Grown-Up Giving: Our Favorite Wine and Spirit Gifts of the Holiday Season

Friday December 17, 2021
Originally published on November 29, 2021

Grown-Up Giving: Our Favorite Wine and Spirit Gifts of the Holiday Season
  (Source:Getty Images)

Does your bestie's bar cart need a makeover? Is your loved one lost when it comes to shaking up craft cocktails? Have no fear. EDGE offers a shortlist of our favorite wine, spirits, cocktail concoctions and beverage-inspired gifts to take your gift-giving to the next level.

(Source: William Chris Vineyards, Lost Draw Cellars)

William Chris Vineyards and Lost Draw Cellars

The gift of wine is a go-to for the oenophiles in our lives. So why not opt for the unexpected with wines from the emerging region of Texas, known for its rich terroir that produces award-winning vintages and varietals?

William Chris Vineyards co-founders William "Bill" Blackmon and Chris Brundrett are at the forefront of Texas wine with their estate vineyard in Hill Country. Standouts include William Chris 2020 Roussanne, La Pradera Vineyards ($32), a Rhone-style white with notes of lemon, apricot and cantaloupe. For reds, we love the William Chris 2018 Mourvedre ($35), a chameleon in a bottle as notes of blackberry, floral and herbs converge for an ideal meal pairing or on its own.

We found a winner in Lost Draw Cellars 2019 Sangiovese, Alta Loma Vineyards ($47) — recently selected as one of the state's top picks by Texas Monthly. Bright cherry upfront with undertones of leather and anise make it the perfect pairing for a Texas-style T-bone steak, Italian comfort food or a simple charcuterie board.

(Source: Eric Medsker, 'The Japanese Art of the Cocktail')

"The Japanese Art of the Cocktail"

Mashiro Urushido has come a long way, both figuratively and literally, from his early days of bartending at a karaoke bar in his hometown of Minowa, Japan. His food and beverage knowledge exponentially expanded after landing a job at Tableaux, one of Tokyo's finest restaurants.

Urushido, owner of New York's world-famous Katana Kitten cocktail bar, details his journey in "The Japanese Art of the Cocktail" ($18.60), a book that is equal parts autobiographical, historical, and recipe-focused. Written in collaboration with Michael Anstendig, stunning photography accompanies this fascinating publication that's ideal for anyone wishing to up the ante on their bartending skills or simply learn more about Japanese style, culture and mixology.

(Source: Barr Hill Gin)

Barr Hill: Gin Gift Pack

For the gin lover in your life, share something just a smidge sweeter with the Barr Hill Gin Gift Pack ($46.98-$69.99).

The two-pack of uniquely Vermont "landcrafted" spirits includes a one-pound jar of raw Northern honey, the special ingredient behind Barr Hill's award-winning gins and vodka. One bottle is the classic Barr Hill Gin, made with a unique botanical extraction and hand-crushed juniper, finished with honey. The second is Tom Cat Gin, aged in new American oak barrels with a touch of raw honey — lending this grain spirit whiskey-like color and rich caramel notes, perfect for a hot toddy.

Both gins are refined enough for sipping and lend an extra-special pizzazz to cocktails. Bonus: Barr Hill serves up dozens of libation recipes for inspiration.

(Source: Hochstadter's Slow & Low Coffee Old-Fashioned)

Hochstadter's Slow & Low Coffee Old-Fashioned

Coffee and whiskey fans have the best in booze and bean with Hochstadter's Slow & Low Coffee Old-Fashioned ($29.99). At first thought, one might presume that this combination of straight rye whiskey and Intelligentsia cold brew coffee might be overly sweet. After all, it's also made with honey, demerara sugar, bitters, and orange peel. But this marriage has been deliciously orchestrated into a palate-pleasing libation.

Fresh orange is immediately detected on the nose, followed by a comforting coffee scent and aged oak. Java prevails on the palate, with citrus and rye rounding it out. This classy cocktail can be served neat or on the rocks. Add a splash of heavy cream for extra decadence and richness.

(Source: Bardega Cocktail Club)

Bardega Cocktail Club

Does your special someone love a good shrub? Is their bar cart stocked with orgeat? (And do they even know what that is?) They'll learn, thanks to the Bardega Cocktail Club, a monthly subscription service ($51-$60/per month) offering rare and distinctive ingredients whimsically packaged in a colorful gift box. Each kit provides three recipes for 12 cocktails and every kit is themed.

November's "Friendsgiving" focused on warm, autumnal spices like ginger, thyme, pumpkin seed and cranberry. Neatly packaged, bottles resemble apothecary jars and recipients can either attempt mixing drinks on their own or participate in a Zoom class with expert mixologists Pip and Dodge. (Class time and date listed in each welcome pack.) Note: Alcohol not included.

(Source: Drinks by the Dram)

Drinks by the Dram: That Boutique-y Gin Company Advent Calendar

Holiday cheer, indulgent food, annual parties, time off of work —so much to look forward to in December! But the anticipation builds better with a boozy advent calendar. Unlike the candy kid's version, Drinks By the Dram advent calendars serve up daily specialty spirits for 24 days leading up to Christmas.

This year's standout is That Boutique-y Gin Company Advent Calendar ($79.74), featuring 24 drams of award-winning gins from independent distilleries. Each one promises a unique flavor profile, like chocolate-cherry gin, smoked rosemary gin, port-barreled pink gin, and others sure to dazzle daring cocktail palates.

Drinks by the Dram ships from the United Kingdom, so purchase for U.S. delivery at The Spirit Co.