Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Gastronomista Gift Guide - Whisk(e)y Lover

Whiskey is a unique and very special spirit.  Those who love whiskey really love whiskey.  They dream about it.  Obsess about it.  Will travel to remote parts of the earth to have a sip of something special and rare.  I've collected some of my favorite whiskey related gifts, all of which I hope your whiskey lover will love just as much as I do.

1.  Drunk Again Whiskey Poster by Kyler Martz, screen printed in its second edition of 50.  $35

2.  I've been a fan of Four Roses since I first tasted it.  It remains one of my favorite bourbons, and so I was extremely excited when I first heard about their acclaimed 125th Anniversary Limited Edition release.  It's a small batch, blended whiskey made from a hand selection of barrels including a 18 year old recipe with characteristics of delicate fruit, spice, and creamy vanilla, a two unique 13 year old recipes that are both spicy and full of flavor.  The end result is a very bright bourbon that is full of spice, vanilla, cherry liqueur, cocoa, tobacco, and stone fruits such as apricots and plums.  It's wonderful with just a few drops of water.  $85

3.  Best to keep one's whiskey readily available at all times, and now you can with a Stone Whiskey Dispenser  $125

4.  I've asked Santa leave a very special bottle under my tree this year.  Macallan M is collaboration between Fabien Baron of Baron and Baron, who designed the bottle's incredibly sexy crystalline decanter, Lalique, who produced said decanter out of hand-blown crystal, and Macallan, who filled this decanter with single malt whiskey aged in 100% Spanish sherry oak casks.  There's only 1,750 available this worldwide, 355 of which are available to the US.  The liquid gold inside is a blend of whiskeys that range from 73 years old to 22 years old.  Don't mind if I do.  $4,500

5.  There's nothing better than sitting in front of a fire drinking whiskey, snuggled up in a man's wool jacket.  At its best, said jacket smells of campfire, pine needles, and man.  This year buy your man (or yourself) a proper Stag Jacket.  You can thank me later.  $225

6. Take your whiskey drinking act to the next level with Alexander Wang Marble Coasters.  They look damn handsome under a dram of peaty scotch.  $170

7.  Dress up your whiskey with Cecil & Merl Cherry Bitters.  I love these bitters because they are quite delicate and simple, and they subtly enhance the vanilla and stone fruit flavors in whiskey.  Hand made in Brooklyn and made in small batches with raw, natural ingredients.  $26

8.  Great whiskey demands great food.  Send tasty treats via Mouth Gift Bags filled with select indie food products that are fantastic for holiday entertaining and general nibbling.  They come in great collections such as Bring Home the Bacon, Pickle Town Taster, The Meat Market, and Cocktail Hour Every Month.  $35 and Up

9.  Good ice is a critical part of the whiskey drinking experience.  Give your whiskey lover pure joy in the form of a Sphere Ice Maker.  $300

10.  Sometimes a great cocktail needs a little time.  These great Bottle Aging Kits will let your whiskey lover "barrel" age cocktails using a charred oak stave.  They take up a whole lot less space than a barrel, and usually only take about a week to age.  $35

11.  As said by a better man, "whiskey is the life of man".  Put handsome Whiskey Posters by Jon Contino  on your wall (or iphone).  $20 and Up

12.  Japanese whisky is a transformative experience, even to the seasoned whisky drinker.  The Japanese have taken lessons learned from Scotland and refined it into incredible liquid gold.  Hakushu 12 is a wonderful winter whisky with flavors of smooth smoke contrasting with bright green freshness of pear and green apple with undertones of honeyed caramel and mint.  Fantastic for curling up in front of the fire on chilly evenings.  $65

13.  For someone who likes the peaty flavors of Islay Scotch, Caol Ila 12 (cull-eela) is a wonderfully smooth smoky pour.  It smells a bit of peppermint and smoky grass, and tastes of seaweed, aromatic grasses with notes of pepper and smoke.  This is a bottle I'm excited to share this holiday season.  $59

14.  Crinkle Whiskey Glasses by Bormiolo Rocco from West Elm for proper pours.  $30

15.  Bowmore Devil's Cask is a bottle for a serious whiskey lover, and is an incredible limited edition release with huge flavor.  It's an intensified version of Bowmore proper with flavors of salt, caramel, vanilla, and smoke.  The Devil's Cask has a firey spicy bite from the tannins up front, and saturated saltiness complimented with the flavors of caramelized orange and a hint of banana cream pie.  $90 

16.  The Devil's Cask paired with a bar of Mast Brothers Sea Salt chocolate, and you're lucky whisky lover will be in pure heaven.  $10 

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