What To Drink and Buy Now: Gifts for the Wine, Food, and Spirits Lover

Looking for a few unique gifts for the person on your list who has everything? Consider one of these beautiful ideas that will please even the most finicky friends.

Earlier this year famed photographer Annie Leibovitz lent her talents to The Macallan’s Masters of Photography Series to create unique, limited production single cask whiskies now being released by The Macallan.  There are four photographs capturing Scottish actor Kevin McKidd sips The Macallan, probably thoughtfully remembering his time as a young man when he worked at the distillery. 1000 bottles will be sold through December, costing about $2500 a bottle, a beautiful gift for the scotch lover and collector in your life.

The process of making the one true American spirit is as intricate as the liquid in the bottle is delicious.  Marker’s Mark Bourbon has captured this in a one of a kind, limited edition coffee table book detailing the process by master photographer David Toczko.  Ambassador of Bourbon was photographed at the Star Hill Farm distillery in Loretto, Kentucky, and contains over 250 photos from the farm and family, showing why Maker’s Mark is one of the finest and most refined producers in the country. The book is available for purchase here. 

For home cooks and foodie friends, give them the ability to create foams and emulsions at home with their own little laboratory with a Cuisine R-Evolution Molecular Gastronomy kit available at Amazon and Brookstone.  Though liquid nitrogen is not included, pretty much everything else you need to whip up a contemporary dish, changing the face of home cooking for ever.

For your spirited friends who enjoy a leisurely bike ride, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur has created limited edition, 1950’s inspired bicycles reminiscent of those found in the French country  side equipped with BROOKS genuine-leather saddles, handlebars and saddle bags and  Michelin tires.  The best addition to these whimsical bikes – a bottle holder strapped to the bicycle frame to ensure you are always ready for a cocktail while riding around White Rock or enjoying a casual jaunt through the neighborhood.

Perhaps my favorite new wine gadget is the Twist Adjustable Wine Aerator from Host Studios.  How many times do you think about opening a bottle of wine and letting it breath before a dinner party, then you get to cooking and entertaining and when you sit down to dinner your special bottle of wine is sitting on the counter unopened?  Twist solves this problem with an adjustable nozzle that allows you to adjust how long the wine you just opened should be aerated.  If it is a light red that might just need an hour or two of being opened prior to enjoying, simply click the 1 or 2 button on the device.  If the wine is a big, intense, tannic red that would really benefit from several hours of being opened prior to enjoying, you are saved by simply clicking the 5 or 6 on the Twist.  A great device for any wine lover or entertainer.

I love a really, really dirty martini, made with lots of olive juice and preferably blue cheese stuffed olives. 1888 Dirtiest Martini Mix might be the best dirty martini mix I have tasted, made from whole pressed Spanish olives giving the mix an intense olive flavor, however the mix contains much less sodium than normal brine filled olive juice used in most dirty martinis, and some healthy antioxidants from the whole olives….so you could argue this mix is actually making your evening libation healthy, and it is made right here in Texas. Keep the cocktail in the Texas family and mix the 1888 with Tito’s Texas Vodka or some of Jason Kosmas‘ Aylesbury Duck Vodka from The 86 Company. 1888 Dirtiest Martini Mixer is available at Central Market, Sigel’s and Pogo’s.

If you are feeling adventurous try making your own bottle of gin with the Homemade Gin Kit.  Just add your own bottle of vodka to this kit that includes juniper berries and herbs, the tools needed to create your spirit and of course a full set of instructions.

If you are feeling very adventurous, make your own homemade holiday amaretto by simply adding a sugar syrup to your favorite vodka with a bit of vanilla and almond extract.  Here’s how:

Homemade Amaretto, Almond Liqueur
3 cups vodka
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup almond extract
pinch salt
pinch all spice and cinnamon, optional
Directions – Add the sugar and water to a sauce pan with the salt and spices and bring to a boil.  Stir often until the sugar has fully dissolved.  Remove from heat and let cool, then stir in the vodka and extracts.  Pour through a strainer to make sure the liqueur is completely smooth, then pour through a funnel into a bottle and seal.  Great for gifting, or for yourself.