lovers Slideshow

Much like wine, a bottle of your loved one's favorite spirit is quite possibly the easiest gift this season — but we're not buying it. A personalized bottle of Knob Creek bourbon or Johnnie Walker Blue ups the ante for your loved ones, especially when it comes with a special note. If you are planning to go the bottle route, think of it as a chance to buy them a spirit they wouldn't normally buy. Whether a higher price point, or a craft distilled spirit, now is the time to broaden your loved one's horizon with a distinctive spirit (and there's never been better spirits on the market than now.) Or, cocktail mixers makes it easy as pie to whip up a cocktail. Todd Thrasher's handmade collection of spirits is unlike any mixer you'll find at a store — ginger beer syrup? Thyme lime syrup? We're in.

From the beginner's guide to cocktails to the advanced bartending gear, there's something for everyone in our gift guide. Because every holiday should include some sort of booze, right?


Chowhound Christmas Gift Guide 2020: The Best Gourmet Food & Drink Gifts

Fall is still fairly young, and you have plenty of time left to do your Christmas shopping, right? Well, maybe. But if you’re shopping online this year, you can probably expect longer shipping times than usual, so the sooner you start the better.

If you’re looking for the perfect thing for a gourmet of any stripe, these are all the best food and drink Christmas gifts you can buy online—so start checking off your list.

From delicious individual food and drink gift ideas to ongoing food and beverage subscriptions and even kitchen tools to help your food-loving friends and fam make great meals at home, we’ve picked the best Christmas presents for all sorts of palates, personalities, and situations—and if you start now, you’ll have plenty of time to get them by Christmas.

Click a link below to jump to a specific category or just keep scrolling to see them all.


#Support613 Gift Guide: Spirits and cocktail recipes

Whether you consume alcohol or not, there’s something for everyone in these recipes using locally made spirits, wines, cordials, bitters, and even kombucha. We’re #blessed with no fewer than four nearby distilleries: Top Shelf in Perth, Artist in Residence in Gatineau, Dairy Distillery in Almonte, and North of 7 right here in Ottawa. Each of them makes a pretty wide range of products including vodkas, gins (so many gins), liqueurs, whiskies, rum, and moonshine. There are nearly 10 vineyards in the valley as well, most of whom offer curbside pickup through the holidays.

Plus we have many awesome folks making seltzers, sodas, kombucha, and cordials that can be used to create cocktails or mocktails that are sure to please your friends and family. Grab a bottle or two, write out a recipe on a nice card, box it up and you’re all set to pop it under their tree.

New to mixology or just looking for some new holiday cocktail recipes to suggest to friends along with your gift of booze or not-booze? We’ve done the incredibly difficult and tedious work of trying out some ideas for you.

Christmas Glow

  • 1.5 oz Artist in Residence gin (I use floral but the dry or citrus would be great here too)
  • 0.5 oz Top Shelf Reunion Raspberry Moonshine
  • Juice of half a lime

In a highball glass filled with ice, add the gin, moonshine, and lime juice. Top with Artist in Residence tonic water to taste and garnish with a lime wheel and three raspberries (frozen is fine!).

The Christmas Glow with gin and raspberry moonshine. Photo: Alison Larabie Chase/Apt613.

Blue Ginger

Combine whisky and ginger beer in a tumbler over ice cubes. Garnish with a lime wedge and several blueberries.

Grapefruit Drop

  • 2 oz Dairy Distillery Vodkow
  • 2 oz fresh grapefruit juice (ruby red is the prettiest)
  • 4 dashes Top Shelf grapefruit bitters
  • 1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz simple syrup or honey syrup (or to taste, depending on the sourness of your juice)

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with lemon or grapefruit slice.

The Grapefruit Drop and Blue Ginger, made with locally distilled spirits. Photo: Alison Larabie Chase/Apt613.

Candy Apple

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with a short cinnamon stick.

Cold-Fashioned

In a rocks glass, muddle the sugar and bitters. Add whisky and a large ice cube. Stir to combine. Garnish with a Top Shelf Preserves maraschino cherry and a twist of orange peel.

Christmas Morning in the Valley

  • Mug of hot, locally roasted brewed coffee
  • 2 dashes of Top Shelf cardamom bitters
  • 1 oz Artist in Residence Mayhaven Maple Liqueur
  • 1 oz Vodkow Cream liqueur

Brew a pot of fresh coffee, sprinkle in a few dashes of spicy cardamom bitters and stir in the liqueur and cream. Dunk a Christmas cookie, and you’re all set.

Santa’s Sangria

  • 1 bottle of wine ( I prefer white, like KIN’s Carp Ridge Chardonnay or Jabulani’s Frontenac Blanc)
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 3-4 oz of Split Tree Ginger and Vanilla Cordial
  • 2-4 oz North of 7 Leatherback Rum
  • 1-2 oz Artist in Residence Orange Liqueur
  • Fresh cranberries, pomegranate arils (seeds), and orange slices

Soak cranberries and orange slices in rum overnight, or for at least 4 hours. Mix the ingredients in a pitcher, let chill, and serve with ice. Freeze fruit pieces in the ice for added colour. Add a spritz of soda or seltzer in each glass for a bit of fizz!

The coolest kids’ table

Not everybody imbibes alcohol so let’s not leave out those friends who like to stay dry. There are lots of drink kits that are easy to put together for hot or cold holiday bevvies. Here are some combinations you might like to try for yourself or to gift. Full disclaimer here that while I may be far from being a trained mixologist, as a seldom-drinker I do enjoy making and having mocktails of all sorts.

Start off with an effervescent base. City Seltzer is one of the newest tastes coming to Ottawa from local brewery Dominion City. Four flavours of this cool carbonated water are available from local stores like Bridgehead or from their Canotek Road location. It’s the perfect base to start off any mocktail kit you might want to put together.

Kombucha is another good base to have when putting together a cold mocktail. This fizzy fermented drink can come in many flavours, so it’s easy to come up with exciting and new flavour combinations. Culture Kombucha and Vox Kombucha are two local breweries that are easy to find in grocery stores, while Carlington Booch can be found in select grocers and online.


Holiday Cocktail Recipes: 14 Drinks to Serve This Season

There’s no better way to truly bring tidings of comfort and joy to a holiday party than to serve good (and festive) libations.

So thirteen beverage experts—from Artesian Hong Kong’s Rush Limbu to Leyenda’s Ivy Mix and beyond—shared some foolproof holiday cocktail recipes that won’t disappoint.

“This holiday cocktail is based on a classic milk punch recipe: It's rich and creamy with warming spices. Here, it gets a tiki twist with the addition of coconut purée and two different kinds of rum. This drink can be made as a single serving or in a large-format punch—both perfect for holiday entertaining.” —Diane Corcoran, beverage director

Ingredients:

2 qts. Appleton Estate Special Reserve rum

2 qts. Duquesne Aged Rhum Agricole

1.5 qts. coconut purée, such as Ponthier or Boiron

.5 qts. Lusteau East India Sherry

Freshly grated cinnamon and nutmeg

Cinnamon sticks, for garnish

Preparation: Whisk together all cocktail ingredients in a large punch bowl until combined. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and freshly grated nutmeg. Serve drinks individually over crushed ice and garnish with a cinnamon stick and more nutmeg.

"Ingredients like cinnamon remind me of Christmas and I wanted to incorporate festive spices to the cocktail. I also wanted the presentation to feel like the holidays by having it mirrored after a snow globe." —RajendraRushLimbu, bar manager

Ingredients:

45 ml. cinnamon whiskey liqueur

Preparation: Stir and pour into a 2-piece martini ball glass.

“This drink was made by (bartender) Amanda de la Nuez. It’s inspired by Christmas Eve, and very popular for her family in Cuba."—Ivy Mix, co-owner and head bartender

Ingredients:

¾ oz. Plantation Jamaica Rum

1 oz. Lustau East India sherry

½ oz. Heering coffee liqueur

3 dashes aromatic bitters

Preparation: Dry shake, shake, and serve in a coupe with grated nutmeg and espresso bean.

"This holiday punch is inspired by the cooler months and the approaching holidays. The ingredients in this drink bring to mind baking spices. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur with fresh ginger and hints of cognac brightens the drink." —Shawn Chenn, head bartender

Ingredients:

9 oz. Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey

6 oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur

30 oz. Osmanthus oolong tea, lightly brewed

Preparation: Build in a crock pot. Add all ingredients and set temperature to low. Cover and cook for 3 hours and stir before serving. Serve in a Chinese gaiwan teacup garnished with 1 candied orange wheel and 1 mint sprig.

“The Islander is a cocktail for the bold. It is strong, herbaceous, and warming. The almond syrup adds a toasty quality, which makes it my ideal drink to cozy up with as temperatures drop” —Alexa Rose, head bartender

Ingredients:

Preparation : Combine ingredients in shaker. Shake and strain into glass. Garnish with flamed orange peel.

“A Thousand Follies is a basically just a fall-winter sidecar. You’ll find cranberry liqueur instead of orange liqueur and sweet vermouth for its rich and spicy herbaceousness. There’s also apple brandy to give it that extra ‘fall’ element.” —Matt Tocco, beverage director

Ingredients:

1.5 oz. Copper & Kings apple brandy

.75 oz. Cocchi Vermouth di Torino

.25 oz. Clear Creek cranberry liqueur

.50 oz. hibiscus-clove syrup

Preparation: Shake and strain into a coupe glass (no ice). Garnish with a lemon sidewinder.

“The baby it’s cold outside is a true holiday drink. Nothing screams ‘the holidays’ more than a boozy eggnog—with dark rum and brandy. It’s the perfect balance of sweetness that will keep you warm and satisfied at the end of a meal.” —Tim Wilson, Beverage Director for Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group

Ingredients:

Preparation : Add ingredients to an ice filled shaker. Shake vigorously Strain into a martini glass.

“Bourbon will always keep you warm, especially during the holidays. The key is finding one that has the right level of sweetness to balance out the high level of alcohol. Mitcher’s was our choice. The maple syrup gave great substance to the cocktail, while the acid in the lemon juice gave the drink a nice lift to it. The maple syrup makes it a great for the fall-winter and the upcoming holiday festivities: It is super easy to make at home or in large batches for a full-on holiday party.” —Jacob Kress, bar manager

Ingredients:

Preparation: Add all ingredients to glass and garnished with rosemary and lemon.

"Every beer cocktail is basically a drink topped with beer. We wanted to give beer lovers a holiday cocktail where the beer is incorporated in a more inventive way. The cocktail plays with flavors commonly found in IPAs. It even has the appearance of a drink topped with beer." —Nick Bennett, head bartender

Ingredients:

.25 oz. passion fruit juice

6 dashes Hopped Grapefruit bitters and mix

Preparation: Shake all ingredients in a tin and stain into a Collins glass over ice. Top with beer foam.

“The cocktail was named for French musician, Jacques Dutronc. It seemed an apt name for a digestif cocktail consumed at room temperature. The Dutronc is built around the fruit notes in Louis Royer Preference VSOP and the ginger flavor of Canton—complemented by the grape, fig, and spice cake profile of Victrola Coffee Roasters’ Honduran Santa Barbara El Cielito Finca Las Brisas single-origin coffee.” —Chad Solomon, owner and head bartender

Ingredients:

1 oz. Louis Royer Preference 80

Preparation: Measure all ingredients into a mixing glass or tin. Stir to integrate without ice. Pour into an aperitif glass that has been pre-zested by expressing a lemon peel into the glass.

"When we opened Mercadito Chicago, we created a menu of cocktails that would both complement the chef’s food and be so quaffable on their own so that guests would order two or more. But. we wanted a full-flavored, complex, and slightly challenging mezcal-based cocktail. We knew we wanted to use Del Maguey Chichicapa because it’s smoky, chewy, and delicious. As we were playing around with different iterations of the drink, we came up with this recipe and have loved it since. Oh, and the name: it’s a tribute to three gents: Ron Cooper, founder of Del Maguey mezcal John Cooper, the man behind the delicious ginger liqueur Domaine de Canton and Rob Cooper, who created the beloved elderflower liqueur St. Germain." —Tad Carducci, partner at Mercadito Chicago and Author of A Lime and a Shaker

Ingredients:

1 oz. Del Maguey Chichicapa mezcal

½ oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur

½ oz. St-Germain elderflower liqueur

Preparation: Fill a cocktail shaker glass with ice. Add ingredients. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with an orange twist.

WHAT’S YOUR SIGN? AT SEAMSTRESS NEW YORK

"The inspiration for this was to come up with a punch alternative that can please a crowd and is easy to make. It is a great icebreaker for getting the party started. Vodka is a perennial favorite, with black currants and Domaine de Canton evoking the cooler months. It can be sipped or shot, as guests prefer." —Pam Wiznitzer, head bartender and creative director

Ingredients:

¾ oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur

½ oz. Perfect Purée Black Currant

Preparation: Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add ingredients and shake. Strain into a shot glass.

FOOL FOR LOVE AT MIDDLE BRANCH NEW YORK

"My inspiration behind fool for love was to create a low-alcohol holiday drink that can be enjoyed throughout the evening without going overboard. Pomegranate and ginger are both seasonal flavors that set a festive holiday mood." —Lucinda Sterling, co-owner and head bartender

Ingredients:

1 oz. Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur

¼ oz. PAMA pomegranate liqueur

Preparation: Fill a cocktail shaker glass with ice. Add ingredients. Shake and strain into a coupe or flute. Top with Mionetto Prosecco.


The Absolute Best Holiday Gifts for Gin Lovers

Everything your resident G&T hound needs for the happiest holiday.

Gin lovers sometimes get the short end of the gifting stick. Unlike their whiskey-loving brethren, gin fans have fewer specialty decanters and artisanal ice molds to line their bar shelves with, but that doesn't mean there's no way to treat your favorite gin drinker to a unique gift suited this season. We've rounded up some of the best books, art, accessories, and, of course, our favorite bottles that are sure to make your gin lovers wish list this holiday.


Tag: gift guide

Looking for that perfect gift for everyone on your list? Check out Bright Cellars’ holiday gift guide and find great deals on A+ gifts!

We're Glass Half Full, the newsletter/blog for the Bright Cellars wine club. We're all about making wine education fun and accessible. Take a look around! We're happy you're here.

How to Make a Show-Stopping Charcuterie Board

Everyone needs a charcuterie board in their life. Here are 3 steps for making a charcuterie board that is sure to impress!

Easy Weeknight Dinner and Wine Pairings to Save You Time

Make your regular week-night dinner feel like a weekend feast! These weeknight dinner and wine pairings are no-fuss, healthy and delicious!

9 Mimosa Variations to Spice Up Brunch

We love a good Champagne and O.J. moment, but try these twists on the classic. Change up your brunch game with these 9 mimosa variations!

3 Deliciously Drinkable Low-ABV Wine Cocktails with Fresh-Brewed Rishi Tea

You don’t need a lot to make yummy wine cocktails! We teamed up with Rishi to bring you these 3 tea and wine cocktails that are simple, easy, and delicious!

5 Healthy Weeknight Dinner + Wine Pairings That Taste Delicious

Weekdays are busy & it can be hard to come home and cook! Try these 5 healthy weeknight dinner and wine pairings from Hungryroot and Bright Cellars!


Christmas Cocktail & Drink Recipes

Whether you’re hosting a get-together or enjoying a night at home with family, there’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than with a festive drink in hand!

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White Christmas Margarita

Change up the holidays by serving this traditionally warm-weather cocktail at your next Christmas party. To make it snowy white, we added a touch of coconut milk. Cranberry ice cubes add a touch of cheer.

Gingerbread Hot Chocolate

Wassail

Wassail is a hot mulled cider, traditionally enjoyed during wassailing, an English Christmas drinking ritual intended to ensure a good apple harvest the following year. The whole baked apples floating on top lend a homey feel to the warming festive drink. Serve as is -- or top with a splash of brandy if you like. It's perfect for a big family gathering or holiday party.

Vodka Cranberry Punch with Apple Cider Ice Cubes

This is dangerously easy and delicious. Not only does it taste sweet and spicy, but just look at it! Those colors! The ruby-red cranberries cover the surface, and the apple cider cubes are the best additions that amp up the flavor.


Holiday Gift Guide 2020: The Best Canned Cocktails For Stuffing Stockings

A wealth of new canned cocktails arrived this year, just in time for socially distanced drinking and outdoor happy hours. Craft beverages launched by everyone from Noma fermentation specialists Lars Williams and Mark Emil Hermansen to Los Angeles bartender Aaron Polsky use high-quality ingredients to make sophisticated drinks.

Credit Cooper Spirits for jumping in first. Their Slow & Low Rock and Rye has remained a favorite of mine for years, and was an early entrant in the market for well-made cocktails in a portable vessel.

If ever there was a year to stuff your stocking with cocktails, it's this one.

While it doesn’t rival the experience of sitting on a barstool and chatting with someone who created a drink just for you, tuck any one of these cans into the Christmas stocking of some on your good list. It’ll ease the pain of the dark months ahead.

Simply spirits: The Hitachino Japanese Highball is really an ideal expression of a whiskey soda. Imported from Japan and made with the same water that forms the base of the craft beer darling, blended with their own Japanese whiskey, it’s nicely balanced with good carbonation.

Zero-Proof: Whether you’re looking to cut back, or abstaining entirely, the Hella Bitters & Soda Aromatic Spritz is for you. This non-alcoholic sparkling apéritif gets its refreshing flavor from Gentian root — it’s bittersweet, with notes of clove, allspice, and orange peel - enjoyable on its own or mixed with your favorite spirit.

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Complex and thought-provoking, this wintery drink is worth savoring.

Foraging Fans: If Noma is on your bucket list, or you just really want to drink something completely different, search out Empirical. Lars Williams and Mark Emil Hermansen both worked at the storied Denmark restaurant, and took that experience to craft two intense drinks, Can 01 and Can 02. They start with a spirit made from beet molasses and Belgian saison yeast, and get more eclectic from there. Can 01 is the lighter of the two – a little toasty and flowery, flavored with oolong tea, birch and green gooseberries. Can 02 is dark and wintery. Flavored with black currant buds, young pine cones, and sour cherry, it has a resin-y lingering bitterness that is not unpleasant (if you like bitter). I suggest sipping it chilled from a martini glass—it is meant to savor. This kind of innovation doesn’t come cheap— $45 for a four-pack imported from Denmark—but it’s a lot more accessible than a trip to Noma. The web site currently lists these as sold out, but don’t despair - more cans are making their way through customs.

Two refreshing flavors let the smoky mezcal shine through.

Mezcal Lovers: Anyone who appreciates the smokiness of mezcal will love Elenita, a mix of Agave Espadín (an artisanal mezcal distilled in Oaxaca), subtle natural flavors and sparkling water that lets the spirit take center stage. I prefer the cucumber lime basil, which is dry and refreshing.

A mule for every spirit, and every stocking.

Trendy Mules: It seems like the pandemic has been floating on a sea of Moscow Mules, with ginger beer turning up everywhere. ‘Merican Mule goes beyond the basics, with four flavors featuring different spirits. My favorite is the Tropical, with rum, ginger and pineapple. It’s an unexpected combination in a good way, not too sweet, and quite festive. Which I think we all need right about now. If you want to get fancy, can elevate them by pouring in a glass with a sprig of mint and maybe a lime wedge. But straight from the can feels very 2020.

A delicious canned margarita is perfect for taco Tuesday or any day really.

Classic Tipples: Cutwater Spirits has developed a reputation for creating good versions of all the traditional cocktails — from Bloody Mary to White Russian. I’m especially partial to the Margarita. I’ve had more bad margaritas than I’d care to count— and the fact that they managed to create a version that is fresh and delicious, as well as shelf-stable, is a big win in my book.

Cool package for a thoughtful cocktail.

Mixologist Focused: Seeking something completely unique? Try the canned cocktail line from LiveWire – each drink was developed by a top bartender who also designs the packaging, giving mixologists a platform like musicians to get recognized for their skills. This feels pretty important when many of us haven’t visited with our favorite mixologist for going on a year. Try the Golden God, crafted by founder and LA barkeep Aaron Polsky. This rye drink, mixed with brandy, apricot, green tea, and elderflower, is lightly floral and summery, unexpected but welcome for a spirit that can overwhelm a cocktail.

No need to let a whole bottle of sparkling wine go flat, when you can have these single serve . [+] delights

Day Drinking: St. Agrestis was an early entrant into the ready-to-drink craft cocktail market— meaning their beverages have been around for a year or more. I love their citrusy, complex Spritz, a mix of St. Agrestis Paradiso Aperitivo, sparkling Italian wine and sparkling water. And it’s not technically in a can, but their all-Brooklyn, NY,-made bottled Negroni would also slip into a stocking.

Perfect Pair: Putting just the right gin together with just the right tonic yields one of life’s pleasures — but it’s not as easy as it sounds. Social Hour Cocktails’ Julie Reiner and Tom Macy put a lot of time into their Gin & Tonic, which uses New York Distilling Company’s Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin blended with tonic water made exclusively for this drink. The result is lush, bitter and a touch floral.


Small Gifts for All Cocktail Lovers

Whether you’re stuffing stockings, or looking for a small gift, these are some of my favorites. Putting a few of these together into a basket and you have a bigger present.

    : I don’t own any of these pins yet, but it’s primarily because I can’t choose which ones to buy. With 17 cocktail designs to choose from, you’ll definitely find a few to give and get. & Cocktail Picks: For an environmental-minded friend, these reusable glass straws and cocktail picks from Surfside Sips are durable and beautiful. They come in a variety of colors and the straws come in five lengths. They are also very affordable plus you can save 20% off your order with the code COCKTAILSAWAY. : I love serving cocktails with fancy napkins. Not only do they help combat condensation, but they make things feel a bit festive. These flour sack cloth ones are perfect year-round.
    : I bought these glasses back in the Spring because I saw them in my Instagram feed so often. Not only are these glasses gorgeous, but they are highly functional and dishwasher safe. They work well with a variety of drinks and the 2″ clear ice cubes I love fit inside them perfectly. : I recently wrote about the best cocktail books that you should buy in 2020. (And another cocktail book post in 2021 with more suggestions.) Out of all the books I’ve purchased this year, I have been using this one the most. I’ve been learning a lot about tiki culture lately, and have visited a couple of landmark tiki bars, and this place. This book makes tiki accessible to those of us who don’t own 100 bottles of rum. : Speaking of tiki, I got these tiki coupe glasses for Christmas last year. They are beautifully made and hold 8.5 ounces, bigger than a standard coupe glasses. Plus, they are whimsical and dishwasher safe.

And there you have it—30+ gifts for mixologists in your life. If you’re the cocktail lover, send this link to your loved ones with your favorite items starred. Cheers to celebrating with fun and thoughtful gifts!


The 15 Best Cocktail Books to Add to Your Bar Cart

Sometimes you've just had one of those days/weeks/months/years (@ 2020) and all you really want is a damn good cocktail. You might think you can only get those by exiting the comfort of your home and entering a bar, but think again! With the help of cocktail recipe books, you'll be able to make a great cocktail at half the price of the one you would get at your local watering hole.

And I know you're probs thinking about how the only drink you know how to make is a shot of tequila (which is not to be understated), but cocktail books exist to take your abilities from mediocre to master mixologist. And with the help of my trusty friend, The Internet, I've found the best cocktail recipe books for you to learn from.

These books provide intel on everything you'd need to know to make a delicious cocktail. They answer questions like "where does my alcohol come from?" and "what the hell is a jigger?" And once they teach you all about the basics, you can get right to making those fancy cocktails. When you purchase these books, you won't even need to go out for a good cocktail, and that folks, is what we like to call a dream come true.


Alcohol Gifts For Every Occasion

From hostess gifts to the highest of the high end, these are the best bottles for gifting.

Gifting can be fraught with obstacles. Clothes don't fit, your favorite art's not always to someone else's taste, books are thoughtful, but lack a bit of pizzaz. But before you head for ye olde gift-card-and-a-candle route, might we suggest a gift that's a guaranteed not to need tailoring and is always a crowd pleaser (even if it's a crowd of two)? We've rounded up some of the best bottles for gifting from hostess pleasers to the highest of the high end to take the stress out of buying gifts for your loved ones. Raise a glass to celebrate with the bet of the best.

Notes of raisin, nutmeg, cinnamon give this rich, cask-strength rum a beautiful long finish that will convert even the most staunch whiskey sipper. 100% pot distilled the rum is aged in white oak barrels for a minimum of twelve years before spending an additional two years in Pedro Ximénez sherry casks, for a deeply complex flavor profile.

Get a real taste of terroir with this artisanal bottle of regional mezcal. Mezcal de Leyendas shows the incredible diversity of mezcal flavors with individual bottlings from different regions of Mexico&mdashin this case, among the sparse landscape of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountains that lend a papaya sweetness with a hint of brine and smoke.

For the home bartender looking to take their drinks to the next level, Haus's collection of handcrafted aperitifs are just the thing. This customizable sampler kit will give them a taste of some of the brand's signature and seasonal flavors like their wintry Spiced Cherry, crisp Citrus Flower, herbaceous Lemon Lavender, or sunny Peach Passionfruit&mdashall equally delicious mixed into a cocktail as they are sipped on their own.

Give them a taste of history with two unique bottlings inspired by Nathan "Nearest" Green, the Black distiller who taught Jack Daniel how to make whiskey (plus four elegant crystal tumblers to enjoy them from, of course.)

Blended from some of the finest, rarest eaux-de-vie in the Hennessey cellars, this silky cognac includes notes of rose petals, honey, and truffle, with a delicate hint of spice.

This prestige cuvée, harvested from 2012, highlights the richness of pinot noir (the blend is approximately 2/3 pinot noir and 1/3 chardonnay) for a particularly complex nose and a long finish that pairs perfectly with. well, everything. It's one gift guaranteed to make any night a celebration.

For the giftee who likes to drink like a bartender, this bottle of bracing, herbaceous liqueur will earn you serious cred. Made with a secret, signature recipe of 27 ingredients, its bold flavor makes it a must for any well-stocked bar cart, whether it's consumed straight, espresso shot-style, or used to add nuance to cocktails.

Give your favorite island hopper a taste of the tropics with this 17-year old Trinidadian rum, aged in ex-bourbon barrels to bring out sweet and spiced notes of ginger and tropical fruits that make it ideal for sipping solo.

What do you get when you match up artisanal tequila and one of the top names in the luxury crystal game? The most exclusive, elegant bottle of tequila around, of course. Each of the 299 bottles is handmade in Lalique's glass factor in Alcase, France and individually fashioned, polished, engraved and signed, making it a truly one of a kind gift.

Solve the after dinner drink dilemma with this best-of-both-world bottle. A blend of robust Kentucky and Canadian rye whiskies with a touch of California port, the bottle offers the smooth drinkability of a fortified wine with the backbone of an assertive rye.

Barrel-aging cocktails at home is a way to take your mixology to the next level. This kit comes with a bottle of Sexton Irish Single Malt Whiskey and a one-liter American White Oak barrel. Also included are a stand, bung, wooden spigot, and storing tablet&mdasheverything you need to make barrel-aged drinks. Start by pouring a batch of a whiskey cocktail (like the Manhattan) into the barrel and letting it rest for a couple of weeks. The medium char of the wood will bring out nuances and add depth to the drink. After your first attempt, feel free to experiment with other recipes.

When it comes to an elegant reserve blend worthy of sipping, gin isn't always the first spirit that jumps to mind. This flavor-forward gin with notes of saffron and verbena make a strong case for why it should be.

For the fan who's already rewatched The Last Dance multiple times, let them drink like a G.O.A.T. with this tequila, which was co-founded by basketball great Michael Jordan.

Want to give something rare this holiday? It doesn't get much more unique that this Scotch, which is aged in first-fill sherry casks that are hand picked by The Macallan's Master Whiskey Maker (the brand says that less than 1% of casks make the cut.)

Want to really wow the booze fan whose bar cart has it all? Think outside the usual spirit spectrum and opt for a luxe liqueur instead, like this orange liqueur which combines the most prestigious cuvée cognacs aged up to 25 years with wild oranges to create a lush tipple that's as delicious in a cocktail as it is on its own.



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