Chances are that you have a cocktail and spirits aficionado in your life whose tastes run beyond the everyday. This year, show them you care with liqueurs, top-shelf liquor, exotic ingredients, or the requisite gear suited to their hobby of choice.
If your dad tends to his home bar as if it were his livelihood, then it's hard to go wrong gifting a nice bottle of booze. It's thoughtful, not too expensive or too cheap, and — unlike a new gadget or a DVD — it's not a problem if he already has one.
Maybe I'm biased: since my dad and I share a love for cocktails, I find myself often shopping for top-shelf spirits that aren't superpricey but also aren't run of the mill. Based on years of research, here are my recommendations for all types of drinking dads. Of course, I'm always looking for new booze to try, so add your own gift ideas in the comments.
If you think of limoncello as a Lysol-scented, saccharine-sweet liqueur, think again. While many store-bought bottles are suspect, homemade is a whole other story.
Smooth and bright with zesty lemon notes, a bottle of limoncello makes for an excellent edible gift for cocktail lovers, particularly when paired with a bottle of sparkling wine for a limoncello-Champagne cocktail.
Granted, it takes a bit of advance planning, but aside from the wait time necessary for the lemon peels to infuse their essential oils in the liquor, it's a very low-fuss process, and it is easy to make in large batches to be divvied up in multiple gifts. Just whatever you do, tuck away a bottle for yourself as well — your cocktails will thank you . . .
When the Scandinavian food trend hit tables this year, the answer dawned on me: aquavit! This time-honored Norwegian spirit — infused with the flavors of spices such as coriander, caraway, fennel, and dill seed — seems oh-so-festive for the holidays. Make a batch for your friends, then hoard a bottle for yourself! For full effect, serve it chilled in shot glasses with smoked salmon with dill, rye crackers, and other Nordic fare. Skål!
There's no alcohol that goes better with the tropical spirit than a good rum, and while in South Beach, we discovered a new favorite, Ron Zacapa Centenario, made and aged for 23 years in the mountains of Guatemala. Dispel any notions you may have of too many nights drinking that flavorless clear substance; this is the good stuff, meant to be enjoyed straight up. I wouldn't dare muddy its flavor in a fruity cocktail, but I do plan to enjoy its sweet richness as a topping on vanilla or cinnamon ice cream.
This rum is a wonderful taste of the tropics for those times when your toes are in the sand — and those moments when getting to the beach proves to be an improbable predicament. What's your favorite top-shelf rum?
Basically, gin is vodka that's been infused with juniper berries, so it's made like you would any other flavored vodka: let the aromatic seasonings infuse the vodka for a certain amount of time, strain, and then enjoy! The finished product has a cloudy color and classic herbal flavor. Give in a festive bottle or package with tonic, limes, and a couple of glasses.
To check out the easy recipe and watch a video of me making it, keep reading.
This holiday season, surprise your hostess with a bottle of homemade gin. Quick, easy, and inexpensive, all you need to make this festive spirit is vodka, juniper berries, and the seasonings of your choice. In our latest how-to, which we shot at Hipcooks, we show you how it's done. Watch it now!