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.
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.
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!
The good folks at Grand Marnier sent us their new Signature Collection, the smooth and delicious Raspberry Peach. The Signature Collection Series is a unique annual flavor offering from Grand Marnier featuring an all-natural fusion of fresh fruit ingredients and exotic orange essence, blended with premium Cognac. Here’s how they describe it: “The House of Marnier Lapostolle is proud to present our latest expression, Signature Collection No. 2 Raspberry peach. The natural flavors of succulent European raspberries and rare red peaches from Ardèche, in the South of France, are combined with world-renowned Grand Marnier, made from our exceptionally smooth Cognac and wild tropical Haitian oranges.”
It sounds incredible, and it totally lives up to the hype. Just pour it into a cocktail glass with some ice and you have a delicious drink with a nice kick. It’s not too sweet or syrupy like some liqueurs and it makes for a great sipping drink. If you’re a fan of Grand Marnier you have to try this, and we recommend it to anyone who enjoys spirits.
Here’s a punch recipe provided by Grand Marnier and created by mixologist George Carney that you can serve if you’re hosting a holiday party, though we like the Raspberry Peach so much we would serve it straight on the rocks:
GM Raspberry Peach Holiday Punch
2 quarts Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach
1 ½ cups cinnamon syrup
2 quarts water
1 quart lemon juice
1 quart overproof rum
4 oz apricot brandy
Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl and serve. Optional: freeze raspberries and pieces of peach in purified water and add to punch bowl.
For individual portions:
2 oz Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach
1/2 oz cinnamon syrup
2 oz spring water
1 oz lemon juice
1 oz overproof rum
1/8 oz apricot brandy
Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake vigorously. Strain into a punch glass.
With the holidays coming, Grand Marnier Signature Collection No. 2 – Raspberry Peach is a great choice to bring to a party. It can also be a great gift for both men and women as the flavor will have broad appeal. Buy an extra one for your home bar!
This is the best new spirit I’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!
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
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
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.
Booze and the movies go way back. From the self-medicating part-time hooker heroine of 1931’s “Safe in Hell” — a highlight of 2013’s Turner Classic Movies Festival — to the lovable dipsomaniacs of “The Thin Man” and “Harvey” and on into more recent times with such frequently soused superheros as James Bond and Tony Stark, the movies have glamorized alcohol. When the movies wanted to, they could make habitual drunkenness charming, funny, and, of course, sexy.
While the movies once celebrated cigarette smoking as well, modern day Hollywood Boulevard makes it tricky for smokers to indulge in their passion, give or take some hookah bars and a medical marijuana “clinic.” Booze, however can be obtained with great ease. All you need is plenty of ready cash to afford the inflated prices or a clean credit card or two and you can have your fill of cocktails.
And that’s exactly what I did between classic, near classic, and merely really interesting movies the weekend of the 2013 TCM Fest. What follows is a (relatively) brief journal of the drinks I found going up and down the boulevard we call Hollywood the final weekend of April.
Now, I should add that this listing is my no means exhaustive and is, with one exception, limited to cocktails one can purchase on Hollywood Boulevard proper, no side streets allowed. They can all be obtained within a fairly easy walk of Sid Grauman’s old Chinese and Egyptian Theaters and the legendary Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the heart of Hollywood and the home base of the TCM Fest.
And so we begin our journey across the street from the Egyptian at what is still Los Angeles’s most famous bar.