Saturday, December 14, 2013

Gastronomista Gift Guide - Cocktails

One of my greatest joys is making cocktails at home.  I love experimenting with different recipes, trying new infusions, and of course, drinking the rewards!  The proper bar set up is critical, as I've learned, and my home bar is constantly changing and improving.  New tools come out every year, and I fall in love with vintage ones, but some are just essential.  Without further ado, the Gastronomista Guide for the home bartender in your life:

1.  A good mixing glass will change your life.  It is incredibly rewarding to give a cocktail a proper stir in a handsome vessel for your guests.  I love the Seamless Yarai Mixing Glass from Cocktail Kingdom.  $40  

2.  Proper garnishes are critical.  My go to cherries are the Filthy Black Cherries, perfect for Manhattans or a Bar Drake concoction.  Yes, I know I write about them all the time.  I love them that much.

Step up your game with Sphered Flavor Pearls.  Flavors range from Lemon Pepper, Yuzu, Soy Sauce, Maple Syrup, to Olive Oil.  I'm intrigued.  $35-$55

3.  Whenever people ask me to make cocktails at a party, there's always a mad dash to cram all my tools in some sort of tote bag, which usually ends up in something getting broken or smashed.  Especially at the end of the night.  Keep your tools tight and organized with the Uber Bar Tools Pro Bar Roll. $125

4.  Give your cocktails some character with Vintage Swizzle Sticks sourced from ebay or etsy.  Would love to know some of the stories from those collections...

5.  Good ice is critical to a good cocktail.  Give your crushed ice the due respect it deserves with the Retro Rabbit Ice Crusher.  $40 

6.  Swap out simple syrup for Maple Syrup - I love Old Field Farm Maple Syrup.  $12

7.  A home is not a home without a proper bar - bring yours to the party with a handsome Art Deco Chrome Bar Cart with brass and wood detailing.  Love those over sized chrome wheels!  $1,495

8.  Totes to remind yourself to drink responsibly with a shimmering quote from Dorthy Parker.  $158

9.  A bar is not a bar without a good line up of bitters.  Start with a gift pack from the Bittered Sling with flavors such as Orange & Juniper, Grapefruit & Hops, Lemon Marrakech, Plum & Rootbeer, Moondog, and Denman.  

10.  Cocktail Picks make handsome cocktails.  These Japanese Hamaya Arrow Pins ward off evil.  Perfect.  $10

11.  For when you need to make martinis on the go: the Tumi Ketel One Martini Travel Case, hand crafted by Tumi's artisans in Italy.  Yes please.  $5000

12.  The best cocktail book I read this year is Tony Conigliaro's The Cocktail Lab, which has inspired me to try to expand my mixology skills.  Smoking gun, check.  Next up, Sous Vide Machine.  $23

13.  The holidays have a tendency to inspire over indulgence.  A few drops of Dram Hair of the Dog Bitters in soda water will have you fighting fit in no time.  $18

14.  Protect yourself this season, and for the rest of your drinking days with Drinkwel Multivitamins for Drinkers.  I'm glad someone is looking out for us.  $40

15.  It's not a cocktail party without a stunning cocktail ring.  Every girl needs a sparkling Lanvin Borneo Gunmetal Swarovski Crystal Ring to help her shake the night away!  $495

16.  Sometimes you need the night off.  Thanks to White Whale, you can still have a good cocktail without squeezing, and straining, and infusing with their pre-made mixers.  Look out for their Old Fashioned, The Older Brother, and Their Filthy Liar.  $50 for 3

17.  Proper cocktails deserve proper glassware.  Sip your tipples in style with these hand sculpted Calypso Crystal Tumblers made by Eastern European craftsmen.  $25

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