Hobnob recommends bringing a special bottle over to your friend who is a drink connoisseur for starters (see our suggestions at this link), and taking it one step further for total mastery. See our on-target suggestions below for gifting inspiration.
Nightcap: More than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening
Author Kara Newman has pulled together the perfect little cocktail book. In Nightcap, she explores the concept of “that last drink” of the night in a myriad of intoxicating ways. Kara states that the concept of the nightcap is less about the drink itself, and more about what’s really being said when one asks “How about a nightcap?” The real message is “I’m not quite ready for the evening to end, let’s prolong this conversation, this dazzling meal, one more dance…” With that in mind, she indeed has provided the most elegant suggestions into clever categories, (1) cocktails to send you off to sleep, (2) to keep the conversation going, (3) to aid digestion, (4) to sweeten the deal, and (5) one more for the road. In these chapters, she’s collected a wonderful smattering of cocktails from mixologists around the world, in bars you have probably frequented. Some of my faves: Pizzicato Passage (sherry, amaro, ancho chile liqueur, gin, with candied ginger for garnish); Storm King (scotch whisky, nocino, Bénédictine, bitters, with brandied cherries for garnish); Espresso Martini (I’ve had my share of these at Dear Irving: vodka, cold-brew coffee, coffee liqueur, vanilla liqueur, with 3 coffee beans for garnish). The book is filled with dramatic, moody photos by Antonis Achilleos, and includes general intelligent tips for creating cocktails. $16.95 chroniclebooks.com
Rosé it Forward Overview
I covered this fantastic champagne in my post which reviewed an extensive bubbly tasting. I fell in love with this brand, and now discovered they have come up with a lovely program. If you purchase a bottle of Le Grand Courtâge Brut Rosé for a special woman in your life the company will send a note from you plus an inspiring 22k bracelet bearing the message of “Believe”, “Hope” or “Love”.
The bracelets are from a group called Project Glimmer, a non-profit which inspires at-risk teenage girls and women to believe in themselves by letting them know their community cares. Le Grand Courtage we will donate 50% for each bottle purchased. legrandcourtage.com
Wilderness Scotland Bike Tour
For the ultimate gift for that whisky lover in your life book a cycling tour of Scotland’s highland. A mix of history, biking, and basking in the natural wilds of whisky country. The 7-day trip starts in Glenlivet, and carries along the River Spey, stops for a picnic on the banks of Loch Ness, and ends up at Cawdor Castle. Check the website for dates and details. $2500. wildernessscotland.com
Single Malt: A Guide to the Whiskies of Scotland
Speaking of whiskey, getting a copy of this book can go hand in hand with the biking trip.This extensive guide includes profiles, ratings, and tasting notes for more than 330 expressions. That’s enough to keep a whiskey aficianado busy for a lifetime. Author Clay Risen highlights the incredible diversity of this spirit and offers practical info on the different brands. Complete with maps of the most important whisky regions of Scotland, it profiles the producers and the nuances of each expression—all compiled from tasting sessions held by a panel of whisky experts. That’s an interesting job. About $20. Available on amazon.com.
Still on the whiskey theme, this book takes quite a different approach to the spirit. Whereas Single Malt respects and profiles whiskies, this book takes an experimental approach, offering unusual ways to play with the spirit. Author Aaron Goldfarb, often referred to as “a whiskey geek” has gathered the insider secrets to how this spirit is manipulated and enhanced today. The book is jam-packed with useful information on blending, smoking, how to create an infinity bottle, fat washing, and infusing. The tone is very entertaining and humorous—as witnessed in the recipe for a cocktail called Whisky for Breakfast, which features a crisp slice of bacon for garnish. The photos and illustrations are irreverent and add to the mischievous character of the book. About $20. Available on amazon.com
Free The Tipple: Kickass Cocktails Inspired by Iconic Women
In a wonderfully illustrated tome, this book honors 60 iconic women and matches each one with a cocktail. Kelly Shami’s illustrations create a whimsical, cartoon-like character for each woman surrounded by what makes each famous. Women celebrated in the book range from Jane Goodall to Yoko Ono to Beyonce. Each entry includes short, informative biographies, revealing insights into the women’s incredible lives. A great gift for that iconic woman in your life. $14.95 Available on amazon.com
The Joy of Mixology: The Consummate Guide to the Bartender’s Craft
This is the updated and revised edition, that could be referred to as the bible of mixology, the book that defined the genre in its original rendition in 2003. Written with a slick British wit, Gary Regan, a.k.a. Gaz, tells the story of the cocktail world. The book begins with a history lesson which includes lots of fun details, goes on to set forth what it takes to be a good bartender before going into cocktail making basics, like how to flame a drink or do an infusion. Foundations for setting up a bar with ingredients, tools, and glassware are thoroughly covered. Cocktail recipes take up the next 125 pages in alphabetical order, with a finake of charts and a useful glossary. This is the book that needs to go on every home bar, so get one for that person who likes to be concise, and admires the history of the cocktail. The updated version incorporates much of what has been going on in the 21st century of mixology. About $25. Available on amazon.com
Barsys Robot Drink Maker
Barsys is the at-home robot bartender that functions through an app programmed with more than 2000 cocktails. To operate, just choose your cocktail on the app, place a glass or included beaker, push go, and the machine does the mixing. You can use up to 3 mixers which are held in 1-liter thermally-insulated containers, and 5 spirits. Most drinks made in under 20 seconds, making for super easy party hosting.
Creative types can program in a signature cocktail of their choice. App works on android and iOS. This machine is the brainchild of Akshet who came up with the concept for Barsys during finals in his last semester at Manipal Institute of Technology’s engineering program. During a night of partying, he wished a machine would pour him his next cocktail. Buy this for a gadget-loving comrade who is keen to entertain. $1050. barsys.io
The Dead Rabbit Mixology & Mayhem
If you’ve ever cocktailed at The Dead Rabbit, you know it to be a special experience. Voted Best Bar in the World and Best Cocktail Menu tells you a little something. In this book, their cocktailing secrets are revealed—mixed in with their signature comic book series, starring the character Dead Rabbit, who is meant to represent real life gang leader, champion prize fighter, congressman, and senator, John Morrissey. Morrissey was head of the Irish mob Dead Rabbit in NYC’s 1800s was known for his ability to fight, and defend impoverished Irish immigrants, and who the bar is named after. This book offers a open window into the doings and makings of creating their stellar cocktail menus. Ninety cocktail recipes are included, along with the mixologists’ inspiration, and 100+ recipes for their sensational syrups and tinctures. Written by owners Sean Muldoon, Jack McGarry, and beverage director Jillian Vose, it is a true guide to greatness and perfection in creating a balanced and unique cocktail. This book is for someone who loves to get into specifics and will provide years of fun experimentation and enjoyment. And those in the mixology world may recognize some of the characters in the comic strip’s real life identities—your favorite bartender may be included. $28. Available on amazon.com
Northern Brewer Deluxe Homebrew Starter Kit
Brewery in a Box provides a starter kit for brewing beer at home. This is the one you want to buy if you want to make beer that tastes fresh-from-the-tap of a premium brewery, right from the first batch. Choose from three recipes of brew: Fresh Squished IPA with flavors of grapefruit, melon, berries, lime, passion fruit; Irish Red Ale, a rich coppery, medium-bodied ale, with minimal aging requirements; Caribou Slobber Brown Ale, full-bodied, smooth and dark with no bitterness.
The kit comes with everything you need: a Primary Fermentor 6 gallon glass carboy, a Secondary Fermentor 5 gallon glass carboy, blowoff hose, funnel and fermagraf, auto siphon, translucent bottling bucket and spigot, bottle filler, bottle capper and caps, carboy brush and bottle cleaning brush, brewery cleaner & carboy dryer. Get this for the budding scientist beer lover in your life. $199.99 northernbrewer.com
Time & Oak Wine Elements
Here’s a great gift for the cheapsters in your life. This little piece of oak can transform an inexpensive glass of wine in seconds into something much more palatable and mellow. Suitable for both red and white wines, stirring this wooden stick removes impurities while adding natural, flavor-enhancing sugars, tannins, and vanilla notes. Each stick lasts for 3-4 glasses of wine. Perhaps this is a better gift for those who are forced into situations where the wine offerings are not up to par! Each box contains four sticks. $9.99 timeandoak.com