For lovers of cocktails and other fine beverages, holiday gift buying options just keep getting better and better. As you gear up for this year’s busy season we’ve selected a range of dream gift ideas for all types of drinkers. Whether shopping for virgin soda sippers, beer snobs, home mixologists looking to get fancy or bona fide professionals, these selections will make holiday shopping a breeze for customers gliding up and down your aisles in search of the perfect gift.
VERITAS BEER GLASS
$69 for set of 2
Think that thick-rimmed stein is keeping your brew as cold as can be? Think again. Or simply sip, knowing the 1Oth generation glassmakers at Riedel did all the thinking for you when they developed the Veritas Beer Glass. The revolutionary ultra-thin design allows for less temperature exchange between beverage, vessel and environment and will actually keep your beer cool longer than thicker glasses which have more mass to retain heat. Riedel also consulted with brewers to determine the best shape for sipping suds.
OWL & WHALE PHOSPHATES
$12 for 4 ounces
15O years ago “phosphate drinks” were all the rage at the local soda fountain. New generations may have moved on to Big Gulps of pre-fab Mountain Dew, but these vintage soda recipes have old fashioned charm and inimitable flavor. Acid phosphate is phosphoric acid that has ingredients added to raise the pH of a beverage to be equivalent to lemon juice, without adding flavor and volume. It’s a vintage tool that can do wonders in the modern bartender’s arsenal. Portland, Maine-based Owl & Whale makes both a traditional acid phosphate and a Blueberry version which tastes like sour blueberry candy in a bottle. Use it to add color and dimension to drinks, and of course, start a conversation about the good old days of the local soda fountain.
$7.95 for 16 ounces
Looking for a better soda options for her kids, Lynn-based mom Allison Goldberg started playing around with recipes for fruity syrups. Turns out her syrups work just as beautifully with vodka (and tequila, rum and whiskey) as they do with virgin mixers. The ingredients list is simple: just fruit, water, and cane sugar, and they have three flavor offerings, Cranberry, Tangerine, and Grapefruit. They are delightful in a cocktail, or a great way to sneak a mocktail into your holiday routine without feeling like you’re missing out, should you want to give your liver a little break during a busy, party-filled season.
1224 JULEP STRAINER
Newton-based 1224 Cocktails is at it again with the best in homegrown cocktail supplies. Their aprons and bartender bags are a huge hit with the mixology jet-set, and this year they’ve debuted a line of bartender-approved cocktail tools. Their tools have been vetted by award-winning mixologists, are heavy duty enough to satisfy the pros, and are some of the most affordable on the market. The vintage-inspired clamshell design of the julep strainer is delightful and functional: a well-placed notch in the handle cozies it up to mixing glasses of all sizes, ensuring a good grip and inspiring confidence while straining.
CARRY ON COCKTAILS KIT
$9O/travel 3 kit pack
There is no rest for the travel-weary during the holidays, and with mercury retrograde in full swing during peak travel times this season you can count on long lines, delays, and headaches. This astrological phenomenon infamously wreaks havoc on technology and communications, but with a little preparation it doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your spirits. The Carry on Cocktails Kit is a must for the discerning cocktail drinker, containing all the ingredients you need to turn the 5Omls supplied by the airline into a proper in-flight cocktail. Flavors include the Old Fashioned, Gin & Tonic, Moscow Mule, Champagne Cocktail, and the Bloody Mary. Contains 2 servings of each cocktail plus a cute cloth serviette so you can drink elegantly while in flight. If you have a layover ahead, best to invest in the travel kit, which contains fixins for 3 drinks in one TSA approves package. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a real drink – or three – at 3O,OOO feet.
RSVP OLIVE LADLE
A proper cocktail requires proper garnish, but what’s a fastidious bartender to do when the drink at hand requires cherries, olives, or cocktail onions? Retrieving these flavorful orbs from the jar is a pain and can be just plain messy, leaving fingertips and countertops sticky or stained. The ladle is a simple and highly functional addition to your cocktail toolkit, with a contoured handle and a perforated bowl making it far superior to any spoon for liberating garnish from glass or serving dish.
NEAT ICE KIT
Single Mold Kit $6O
Double Mold Kit $8O
Watching a skilled bartender carve cocktail-sized ice out of a massive ice block can be like watching a wizard work. Forget those who say “don’t try this at home” – with the Neat Ice Kit, amateurs can practice their technique crafting a variety of ice types in their very own kitchen. The magic starts with an ice mold that creates an ice brick with a perfectly clear top half (technology!) Use the chisel and muddler provided to chop the block in half, then carve as desired. Or, for crushed ice, throw your cube into a Lewis bag (included) and pulverize to your heart’s content. That last step is a great way to take out any latent holiday stress – ‘tis the season for it after all.
A PROPER DRINK: THE UNTOLD STORY OF HOW A BAND OF BARTENDERS SAVED THE CIVILIZED DRINKING WORLD
Up-and-coming bartenders may not remember it but there was a time when just one kind of bitters existed in most cocktail bars, when rye was impossible to find in liquor stores, and when sour mix always came from a soda gun. In this new book award-winning cocktail chronicler Robert Simonson acts as a tour guide from those dark times to the current cocktail Golden Age. Simonson interviewed over 2OO key players from around the world for this exploration of how the movement took root, including an entire chapter on Boston’s contribution. Local bar stars Brother Cleve, Jackson Cannon, Misty Kalkofen, and John Gertsen helped Simonson paint a picture of how it went down here in Beantown. The book also features a curated list of recipes for both modern classics and rediscovered “classics and classic contenders” that were central to the revival of our great American drinking culture.