This piece originally appeared on Fix.com.
It can be hard to track down a definitive guide to gifting alcohol with aplomb. When it comes to figuring out when it is or isn’t appropriate to gift alcohol, what to look for when giving alcohol as a gift, and how to present it when you do give it to someone, there just isn’t much help out there. If it’s any consolation, humans have been gifting booze for hundreds of years, and we still haven’t perfected it.
There’s good reason for the lack of helpful tidbits on the topic: gifting alcohol is, at best, a tricky endeavor, without any iron-clad answers, but a whole lot of potentially bad choices. Why all the gift-giving drama when it comes to booze? After all, isn’t this stuff supposed to be fun? The trickiness comes from a combination of history, culture, and subjective personal preference.
In the U.S., the legal climate surrounding alcohol has puritanical holdovers from our past. Thanks to the failed moral-turned-legal experiment of Prohibition, alcohol is one of the most regulated products in the country’s history (in some cases, even surpassing the laws governing firearms) and, depending on where you live, its sale may be prohibited in certain areas, on certain days, and during certain times. Can you say taboo?
There are also a dizzying amount of options when it comes to alcohol as a gift – from sparkling to still wine, fortified wines to spirits, beer, liquors, and ciders, all with various subvarieties that may or may not match the tastes of the recipient. Does your head hurt yet? If so, that probably signifies that you’re sane.
While the prime directive when it comes to gift-giving alcohol is undoubtedly the personal taste preferences of the person being gifted, here are some general tips for navigating one of the trickiest gift-giving scenarios you’re likely to ever encounter. Consider each of the scenarios below to be ones in which gifting booze is not only appropriate, but often especially welcome.
Dinner or Housewarming Party
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The key things to remember about gifting alcohol at a party are 1) you’re usually gifting for the hosts, not the other guests, and 2) it’s quite possible that the gift will be consumed the same day you give it. Wine and beer are usually perfect for these scenarios, and you can almost always be budget-minded here when it comes to price.
Nonvintage sparkling wines like cava and prosecco, sweeter wines like moscato, as well as mid-range beers, are all great choices. Good options for still wine (white, rosé, and red) can be had from budget-minded regions such as South America. Since the gift might be popped open in short order, a gift bag or other simple packaging – bows look fun on six-packs – is a good idea. If you decide to go the beer route, choose a local craft brew; they’ve never been more accessible. If you want to include glasses, go for simple, tulip-shaped stemmed or stemless glasses for wine, or a pint glass or two with beer.
Gifting your boss is often about celebrating his or her occasion and helping your own impression management. The rule of thumb here? Stay classy, and give something that isn’t cheap – this is a reflection on you, remember? It’s a bonus if the booze can last beyond one day after opening, so that your boss has many occasions to enjoy it while pondering what a wonderful employee you are. Fortified wines like Madeira and port are good options, as are spirits such as cognac, Armagnac, scotch, and bourbon. These will all be in the premium range, but that’s the price you pay for a good impression.
You could make an even bigger splash if you pair the alcohol with mid- to high-end simply styled glass tumblers for spirits, or small tulip-shaped tasting glasses for wine. Try to give the gift one-on-one, in private, so the gift-giving doesn’t appear overly showy or create an awkward scenario for either of you.
When it’s your birthday, what gifts mean the most to you? Probably the ones in which it’s obvious that the giver put thought into them. Well, consider that the golden rule in gifting alcohol to your birthday boy or girl; show some thought in the selection. If they like a particular spirit, wine, or beer style, look for interesting, new, or limited-edition versions of their favorites (that usually means mid- to premium-range price points).
Extras will often go a long way toward making the gift more meaningful when it comes to birthdays. If gifting beer, remember that these can sometimes be purchased in sets that combine bottles of craft brews with custom beer glasses. For wine, look for a glass style made specifically for the grape variety or wine type being gifted. Yeah, it’s extra work, but the thoughtfulness will be appreciated.
Milestones: Weddings, Significant Birthdays, Anniversaries, Births
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The reason we celebrate significant milestones in people’s lives is because they’re rare; they are genuinely worth celebrating. The gift you give here should reflect that specialness; therefore, you’re going premium price point or bust. On the bright side, by definition you won’t have to shell out for these events too often.
Vintage sparkling wine is the gold standard. Vintage wine or fortified wine will also work. If you really want to wow the recipient, try to find a vintage that matches a year significant to the celebration (like a birth year or wedding date). These are the occasions to go all out, so you can probably be as flamboyant with the packaging as your heart desires. Add-ons like champagne flutes or small wine glasses are perfectly acceptable, but don’t upstage the main gift; make the alcohol the unquestioned star of the show, and a reflection on the people and milestone being celebrated.
There are so many potential options for holiday gift-giving that it could make your head pop like a champagne cork, but one of the most tried-and-true ways to handle this scenario is to go seasonal. For example, there are beers that are brewed specifically for every season, and they’re great gift options for holiday parties. Thinking in terms of food pairings helps, too; lighter fare in the warmer months works with lighter wines like rosés and white wines), and holidays in the cooler months generally see heartier fare (often best paired with spirits, fortified wines, and bold red wines).
You don’t have to break the bank on these; bargain to mid-range-priced alcohol is usually fine, but try to avoid run-of-the-mill, common items if possible – they can suggest a lack of thoughtfulness. Gift bags, wrapped boxes, or baskets are all good options for presenting alcohol as gifts during the holidays. Finally, rather than combining holiday booze with drinking glasses, consider a more inspired option to help your gift really stand out, such as including a seasonal food match instead.
When gifting alcohol, the main thing to keep in mind is the message you want to send with your gift. But don’t stress over it too much – after all, it’s a gift that will be enjoyed by the recipient!
When it comes to bringing wine to a dinner party or giving it as a gift, finding the perfect bottle of vino can be confusing. Here’s how to pick a bottle everyone will love.
Wine is always a great gift idea around the holidays or when you’re a dinner party guest, but sometimes it can be difficult to pick out the perfect bottle. Some people are red drinkers, whereas some prefer white, and though it’s supposed to be the thought that counts, you still want them to love the bottle you pick. Here’s how to bring the best bottle of wine as a gift.
Don’t stress too much about the perfect pairing.
Forget everything you thought you knew about wine. Food & Wine’s 2017 Wine Guide says, “White wine with fish and red wine with meat seems to have been replaced with ‘Drink whatever you like with whatever you want’. Both approaches have their advantages, but neither is absolute.”
Do follow some general rules.
Lighter wines match lighter dishes, and richer wines pair well with richer dishes. For example, a light white wine pairs well with a piece of sole, whereas a rich red wine would be perfect with short ribs. But how can you tell how “rich” a wine is? A foolproof trick: think of wine like milk (seriously). Skim milk feels “lighter” in your mouth than whole, right? Wine is the same when it comes to determining mouthfeel. Try it out with your favorites to see what you prefer.
Acidic foods — like a spring salad with zesty vinaigrette —work best with similarly acidic wines: Food & Wine recommends a Sauvignon Blanc or Muscadet from France.
Consider salt and fat, too. Food & Wine says, “Salt in food will make tart wines seem less sour, softening the edge in tart wines; and fat in a dish—whether it’s a well marbled steak or pasta with cream sauce—will make red wines seem lighter and taste less tannic.
Homemade gourmet presents for every occasion, from sweets, biscuits, jams and chutneys, to homemade booze and cooking kits.
Add some colour to classic bourbon biscuits using pink food colouring. Kids will love piping the filling – and eating them afterwards of course!
Gin & tonic truffles
Make these deliciously boozy chocolate truffles with gin and citrus then pack in a box to give away as an edible gift. They’re perfect for Mother’s Day
Make nougat as an edible gift, or as a sweet treat to enjoy with family and friends. It’s worth investing in a sugar thermometer for making confectionary
Indulge in some melt-in-the-mouth fudge made with rich condensed milk. The perfect year-round treat, it’s also great wrapped up as a gift for family and friends
Treat your nearest and dearest to these homemade salted caramels. The perfect edible gift, wrap them up in a gift box for a deliciously decadent treat
Cheese & rosemary biscuits
These savoury biscuits are deliciously cheesy, and are so easy to make. They make a lovely gift. Leave out the rosemary, if you prefer
Banoffee chocolate cups
Make these to give as an edible Christmas gift. Made with chocolate, dulce de leche and banana chips, they’re all the taste of banoffee pie in one small bite
Manchego & chorizo melting biscuits
Bake a batch of these moreish manchego and chorizo biscuits to serve as part of a cheeseboard. They make a lovely edible gift at Christmas, too
White chocolate truffles
Make these chocolates to give as gifts or for a fun weekend project. Split the ganache into a few bowls and add a couple of different flavourings, if you like
Fill teabags with spices and tea leaves for a gorgeous bespoke gift. They’re a lovely present at Christmas
Learn how to make fluffy vanilla marshmallows, perfect for a homemade gift, sandwiching in a s’more, or popping into a mug of hot chocolate
Pop these homemade Christmas truffles in a pretty box if you want to give them as a gift. Kids will love giving them to family and friends
Give these truffles for a Christmas or birthday present. With white and dark chocolate plus a marsala and espresso centre, they taste just like a slice of tiramisu
If you want to make the most of your day, you will need a boost of energy. These energy drinks will sure to give you just that. You can drink now and thank me later for the energy boost.
This is the best energy drink out of all the energy drinks. We all have those days when we need a little pick-me-up for energy. For days like this drink makes for a perfect energy drink and it contains no calories. 24 hours is a long time and sometimes to stay up we need a little assistance. This is a very natural way to get energy.Your energy level depends on how well you are hydrated. Dehydration can cause fatigue, loss of memory, and headaches. Not all water tastes the same but some people think water tastes bland. For these people add lemon or cucumber to your water for flavor. Water boosts your energy and is recommended to be taken before, during and after a workout.
2. Orange Juice
Want a burst of energy? This drink is the perfect go-to drink to start off your morning. Orange juice contains a lot of natural sugar so you will definitely get a boost of energy. Fresh orange juice contains several vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals. Orange juice will kick up your reaction time, boost your energy and alertness, and increase your concentration.
3. Green Tea
This drink is super healthy, it’s probably one of the healthiest drinks in the world. This drink allows you to get your energy boost without leaving you with the jitters. This energy drink is not as strong coffee, but will definitely give you energy. This drink not only gives you energy it also improves the function of your brain, burns fat, and lowers the chances of you getting certain types of cancers.
4. Beetroot Juice
Beetroot juice gives you energy it increases the flow of oxygen in your body by opening up your blood vessels. Beets are definitely not my favorite vegetables but they supply the body with so many benefits. Not only are they a great supply of energy, but they also lower your blood pressure, they are low in calories, and they can even help you lose weight. So when I feel low on energy I get a few beets and pop them in the juicer and drink.
Energy drinks can be healthy. This drink is made from green tea, though it has been fermented, it has all the health benefits as green tea, including boosting your energy. This is a mixture of brewed tea and a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast. This healthy drink is also a combination of butyrate, Vitamin B12, and Vitamin K2. Vitamin B12 increases energy levels and this drink is very refreshing. If you are going to be making your own Kombucha make sure it is prepared correctly. If this drink is not prepared correctly you will be causing harm to your body. You will not have to worry about your energy level but would be concerned with your health.
6. Green Smoothies
Once you get passed the sight of this thick green drink you realize that although it looks gross it has many health benefits for your body. This natural drink will not only give you a burst of energy but will also cleanse your body of toxins. This delicious drink can be made right in your kitchen and you only need a few ingredients. You will need a cup of spinach, a large peeled lemon, a large peeled cucumber, a cup of cilantro, and a cup of coconut water. Blend all these ingredients together and then drink up.
7. Prune Juice
Prunes are made from dried plums. These types of energy drinks are packed with so much flavor and nutrients, it should be talked about more than it is. Prunes are great for the body. Prunes are high in fiber, a good source of iron, vitamins, potassium, and even better they are a great energy booster. Prunes are a natural fruit so your body won’t experience jitters from a quick increase in your blood sugar levels even though they are high in sugar content. Word of caution, prunes can help regulate your bowels and bladder but too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. `
Get them something creative instead of a bottle you picked up last-minute from the corner store.
It’s hard to really mess up gifting alcohol. As long as you avoid the wine bag aisle, you’re probably in the clear. And while you could always grab a great bottle of rye whiskey or single malt scotch on your way over to the party, if you’re looking to blow them away, it’s worth planning in advance. We rounded up the 23 best alcohol gifts for those looking to get a little creative with their liquor, wine, and beer this season.
An adventurous whisky world tour set is ideal for the drinker ready to expand their horizons beyond Scotland.
If they can’t wait until El Camino comes out to witness Breaking Bad magic again, we’d suggest trying a bottle of Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul’s new mezcal.
Get them drinking their bourbon, single malt, or rye in style.
Whiskey is like a religion, and the people who follow it are intense. They can wax philosophical about Scottish terroir and Kentucky’s limestone water. They have strong opinions about single malts versus blends. They own every limited release from their favorite distillery, and they wouldn’t dare settle for well whiskey drinks. And so it can be a little intimidating to try to choose a gift to get one of these big whiskey types, especially if you’re not an expert yourself. It shouldn’t be, not with the holiday madness approaching. Here are the 35 best gifts to get whiskey lovers that will fit into their whiskey-drinking lifestyle with ease.
Tap into their inner mad scientist with this spirit infuser, designed to steep whiskey (or gin, or vinegar, or anything else, really) with flavors that’ll elevate their next cocktail. To get them started, it comes with a “black denim” herbal mix for layers of seasonal smokiness.
The countdown to Christmas will be downright blissful with a daily dram of standout whisky sourced from all the important whisky-making countries in the world (as well as artwork and tasting notes). In a year of bad surprises, this is 24 days of good ones.
This decanter houses whiskey and water in an innovative, original way. It’ll go a long way to dispel any myths about water ruining whiskey.
A 12-day supply of Canada’s finest will make any 12-day stretch all the sweeter (and quite a bit tipsier). Whether those 12 days fall right now, right before the holidays, or in the middle of January is dealer’s choice.
For drinkers who know just how much wood barrels and distillery pedigree matter, this set of six expressions (with three mini bottles of each) will test their taste buds. Included are whiskies from Westland in Washington state, WhistlePig in Vermont, and Ichiro in Japan.
Some prefer their whiskey to be ice cold sans any ice in the glass. That’s a tough balance to strike. But this tumbler goes in the freezer to build up a chill on the glass, with a cork sleeve to prevent frostbitten fingers or ruined coffee tables. Balance, struck.
Maker’s Mark may be a bourbon heavyweight, but it isn’t afraid to get weird. Its Wood Finishing series, for which the distillery doctored already-matured whiskey with different wooden staves to draw out more flavor and character, is experimental and small batch—and covetable. (That explains the price.)
Indulge the important people in your life with our alcohol gift sets. Here at Bottled & Boxed you’ll find a fantastic selection of alcoholic drink gifts, which are ideal if you’re looking for a failsafe present to say thank you, congratulations or happy birthday.
You’ll find an assortment of excellent whiskies, brandies, gins, ports, rums, vodkas, sherries and more. Choose from wines that come from respected wine regions in the world, including France, Italy and Argentina. They’re a choice gift for all kinds of occasions and recipients, even those with the most discerning tastes.
We’ve got gifts for wine-lovers, a huge range of branded spirits, and also offer champagne delivery. Delight your friends or family members with single bottles wrapped in luxurious packaging. If you want to add something extra to the alcohol gift you’ll send in the UK, we have beautiful gift sets with extra luxury treats like chocolates, balloons or crystal glasses.
You’re sure to find the perfect gift for any recipient, no matter what the budget. You really can’t go wrong with a bottle of their favourite tipple.
Order drinking gifts online today and choose UK or worldwide delivery.
December 10, 2013 by Julie
I’ve got a new DIY holiday gift idea for you. And for those of you who think you aren’t crafty or don’t feel confident in your cooking abilities, fear not – this one requires little to no DIY skills to pull off!
Can you buy alcohol, bottles and a container to fit them? If so, you’re 90% of the way to a successful DIY Cocktail Kit gift. Pick your recipient’s favorite cocktail, or one you think they’d like to try, and pack up a box of most or all of the makings for said cocktail. OR, gift your cocktail aficionado friend a basket of fun mixers, garnishes and infused liquors. Either will bring a smile to your giftee’s face!
I put together two sample boxes to give you a jumping off point for both the gift items themselves, as well as how to package them.
First up, the Moscow Mule/Dark and Stormy box:
In the box: Strawberry-infused vodka (for Moscow Mules), spiced rum (for a good Dark & Stormy), a lime and a jigger. Not pictured: a 6-pack of ginger beer!
I packed the ingredients in a deep box that was originally meant to hold CD cases…but who has a ton of CDs in individual cases anymore? If you don’t have infused-vodka, you can just use a good quality plain vodka…or make an infusion! You could also replace the spiced rum with a cranberry-infused rum for a little extra spice.
If you want to include a recipe with your gift box, try this recipe for a Dark and Stormy – and note that if they sub in vodka for the rum, they will have a Moscow Mule!
Next up, the Manhattan/Old Fashioned Gift Box:
In the box: Whiskey/bourbon, Angostura bitters, maraschino cherries, jigger, pink peppercorn-infused simple syrup.
You might want to include a bottle of sweet vermouth for the Manhattan fans in your life, or replace the syrup with some sugar cubes for a good Old Fashioned. But even without those subs, this combo box would be a great gift – there are so many cocktails you can make with bitters, cherries and simple syrup! For instance, in addition to the Manhattan/Old Fashioned base recipes, you could make a Grown-Up Cherry Cola with just a few extra ingredients.
A few last-minute tips:
1. This gift, while awesome, would be challenging to ship (the USPS doesn’t typically like the glass bottles + liquid one-two punch).
2. Don’t forget to wrap the glass bottles in some tissue paper or even bubble wrap to give them some cushioning.
3. For a non-DIY added touch, consider including a cocktail shaker or some appropriate barware with your cocktail kit!
What DIY gifts are you making this year?
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