2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Guy Stuff

Guys are pretty easy to shop for. Most of the time, you can just get stuff you’d buy for yourself. Yet sometimes, when you’re shopping for your dad, brother or any other guy on your shopping list, you have to cast a wider net, because tastes obviously vary. Still, at least you can pick up some stuff for yourself while you’re browsing.

Click the links to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean & AirFloss

Ask your dentist about the best way to keep your teeth clean and they’ll probably recommend an electronic toothbrush. Though there’s an intimidating selection of brands and models to choose from, we’ve been using the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean for just over three months now and couldn’t be happier with the results. Powered by Sonic technology that delivers 31,000 brush strokes a minute, the DiamondClean uses gentle sweeping motions that drive fluids deep into the tight spaces between your teeth and along your gum line, removing plague in hard-to-reach areas and helping to prevent gum recession. Not every mouth was created equal, so the DiamondClean offers five unique modes – Clean, White, Polish, Gum Care and Sensitive – for a custom cleaning that will meet your specific needs, while the included Quadpacer beeps every 30 seconds to ensure you thoroughly brush all four quadrants. If the toothbrush itself wasn’t cool enough, it also comes with a charging glass that can be used for rinsing your mouth when removed from the base, as well as an ultra-sleek travel case that doubles as a charger when plugged into your laptop’s USB port or a wall outlet.

For those looking to add another line of defense to their cleaning regiment, the Philips Sonicare AirFloss helps remove stubborn plague buildup with a quick burst of air and micro-water droplets. It only requires a teaspoon of water (or mouthwash, if you feel so inclined) to clean an entire mouth, and has been proven to be safe and gentle on teeth and gums. But while its name might suggest otherwise, the AirFloss shouldn’t be used as an alternative to regular flossing, so don’t even bother trying unless you want a lecture from the dentist at your next appointment.

sonicare

The Wellie Boot

wellie

These are great work boots from The Original Muck Boot Company that are also stylish enough to use as casual boots for everyday use or going out. This is a functional work boot that also looks stylish as well. The key feature is standing comfort on hard surfaces with the boot’s shock absorbing outsole and Gel-Core sub-sole that adds cushioning. The Wellie is a mid-height full grain leather pull-on boot that is 100% waterproof and features breathable Hydroguard and Airmesh lining to displace moisture effectively to keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. They’re also available with a composite toe for increased workplace safety. The Wellie comes in brown, black and wheat featuring impressive Crazy Horse full grain leather, making the Wellie a boot you can wear out with jeans or casual pants as well.

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2014 Holiday Gift Guide: Gadgets

Adults like toys too, so if you’re on the lookout for a memorable gift for your spouse or just treating yourself to an early Christmas present, a cool gadget is always a great option. Of course, prices run the gamut in this arena, so you’ll need to be careful, but whether you’re shopping for the latest and greatest tablet or something to please that audiophile in your life, you can find something that fits almost any budget.

Click the links to purchase each product online, and for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Apple iPhone 6

apple

Just when everyone was starting to question Apple, the company comes out with the bigger iPhone 6 and massive iPhone 6 Plus. Sales have exploded and competitors that relied on having bigger screens to differentiate their phones suddenly saw their sales decline. The new iPhones are a huge hit, and an Apple box is becoming almost as desirable as the iconic blue box from Tiffany. The bottom line is that you can never go wrong with an Apple gift. We prefer the iPhone 6 and only recommend the 6 Plus for someone who has made it clear they want a huge phone. We were happy with the size of the older iPhones, but that changed quickly after using the new 6 for a couple of days. It’s thinner, so it seems like the perfect size now after you add a case. We also found it to be much faster and the charge lasts long as well. The phones are expensive, so in order to get a deal, you’ll need to have information about the applicable carrier and phone plan, but the work will be worth it.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S

samsung

If there’s one tablet that has what it takes to compete with the Apple iPad mini, it’s the Samsung Galaxy Tab S, although your decision will ultimately depend on which operating system (iOS or Android) you prefer. Those that fall into the latter camp will absolutely love what Samsung’s newest tablet has to offer, including a Super AMOLED display (available in either an 8.4-inch or 10.5-inch screen), a 1.9GHz Quad-Core processor, a built-in 8-megapixel rear camera and 2.1-megapixel front camera for photos and video chat, 16 GB of onboard memory, and a microSD card slot that allows for an additional 128 GB of memory… all packaged in a super sleek design that measures just over a 1/4-inch thin and weighs less than a pound. This thing is about as mobile as they come, and it boasts some great features as well, like the ability to use two apps side-by-side (for instance, you can watch a YouTube video while typing an email), a Kids Mode to limit what child users can access, and a fingerprint scanner that captures and stores multiple fingerprints for added security. Though we’ve had some bad experiences with Android tablets in the past, there’s a good reason why Samsung has become the go-to device for Android users, and the Galaxy Tab S is their best one yet.

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Patrón XO Cafe Incendio

Patrón XO Cafe Incendio

I love premium tequila, so naturally I’m a fan of everything from Patrón. So when I tried their delicious new offering, Patrón XO Cafe Incendio, I knew it would live up to the brand’s high standards.

This spicy and sweet liqueur is delicious and it offers a great new option whether you’re looking for a drink to savor and enjoy, or whether you’re getting a party going with shots. And we all know that few things get a party going like tequila, and this sweet drink should win over more tequila fans, particularly among the ladies.

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Drink of the Week: The Ramos Gin Fizz

the Ramos Gin Fizz.It’s the day after Thanksgiving and, if you seriously overdid it in the alcohol department while getting into a drunken political argument with your uncle Dave, you should probably lay off the booze completely today. Have a nice glass of orange juice maybe. Even so, for many a boozer, the solution to too much booze is just a little more booze, delivered with a thoughtfully prepared cushion of sugar and fat.

I admit it, the sugar, egg white, and milk fat in the drink originally referred to as the New Orleans Gin Fizz tends to soften the drink’s alcoholic blow much in the manner of that slimmer, more vitamin-rich hang-over classic, the Bloody Mary. Still, you don’t have to be a degenerate drinker to enjoy this labor intensive, slightly tart refresher, the best known member of the large category of drinks knowns as fizzes, and yet another American classic associated with the wondrous city of New Orleans.

The Ramos Gin Fizz

2 ounces gin
1 large egg white
1-3 ounces seltzer water (for the fizz!)
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce heavy cream or half-and-half
1/2 ounce simple syrup or 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar (will taste slightly sweeter)
2-3 drops orange flower water (definitely optional, I say)

Combine all of the ingredients, except the carbonated water, in a sturdy cocktail shaker. Follow our usual egg white procedure and dry shake for about 10-20 second. Be careful because that egg white wants to make the top of your shaker pop off sometimes.

Next, following our usual procedure, add lots of ice and shake again. Usually a vigorous 10-20 seconds or so would be sufficient here, but in a nod to tradition — which we’ll be discussing below — try to go as long as you can before your arms feel like they’re about to fall off and your hands freeze. I managed about 45 seconds on my own and pretty much doubled that with the help of a friend.

Strain into a Tom Collins style glass or something similar, and add the all-important seltzer water to give your fizz it’s fizz. Toast the long tradition of strong-armed bartenders.

***
Okay, now everyone will tell you that you actually need to shake the Ramos Gin Fizz with ice, no dry shaking allowed, for a minimum of one minute, and preferably two, three, or 12 minutes. For that last number, you’d apparently be following the instructions of Mr. Henry Ramos himself, who famously employed a relay of 12 bartenders to prepare just one famous fizz.

I smell more than a bit of hype here. Regular readers know I’m no stranger to using egg white in cocktails. My recipe is largely adapted and adjusted a bit from a few I found online, including from purist David Wondrich and a more modern Epicurious. I, however, see no reason for self-torture to make the Ramos Fizz. Shaking for two minutes might not sound like a lot but, once you try doing it yourself, you’ll realize it’s not hard to reach your limit. “Why kill yourself?” I ask

Speaking of killing yourself, Mr. Wondrich insists you have to use heavy cream for this and derides the substitution of mere half-and-half. Having tried it both ways, I have to say that I actually prefer it with the somewhat less suicidally fattening/artery clogging half-and-half. The heavy cream, for me, is, well, a bit heavy.

On the other hand, I prepared the straight-up Wondrich take with a friend, who loved it just the way it was. I have to admit that the Ramos Fizz is slightly tart for my personal taste, but that’s the way to drink it. “King Cocktail” Dale DeGroff’s version actually calls for a LOT of simple syrup — an entire shot’s worth at 1 1/2 ounces  — while using regular homogenized milk. That didn’t solve the tartness problem for me, while also feeling thin.

In any case, I found that pretty much every version I made of this drink was satisfying, refreshing, and surprisingly non-buzz inducing — we can thank all those extra fat and sugar calories for that, I suppose.

I tried a Ramos Fizz with both Tanqueray and Gordon’s gin, without it making it much of a difference. I also forgot to include the orange flower water a couple of times and noticed almost no difference, which worries me. One time, I forgot the include the gin. That made a difference. The scary part was, it was less tart and I liked it!

  

How will Wearable Tech Impact on the Future of Gaming?

Apple Watch

While there are suggestions that Google Glass may be a flawed project, it is important to recognise that the same theory does not apply to the overall concept of wearable technology. In fact, this is set to become the single most prominent tech trend in 2015, as variable garments from wristbands to alternative versions of eyewear continue to enter production.

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