As we rapidly approach the holiday, a great idea for a gift or for your own cocktail library is a copy of “Spice & Ice” by Kara Newman, my guest on Episode 20. This is a great book if you like your cocktails a little on the spicy side – author of the High Spirits column for Chile Pepper magazine, Kara is the perfect coach for crafting beverages that bite. With suggestions for food pairings, facts about chile peppers, and tips on building a spicy liquor cabinet, Spice & Ice is a must-have for cocktail enthusiasts and chileheads! $11.45 on Amazon.
Find out more at www.karanewman.wordpress.com
Add to this a bottle of Cabana Cachaca…founder Matti Anttila was a guest on Episode 16. Cachaca is Brazil’s national spirit…Cabana has a delicate nose and a smooth finish, perfect in a caipirinha. It retails for approximately $35.
Find out more at www.cabanacachaca.com
Lastly, add a few flavors of The Perfect Puree’s Beverage Artistry line of mixers to the bag. Corporate Mixologist Dana Bruner was my guest on Episode 23.
The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley’s Beverage Artistry® capitalizes on the current trends in the beverage world, enabling even the most discerning beverage artist to exceed the limits of their palate imagination. Unique, balanced and iconic flavors provide a platform upon which creativity has no boundaries – every glass is a liquid canvas. Some of the flavors to try are El Corazon, Mojito, Rum Runner and White Sangria. $25.
Find out more at www.perfectpuree.com.
Day 20 takes us to one of my favorite Boston restaurants, L’Espalier…I was so happy to have Sommelier Kate Moore (a fellow BC grad) as a guest on Episode 24. L’Espalier is in the heart of the Back Bay, adjacent to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. Under Chef, Proprietor, Author and now Farmer Frank McClelland’s stewardship, L’Espalier has consistently been rated at the top of national and local best restaurant lists (Zagat, Boston Magazine, Frommer’s Travel Guide, Wine Spectator, among them), serving sophisticated and modern New England-French cuisine, with an emphasis on artisanal and New England ingredients.
A great gift would be a gift card to L’Espalier (prices vary), so that the giftee can go to lunch, dinner or to one of Kate’s “Top Shelf” Cocktail classes…add to that a copy of Chef McClelland’s “Wine Mondays”, which features 130 recipes organized into four-course pairing menus by season, with accompanying wine notes and suggestions. All of the recipes come from the popular Wine Mondays program at L’Espalier—a weekly event created to make food and wine pairing accessible, fun, and affordable. ($24.95)
To that, add a gift set of wine from Jordan Vineyards. I’ve long been a Jordan fan, and was thrilled to have CEO John Jordan as my guest on Episode 26. Since their inaugural 1976 vintage, Jordan wines have been renowned for their consistency and elegance. Tucked into the hills in Alexander Valley, just north of Healdsburg in Sonoma County, they are dedicated to winemaking, hospitality and the joys of the table.
A beautiful wooden box set of the 2008 Jordan Chardonnay & 2006 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon would delight any wine lover on your list ($90). Include a beautiful Riedel Vinum Engraved Chardonnay ($24) or Bordeaux ($29) wine glass, so they can enjoy their gift in style.
Find out more at www.jordanwinery.com
Our Day 13 Gift Idea takes us to San Francisco, one of the cities that has been at the forefront of the resurgence of well-made, classic cocktails. Jeff Hollinger & Rob Schwartz, my guests on Episode 5, were part of that movement when they ran the bar at Absinthe. Their book “The Art of the Bar: Cocktails Inspired by the Classics” is loaded with beautiful photos and great drink recipes. It’s $16.47 on Amazon (list price $25).
To that, add a bottle of Square One Organic Vodka. Founder & CEO Allison Evanow, who is based in San Francisco, was my guest on Episode 11. Square One is a limited-production single grain vodka which uses certified organic American rye. It retails for approximately $35. You can find out more at
Day 10 is about one of our favorite mixologists – as a matter of fact he is known as The Modern Mixologist – Tony Abou-Ganim. Tony was a guest on Episode 15, and I had so much fun talking to him about his career, travels and wonderful cocktails he has created over the years.
A great gift for the cocktail person on your list would be a copy of Tony’s book, The Modern Mixologist ($35). Autographed copies are available if you order through his website.
To that, add one of his TAG Mojito Kits ($49), which includes one of the best juicers I have ever seen, a beautiful hand-crafted solid cherry wood muddler all tucked into a canvas Lewis bag, perfect for crushing ice.
If you’re feeling generous, also include a copy of Tony’s Modern Mixologist DVD ($19.95), all about creating perfect cocktails at home.
And, if you hurry, he also has embroidered cocktail napkins on sale for $2 for a set of 6 while they last!
You can find out more at www.themodernmixologist.com.
Day 4 is all about The Cocktail…we have been so fortunate to have some of the most legendary people in the cocktail world on our show this year.
“King Cocktail” himself, Mr. Dale DeGroff, was our guest in August (Episode 14). A wonderful gift for any cocktail buff or aspirational mixologist on your list would be copies of Dale’s two books…”The Craft of the Cocktail” and “The Essential Cocktail”…both are available on Amazon.com for $23.10.
Dale also has a fantastic “Craft of the Cocktail” card deck, which includes fifty fabulous cocktail recipes created by Dale and also includes bartending tips for preparing, mixing, and serving drinks in style. It’s $10.17 on Amazon.
If you really want to be a hero, add a bottle of Absolut or Beefeater to the cocktail gift bag. Those are products from Pernod-Ricard….Suzanne Freedman, Pernod-Ricard’s Director of On-Premise was also a guest on Episode 14 with Dale.
The person who recieves these will be very happy!