2013 Holiday Gift Guide: Booze

Walk into any liquor store and you’ll see hundreds of options. You can zero in on someone’s favorite drink when picking a gift, or you can get creative and choose something they wouldn’t buy for themselves. Also, remember that you don’t want to come to a party empty-handed, so get in the habit of at least bringing a bottle.

And for more gift ideas, check out the other categories in our Holiday Gift Guide.

Craft Beer Club

If you have a beer lover on your list, you can give him or her the gift that keeps on giving. The Craft Beer Club discovers exceptional craft brews from around the country and delivers them each month direct to you or your gift recipient. Every selection is produced by small-production, independent brewers who use only traditional brewing ingredients and time-honored brewing methods. In addition to traditional bottled beers, they also embrace the hundreds of small craft brewers around the country that offer their hand-crafted beers in cans. It’s a great way to enjoy craft beers and it’s ideal for the holiday season.

Laphroaig 10 Year Old Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

If dad, your buddy, your tomboyish gal pal or anyone else on your holiday list loves a very good bottle of Scotch, then consider this rather dandy, unusually enjoyable single malt. Outstanding on the rocks, with a splash of water or soda, or neat for you purists, the Laphroaig 10 Year Old is also more mixable than you might assume; on the other hand, it’s good enough that many will consider even the finest cocktail made with it a crime against nature. The website tells us that it’s got traces of salt and seaweed along with the usual peat and smoke flavors, but we don’t completely agree. It’s definitely got smoke – indeed, you might get hungry for barbecue after you take a good whiff and, yeah, that’s some salt in there, but that’s not all. Every good Scotch has its share of several indescribable tastes and smells of nature. We haven’t been to Scotland, but we wouldn’t be one bit surprised to find ourselves tasting the essence of this concoction in the clear cool air of the highlands. Cheaper than super-duper premium single malts but nearly double what you’ll likely pay for Chivas Regal, this is an outstanding gift for a true blue Scotch enthusiast.

Brugal 1888 Dominican Rum

If you’re in search of a bottle for the man or woman who’s drunk everything, Brugal 1888 is something genuinely new under the sun and it’s completely remarkable. An aged Dominican rum that thinks it’s a premium Scotch or Bourbon, it has the tantalizing, woody and astringent flavor you might get in very a high-end single malt, plus a hint of something that somehow reminds us of our dad’s old fake-leather chair. (That’s a good thing, believe it or not.) At the exact same time, it has a boldly sugary undertone that goes well beyond what you’re likely to find in the sweetest bourbon. We tasted more than a hint of maple syrup or maybe turbinado. Regardless, it’s delicious and probably not like anything you’ve had before. You can drink this on the rocks, with a bit of water, or neat. You can also put on your mixologist hat and go to town as this is a flexible beverage that won’t be out of place in an Old Fashioned, especially if you use real maple syrup in place of the usual sugar or simple syrup. High priced for rum but worth every gosh darn penny, this is one boozy gift that won’t be forgotten.

Cabo Diablo

This is the best new spirit we’ve tried in a long time. Cabo Wabo is known now just as much for its excellent tequilas as it is for its founder Sammy Hagar, and this new Cabo Diablo should attract many more fans. Cabo Diablo features a delicious coffee flavor and tastes amazing when you drink it straight. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, and it’s not think and syrupy like some liqueurs. So it’s a fantastic sipping drink that men and women should both enjoy. But better yet, it’s a tequila, so it’s also a great way to get a party going, as tequila makes everyone a little nuts at times. It is made with 100% blue agave Cabo Wabo Silver tequila, then kicks in notes of fresh roasted coffee, vanilla and chocolate for a striking combination. It’s excellent served chilled or on the rocks. With the holidays around the corner, this makes for a great gift for men and women, and it’s a great bottle to bring to a gathering to get the party started!

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adidas unveils “BIG Logo” uniforms

If you’re looking for cool NBA-themed gifts for the holidays or some new gear for yourself, check out these new “BIG Logo” uniforms unveiled by adidas and the NBA that will be worn by all 10 teams playing on the Christmas Day games. The “BIG Logo” Holiday Collection incorporates short-sleeve jerseys featuring oversized team logos in a reflective chrome color scheme on the chest as well as holiday-inspired warm-up jackets and shooting shirts and are available for purchase NBAStore.com. I suspect plenty of NBA fans would love to get this as a gift and then see players wearing them on Christmas day so this looks like a great promotional idea.

Check out the slideshow above as Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard, Harrison Barnes and Iman Shumpert show off the new jerseys. Also, keep an eye out for the new TV spot below showcasing the new uniforms.

Here’s the NBA game schedule on ESPN and ABC channels:

12 p.m. – Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets
2:30 p.m. – Oklahoma City Thunder at New York Knicks
5 p.m. – Miami Heat at Los Angeles Lakers
8 p.m. – Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs
10:30 p.m. – L.A. Clippers at Golden State Warriors

  

2013 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gadgets

Gadgets dominate our lives, and you can always start these days with dad’s phone. If he has the latest and greatest, don’t even bother. But if he’s still tied to his lame flip phone, then of course you can go with an iPhone or a new Android phone to get him into the 21st century.

If you’re looking for something a little different, we’ve put together some ideas for you. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our Father’s Day gift guide.

HP Detachable PCs

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We’re starting to see a new wave of innovation following the introduction of Microsoft’s Surface tablet, giving users gadgets that function as a tablet and a notebook computer. HP has introduced two new models with the HP SlateBook x2 and the HP Split x2, two detachable PCs that offer the full functionality of a notebook with a removable screen that also serves as a sleek tablet. The units are powered by the Android and Windows 8 operating systems, respectively, so you have some flexibility here. By releasing the magnetic hinge, users can move between the tablet and notebook PC with remarkable ease.

NuForce HP-800 Headphones

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These are great for dads who care about sound quality. We’ve reviewed many headphones over the past several years as the popularity of mobile music continues to explode and more consumers look at their headphones as a fashion statement along with being a necessary gadget. We’ve seen many fashionable designs and impressive-sounding headphones, but the NuForce HP-800 headphones stand out for sound quality. That shouldn’t be surprising, as these headphones were designed for the audio enthusiasts. The sound quality was incredibly clear but never harsh. You can pick up various all of the nuances while really feeling the full base. The goal was to capture the “natural warmth, realistic highs and visceral bass” of the recordings and we feel that has been achieved. These over-ear headphones are very large and comfortable, with ear cups made with a “human-protein” leatherette covering that is super-soft. It comes with a handy clothe carrying case along with one cord for you portable electronics and another for studio use. Yes, audiophiles can use this with premium audio or studio equipment and be very impressed with the sound quality.

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2013 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Booze

With most fathers, you really can’t go wrong giving them booze, especially if they have young kids or teenagers. And for more great ideas, be sure to check out the other categories in our Father’s Day gift guide.

Loki from Highland Park

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Loki is a 15-year old single malt Scotch that is part of Highland Park’s Valhalla Collection, a set of four unique whiskies taking inspiration from the Nordic gods of old. This creation is not for the faint of heart, as it was inspired by the “unpredictable, shape-shifting Loki character.” This Scotch was matured in both Spanish cherry casks along with heavily peated casks, so the result is a whisky with a very smoky punch. The taste is very complex and whisky aficionados will definitely want to try this one out. It comes in the spectacular packaging, and though it’s not cheap at $249 per bottle, for the right dad Loki can help you mark a memorable Father’s Day.

Mount Gay Black Barrel

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This iconic rum brand from Barbados is celebrating its 310th anniversary, so you know you’re going with quality that a dad can appreciate. This new version is hand selected by Master Blender Allen Smith, and the only one to be finished in charred bourbon oak barrels, resulting in a bold (but silky smooth) rum, with pepper, spice and wood notes. It’s great for sipping neat or on the rocks. This will definitely help your dad enjoy a nice summer day for this holiday.

CAMUS Ile de Ré Cognac

CAMUS is known for Cognac, and its latest Cognac offering comes from Ile de Ré (Island of Ré), an island just off the west coast of central France that is also a legal cognac appellation. This new and rare Cognac offers a different taste profile that is perfect chilled and will appeal to both scotch and cognac drinkers. Ile de Ré is very small, so the grapes absorb the sea spray from the air, giving the cognac a salty, maritime quality. Options include Ile de Ré Fine Island Cognac, Ile de Ré Double Matured Cognac and Ile de Ré Cliffside Cellar Cognac.

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2013 Father’s Day Gift Guide: Gear

Here’s a grab bag of Father’s Day gift ideas that fit the “gear” category, from shoes and shirts to belts and bags, and even products to get him into shape. And for more great suggestions, be sure to check out the other categories in our annual gift guide.

Golf by James Warren

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For the dad who loves to golf, or just likes to wear golf shirts, check out Golf by James Warren, a clothing collection that utilizes Europe’s best fabrics with a distinctive American style. We tried out the polo shirts and were impressed. The shirts are made in Italy using 100% cotton and the traditional designs are complimented by very distinctive features that set them apart from your traditional polo shirt. Check out the website for more shirts, sweaters and jackets that “defy traditional boundaries.”

Premium belts and more from Maono

maono

MAONO.com is on a mission to create beautiful, high-quality clothing and then selling online to remove the middle man and make their products more affordable. We checked out a black leather belt featuring a rectangular pin buckle that would make for a great gift and offers a classic and elegant design that’s perfect for everyday use. The belt is made in Italy with impeccable craftsmanship, and it offers a great example of the quality and design of this brand. If you’re looking for gifts like accessories or clothing that are classic but stylish, and if you want to stay within your budget, then you should definitely check out MAONO.com.

Tommy Bahama hybrid swim trunks

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These hybrid swim trunks from Tommy Bahama are perfect for dads who love boating or the water in general. The Hybrid of Paradise 11″ Swim Trunks are unique because you can wear them as swim trunks or regular shorts. They look like a cross between regular clothe shorts and a bathing suit, but the cotton/polyester blended material is very comfortable while also being appropriate for the water. All of the interior pockets are mesh like you would find in a bathing suit, but it has the standard external pockets you would expect from a pair of cargo shorts. The only surprise is that it doesn’t have the mesh underwear portion you would expect from a bathing suit, so that makes them look even more like shorts along with the zipper in the front. The shorts also come in a wide variety of colors. We liked the royal blue pair we had with the yellow logo on the side. With the quick dry fabric these shorts are perfect for boating and beach outings, particularly when you’ll be going back and forth between the water and the bar!

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