Friday, December 20, 2013

A Gift Guide for Holiday Cheer{s}


On Monday, I posted about how to create the perfect cheese board to suit your holiday party needs. I mean, a gorgeous spread that doesn't require an ounce of cooking? How can you not be sold?? Naturally, thinking of nibbling on cheese gave way to thoughts of sipping on wine... or beer... or whiskey. {Oh, c'mon, I've already admitted my fondness for the stuff a while back.}

Cocktail parties are a fun tradition at this time of year, spending time with friends while sipping on festive libations. How about reciprocating the hospitality by bringing your host or hostess a little gift?

My friends at RedEnvelope asked if I would share some of my favorite bar, wine & beer finds from their products... and I almost ended up with a shopping cart full of things for myself!

RedEnvelope carries all kinds of goodies for every person on your list with LOTS of personalized options. I've gotta admit, I am a sucker for a monogram or an engraved gift, so I'd be happy to receive just about anything in one of their signature red gift boxes! But, for purposes of today's post, I'm going to dive right in to gifts for cocktail enthusiasts and wine connoisseurs alike, so grab a seat at the bar and check out some of my top picks!

For the Home Brewer

Home brewing has become all the rage in the past few years; its a hobby that has piqued the interest of beer drinkers, calling them to create their very own custom brews at home. Know someone who has "hopped" onto the brewing bandwagon? {Seriously, I can't even stop myself.} How about gifting them with some barware to show off their concoctions?

I loved this personalized pitcher {$29.95}, ideal for showing off their latest lager...

personalized barley pitcher

Or how about a customized bar sign {starting at $79.95} or craft beer barrel sign {starting at $99} to give visitors a clue that good beer happens here? {These gifts totally reminded me of my blogger friend Sloane & her hops-lovin' hubby over at Life Food & Beer!}

personalized high spirits wall artcraft beer barrel sign 

For Those Who Like to Craft a Cocktail...

Thanks to the rebirth of the speakeasy {and hipsters. Let's give them some credit, too.} cocktail culture has come back in full force across America. The old fashioned art of a well-crafted beverage is hotter than ever, but dimly-lit lounges aren't the only ones who can shake and stir their way to crafty goodness...
craft cocktail book

Craft Cocktails by Brian VanFlandern {$49.95} is the ultimate guide to mixing up cocktails like the pros. Recipes, tips and gorgeous photography make this book a beautiful gift and a gorgeous coffee table book. {I've actually leafed through this book myself. Stunning.}

Put all that studying to practice by stocking the self-made mixologist with all the right gear. I love the look of these classic pieces: Engraved highballs {$57.95} and an elegant stainless steel shaker {$36.95} featuring fun cocktail-related sayings.

nachtmann glass highball set of fourstainless steel shaker


... And Those Who Use Cocktails for their Crafts!

If you're anything like me, Pinterest has got you in a crafting uproar saving old bottles, wine corks and other assorted items you never used to give a second thought to tossing. {I recently made my own wine cork wreath. And yes... I totally nailed it.} Well, keep your corks, friends.

personalizable wine tray cork kit

How cute is this personalizable wine tray cork kit {$49.95} for displaying the remnants of some of your favorite bottles? This kit is cool because you can use your own corks, or purchase custom corks {$14.95} that are personalized with the recipients name and a special year.

Have a friend that would rather consume the results of their creativity? This Homemade Gin Kit {$49.95} will let your pals see what goes into creating a palatable spirit AND allow them to enjoy the fruits of their labor. {No bathtub required.}
homemade gin kit

For the Wine & Cheese Lover

So, we've covered the beer drinker, the cocktail crowd... and now we've come to the oenophile. Sure, you could pick up a nice bottle of wine, stick it in one of those tall, obvious gift bags and call it a day. But how about giving the gift of time instead? Ok, maybe it's not exactly that, but every second counts when a wine lover is waiting for their bottle to chill. I know I could get a lot of use out of this instant wine chiller {$49.95} at the end of a long day when I just want a nice crisp glass of white, stat!

instant wine chiller


Another present that shows you really understand the needs of your wine-loving friends? These handy wine appetizer trays {$39.95}. They let you nibble and sip comfortably without juggling glasses and plates. Because, who among us hasn't experienced that awkward moment when you have to choose between the two?
wine appetizer trays

For the Shot Taker

Um, so, admittedly, I am not the girl you will find tossing back shots. However... if anything were to prompt me to indulge, it would be pretty glassware like these celebration shot glasses, beautifully engraved with the sentiment of "cheers" in different languages.

celebration shot glass set

Better yet, how about shot glasses that actually enhance the flavor of the liquor? This Himalayan salt tequila set combines beauty and functionality... no need to lick and salt the back of your hand. {Not that I've ever done that or anything.}

himalayan salt tequila set
Clearly, RedEnvelope knows what's up when it comes to gift options. No Christmas ties and fruitcakes here. So, treat your cocktail-loving friends to gifts that are sure to bring good cheer to any party and toss in a bottle of aspirin for good measure. {Kidding, of course. Always drink responsibly!}

And speaking of tequila and good cheer, I've got a special cocoa treat that will instantly warm up your holiday gatherings: {Spiked} Mexican Spice Hot Chocolate.


The hint of warm spices {and tequila, if you wish} will keep you from feeling the chill in the air as you sip this twist on a cool weather favorite. Cinnamon, nutmeg and a pinch of chili powder are just a few of the flavors that will make this an instant favorite.


Give it some grown up flair with a little shot of Patron "XO Cafe" {or their Cafe Dark Cocoa} or even some Kahlua. No matter how you serve it up, it's sure to be a hit.

Disclosure: My friends at RedEnvelope asked if I'd like to be part of their holiday recipe round up. I have not been compensated for this post, and as always, the opinions here are all my own!

Spiked Mexican Spice Hot Cocoa
Adapted from Imbibe Magazine
Makes about 2 servings

For Spice Mixture:

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Pinch of nutmeg
Pinch of cloves

Combine all spices in a small bowl or zip-top plastic bag. Mix well. Store in an airtight container.

For Hot Chocolate

2 cups milk of your choice {I used almond milk}
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
A pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

{optional} 2 ounces of Patron Cafe or your favorite liqueur, marshmallows for topping


1. In a small pot, bring milk up to a simmer over medium heat. When starting to get little bubbles around the edges, whisk in chocolate chips, cocoa powder and salt.

2. Stir until the chips have melted and the ingredients are completely combined. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

3. Pour into glasses. Add about an ounce of desired liqueur, if desired.

Garnish with marshmallows, whipped cream, or a sprinkle of spice mixture if desired.


1 comments:

Sloane @ Life Food and Beer said...

I'm sure Huck would love all of the beer stuff :)

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