Dizzy Gift Guide 2013

While it's too late to order UK designer Kate Broughton's classic cocktail gift wrap in time for Christmas, how lovely would it be to use this later in the year?

Although it’s too late to order UK designer Kate Broughton’s classic cocktail gift wrap in time for Christmas, how lovely would it be to use this later in the year?

If you are anything like me, you have lots of cocktail lovers on your holiday gift list (and you are also one yourself). What are the holidays about, if not spreading the love? While your hunt for Pappy’s may prove fruitless,  here are some cocktailian gift ideas that should be readily available at fine shops (or online retailers) near you. Cheers to the holiday season, and may your glass always be half full!


For the whiskey drinker who likes their poison on the rocks, ice sphere molds ($12.95 for a set of two) are an essential accessory. Not only does a globe of ice look impressive, it melts more slowly and evenly, leading to less dilution.

absinthe glass set
Spirits connoisseurs know that absinthe won’t make you hallucinate (that’s just a myth), but at 106-148 proof, the anise flavored hooch demands to be served properly.  This stylish absinthe glassware set ($24 without spoons, $48 with) is made in the classic Belle Epoque style with 1-ounce reservoirs so you can easily measure your desired absinthe-to-water ratio.

Restoration Hardware bar collection
Restoration Hardware might not be the first place you think of for bar accessories, but their vintage hotel silver bar collection ($29-$79) is almost as charming as real vintage flea market finds. Cast brass with a soft patina, these shaker tins and tools recall a simpler era.

anthropologie decanter
Nothing dresses up a home bar quite like a crystal decanter. Anthropologie has a nice range to choose from, such as this quilted crystalline decanter ($68) that begs to pour something strong and delicious.

If you are looking for a DIY gift, you could easily make your own brandied cherries — but if you are short on time and ingredients, these all-natural maraschino cherries ($7) will be welcomed by any fan of the Manhattan or the Mai Tai.

For the beach bum on your list, these faux bamboo straws ($7.95) are the perfect addition to tiki drinks. Pair with a set of tiki mugs ($22.41) for the full effect.

Speaking of beach bums, the one and only tiki drink historian Jeff “Beachbum” Berry returns to publishing with the release of “Potions of the Caribbean: 500 Years of Tropical Drinks and the People Behind Them” ($34.95). A compendium of vintage Caribbean drinks, this epic collection of recipes shares the stories behind the spirited history of the West Indies.  Of the 77 recipes in the book, 16 of them are “lost” and have never been published in any form, and another 19 have never been published in book form before.

Whiskey John Lamond
For the novice drinker getting started in the worlds of bourbon, rye, and Scotch, Whiskey: Instant Expert ($13.21) is a handy field guide to all things whisk(e)y. Learn the lingo, dive into the histories of famous Scottish and American distilleries, get buying tips, cocktail recipes, and more.

Drinks by the Dram is a genius business idea making high-end whiskey (and other spirits) more accessible for the masses. Tasting sets feature 3oml wax-sealed bottles of otherwise rare and expensive bottles. For instance, their Regions of Scotland tasting kit ($57.06) includes a sample of Glenfarclas 40 year old, which retails for $499 for a 750ml bottle. You’ll want to place your order soon if you want it to arrive before Christmas, as this company is based out of the UK.

silver banded punch bowl
For the party host on your list, this silver banded punch bowl ($129.95) is not only the ultimate crowd-pleaser, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Add a copy of Kara Newman’s Cocktails for a Crowd ($13.91) full of punch recipes, and you’ll ensure your name is always on the guest list.


Dizzy Gifts 2011

‘Tis the season for spreading holiday cheer–and no, that doesn’t necessarily mean spending money–but if you’re in the market for some last-minute gifts for your favorite cocktailians, check out this Dizzy-approved shopping guide:

Do you have a tiki drinker on your list? Hook them up with the B.G. Reynolds Sampler Pack, featuring 5 oz. bottles of passion fruit syrup, orgeat, falernum and Don’s Mix, as well as a recipe booklet and swizzle sticks, all for$18. And if you want to add tiki mugs, B.G.’s got those too.

Royal Rose Syrups make perfect gifts for imbibers and teetotalers alike–add them to your next cocktail, homemade soda, or drizzle on top of your favorite dessert. Make locally in small batches, flavors include rose, lavender-lemon, raspberry, three chiles or tamarind, while cardamom-clove is especially useful for holiday drink-making. Purchase 8-oz. bottles for $11 each or go for a four-pack sampler for $44.

Cocktail geeks and history buffs alike will be thrilled to unwrap their own copy of “Prohibition” by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick ($30), a documentary aired on PBS earlier this year chronicling America’s noble-yet-disastrous experiment. Captivating, educational, and at times, sobering, the film digs deep to reveal America’s political and moral struggle with its own alcoholic tendencies.

Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s Guide: 75th Anniversary Edition, edited by Jonathan Pogash, aka the Cocktail Guru, is a classic drink-mixing guide featuring more than 1,500 recipes including nearly 200 new recipes from today’s best bartenders. Order yours for $10 on Amazon.com or get a signed copy for $20 here.

Nothing classes up a home bar quite like a Mad Men-style ice bucket, and this Crate & Barrel version delivers ($50). Of course, you’ll want to toss in a pair of tongs ($9) too.

Although on back-order until late January, The PDT Cocktail Book ($17) is a must-have for any serious bartender. Jim Meehan, head bartender at the infamous hot dog shop/speakeasy, spills his secrets of the trade along with more than 300 recipes, all charmingly illustrated by Chris Gall. Note that many of the recipes call for ingredients that are hard to find outside of NYC and other major cities, but the culinary prowess behind them should keep readers inspired to try their own variations.

Hand-cracked ice is not only an impressive start to any cocktail (such as juleps, swizzles and shrubs), it also dilutes the acidity. This handsome ice pick from Williams-Sonoma ($60) should satisfy any ice geek’s desire to crush it.

For the cocktailian who has everything, this stag head pourer ($26) from Pottery Barn should turn heads. Toss the standard plastic pourers and easily measure drinks by the ounce with this charming reindeer version.