‘Tis the season to show your loved ones some good cheer with food, drinks, acts of kindness, and of course, presents! Ok, so we don’t have to let Retail America control our holiday celebrations — there’s plenty of ways to show that you care without spending money (check out my round-up of DIY cocktailian gifts from last year), but chances are, you’ll get some joy out of giving and receiving gifts this season. Need ideas for your favorite imbiber? Feast your eyes on this Dizzy-approved shopping list:
Know a cocktail fan who does a lot of frequent flying? The Bitter Truth Cocktail Bitters Traveler’s Set ($18.99) is designed to pass TSA standards and includes 20ml bottles of celery, orange, creole, old time, and Jerry Thomas bitters.
Every cocktail lover needs a good flask — how else are we supposed to enjoy Negronis in broad daylight or during office hours? This leather-covered vessel from J. Crew ($34.95) will separate the debonair from the debaucher.
Flip through more than 80 elegant recipes of Prohibition-inspired tipples in “Speakeasy: The Employees Only Guide to Classic Cocktails Reimagined” ($24.99) by Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric. The West Village master mixologists break down variations on the classics and creations of their own.
Krystina Castella was smart enough to write “Booze Cakes” ($12 ) a cookbook combining everyone’s two favorite loves — booze and baked goods. She might not have the recipe for my infamous whiskey old fashioned cake in there, but you will find knockout photos and recipes of confections such as Pina Colada Cake, White Russian Cupcakes and Honey Spice Beer Cake.
Know someone who’s just getting started in bartending or could use a refresher? “The Big Bartending Book” by and Jeff Masson and Greg Boehm ($9.95) offers clear instructions on how to whip up 1,000 top cocktails and plenty of advice to give newbies confidence behind the stick.
This is a great idea for wine lovers — A Date With Wine bottle stopper ($45) makes it easy to remember when you last opened that delicious bottle of vino. You’ll never drink musty, overexposed wine again.
And how gangsta are these shot glasses? Mug Shots ($16.95) is a set of six shot glasses featuring the mugs of the most notorious gangsters in history, from Al Capone to Bugsy Siegel.
There are plenty of funky-shaped bottle openers out there, but this iron set of Nambu Tekki Tool Bottle Openers ($20 each) look cool hanging in your kitchen and have versatility — such as for smashing up some ice.
If you were at the Holiday Spirits Bazaar (recap to come), then hopefully you got a chance to try SkimKim’s Blooody Kim Jong-Il Mix ($10), a tantalizing blended kimchee bloody mary mix. Beyond vodka, I would pour this on just about everything, from tacos to meatloaf, or just eat it straight from the jar — it’s that good.
Give your home bar an instant soda fountain with the SodaStream Red Crystal Soda Maker ($179.95), which turns ordinary water into sparkling water or soda. Easy to transport, no electricity required, and if you buy it at Sur La Table, they will recycle the spent carbonation canisters for you and give you a discount on new ones.
You can search flea markets far and wide for a decent punch bowl, but if you are looking to give a punch serving set as a last-minute gift, look no further than Crate & Barrel’s Virginia Punch Bowl Set ($136.95). The elegant footed bowl and cups made of handblown and molded glass will turn any house party into a dignified soiree.