Great Gifts for the Boozers in your Life
LOVINGLY CRAFTED FOOD THAT MAKES YOUR TASTE BUDS SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE
by Tom Firth
It’s been a tough year for Calgarians and I’m sure many are happy to say farewell to 2016. But what shouldn’t change is that the holidays are always a great time to get together with friends and family to break bread and raise a glass (or two).
This year, I’ve tried to include more options of things that can be ordered online, and a few new things that should interest the geek on your list along with the beverage aficionado in your life, whether a budding brewmaster, an amateur bartender, or a sommelier-in-training.
Prepara Ice Balls
Bring a little more to your drinks at home. The Prepara Ice Balls (make whatever winter joke you feel is fitting) is a four-pack of round ice molds that make 2” ice balls that look sharp, last long, and might – just might – make your drinks taste better. Can be used for infusions, cooking, and drinks for young and old. A stocking-stuffer-friendly price of $12 from Savour in Inglewood.
Henriot 2005 Champagne Jeroboam
Remember those holiday commercials, where the wrapped gift is so obviously something, like a dog or tennis racquet, but once the wrap is off, it becomes a coffee maker? Imagine having a 3-liter bottle of champagne wrapped under the tree, looking like the nose cone of a missile. Called a Jeroboam or double magnum, a bottle that big should serve about 20-24 revelers. So if you plan parties big or small, this says you have something to celebrate (also available in smaller bottles). About $745, CSPC +725899
Glenmorangie Milsean Private Edition
The private edition range is an annual release from Glenmorangie and the Milsean, which means “sweet things” in Gaelic, has landed with a bang. As someone who likes my whisky with peat only on special occasions, I’m very happy with something like this, which is extra-matured in re-toasted wine casks. Enjoy all those spicy notes, plums and citrus and a nice tobacco-like finish. Bottled at cask strength, a little water opens it up nicely. About $100, CSPC +783618
Jacopo Poli Grappa “Baby Barrel” Gift Pack
Grappa is pretty awesome stuff. Made from the pomace and “leftovers” of winemaking, it’s a XXXXX. Often bottled with a minimum of ageing, it can also be barrel-finished and it picks up some of the nuance and flavour from whatever the barrel held before. Marquee grappa producer Poli makes this gift pack with five 100 ml bottles (just the right amount for both a newcomer and aficionado) finished in Sassicaia, Sauternes, Port, Sherry PX, and Rum barrels. About $90, CPSC +748977
Danby Keg Cooler We
get it, you like your craft beer – maybe some of those new Alberta craft brewers that only package in kegs (so far). So why not enjoy your craft beer the way nature intended, right from the keg! The Danby Keg Cooler comes in a one- and two-tap configuration and has everything you need to start enjoying the best beer right at home. The single is $550, the double $650 at Costco
Musical Scale Wine Glasses
Tell the wine lover in your life that you think they might have too much time on their hands with a full set of eight wine glasses line-marked to let you fill each glass to the precise level for a complete musical scale. Fill your home with the ethereal notes of your musical makings this holiday season. About $320, depending on the Canadian dollar, from uncommongoods.com (type the name into the "search" at the top to get right there)
Game of Thrones House Sigil Wine Charms
Can’t wait for the new season of Game of Thrones? Take the edge off the wait with these pewter and enameled wine charms with the house of your favourite, murderous, incestuous, or even just plain crazy house from the hit show and best-selling books. In the set of six, you’ll find Stark, Targaryen, Lannister, Baratheon, Greyjoy and Tyrell – spoiler alert, some of these houses might be done for already. $15 US, so depending on the exchange, plan on about $20 from thinkgeek.com (go to the Game of Thrones logo).
Last Best Brewing & Distilling Growler and Fill Card
Want to give the gift of craft beer to the aficionado on your list but don’t know how to go about it? Consider Last Best’s growler punch card. For $30 you get the growler (a $25 value) and three refills of any of their locally made, delicious brews. Refills can be collected at any of their locations (Calgary, Banff, Jasper and Fort Mac), allowing the recipient to collect beer when they want it. A punch card with six refills and a growler can be purchased for $60, if your aficionado is the extrathirsty sort. Pick it up at Last Best Brewing and Distilling, 607-11th Ave. SW. $30 or $60
Chemist’s Cocktail Kit
Bring together your joy of science and your love of mixology with the Chemist Cocktail Kit from Think Geek. Everything you need to start mixing and imbibing in a handy kit with test tubes, Erlenmeyer flasks, a shaker and more. Maybe you can figure out if your favourite cocktail is created with art or science. $30 US from thinkgeek.com (type the name into the “search” at the top to get right to it)
Taylor Fladgate “Estates Collection” Single Quinta Ports
It’s no secret, port is something pretty awesome to enjoy when the snow is flying, cooped up inside with friends or family (maybe even both). Two of Taylor Fladgate’s singleestate ports are in this gift box, perfectly suited to a side by side comparison, or for two separate occasions. Quinta do Vargellas is one of the greatest vineyards for port, and the Terra Feita is a remarkable vineyard as well. As an added plus, each bottle is a “split” (375 ml) which ages just a little faster than a fullsized bottle, so you don’t have to feel guilty about pulling the cork too soon. About $75, CSPC +745186
Box Brew Kits, One-Gallon Home Brewing Kit
Experience the joy of having your friends and family judging you on your beer-making skills as well as your fitness as a human being. With the home brewing kit, you get everything you need to make a gallon of suds in one of eight different recipes in a fancy and easily wrapable package. You can also get refill ingredients and re-sealable flip-top bottles if you need them. Prices from $70 US, plus about $40 US for ingredient shipping, boxbrewkits.com
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