Last week I suggested some pricey gifts for wine and cocktail lovers. But if you’re on a tighter budget or if you’re just looking for a basic hostess gift, this post is for you. Happy gifting!
1. Evan Williams Single Barrel Reserve (around $25)
I know I’m a broken record on the subject of EWSBR, but seriously, it’s unbelievable for the price — spirits reviewers consistently give it 90+ points. If you’re on a budget and need a gift-worthy bourbon, this is the one.
2. Bottles of fun bitters (price will vary but it will be easy to keep this under $25)
If you’ve got a cocktail-mixing friend but can’t drop $50+ on Crème de Violette, pick up a few bottles of bitters. They generally won’t set you back more than $15 apiece (usually less), and any cocktail lover will be thrilled to experiment with orange bitters, lavender bitters, or grapefruit bitters.
3. 4 Viv Martini Glasses from Crate & Barrel ($20 plus tax)
Back when I was living in Canada, I bought these glasses so I’d have something to mix Cosmos and Manhattans in. I loved them. Our stemless Boston glasses, while cute, just don’t compare to the elegance of a stemmed martini glass. Any cocktail lover who’s just starting her home bar will get a lot of use out of these basic, classy glasses.
4. A lacquer-free wooden cocktail muddler ($15)
Have I told you how annoying it is to use the handle of a wooden spoon to muddle mint and lemons for a whiskey smash, or limes for a mojito? No? Well, it’s really annoying. A skinny handle is a very inefficient smasher. I would love a proper cocktail muddler and if you’ve got a cocktail mixer in your life, I bet she would too.
But: make sure it’s lacquer-free. A lacquered wooden cocktail muddler will look all shiny and pretty in the store, but after it’s smashed a few lemons and limes the acid will start to make the lacquer chip. Lacquer-free. Trust me on this. No one wants floating lacquer chips in a mojito.
5. A 2010 Côtes du Rhône ($10-15)
Yes, I know I just suggested this vintage last week. I’m suggesting it here again because the 2010 vintage was so good, it will be worth gifting at $10-25 a bottle as well as at $50+ a bottle. Need a hostess gift for a cocktail party? Here you go.
This is one of those occasions when vintage matters. Some 2011 Côtes du Rhônes are starting to hit the shelves and I’ve been disappointed by them. So make sure you’re grabbing a 2010!
Images from klwines.com and vicfirthgourmet.com