Verily, the holiday season is upon us. The time of year when we’re bombarded with the conflicting messages of “go out and shop!, buy more crap!” and “cozy up at home, and revel in the warmth of family!”. If you’re like me, you wish you had more time with the family and always end up putting off any kind of shopping until the last minute, so clearly these messages are not really getting through. Nonetheless, I love this time of year, I love getting a Christmas tree, I love pairing an appropriately wintry, peaty whisky with, well, pretty much everything, I love watching A Charlie Brown Christmas and Emmet Otter’s Jug Band Christmas and I like giving gifts almost as much as I like receiving them.
But what to give that whisky-crazed friend or family member? Buying a bottle for someone with a serious whisky habit can be daunting prospect. Unless they’ve given you a (most likely) far too detailed wish-list, how the hell are you supposed to know what to buy? God forbid you pick up the wrong bottle or something too pedestrian for their “hyper-refined” tastes, incurring a wan smile of barely appreciative pathos as they set your gift next to the cooking sherry. No, unless you’ve been given specific instructions, it’s perhaps best to not even try to surprise an over-the-top whisky geek with a bottle of some kind. So, if you’re looking for that small, clever gift – a stocking stuffer if you will – for the whisky lover in your life, here’s a quick list of whisky-related ideas that might help…
- If you do end up finding a special bottle for a gift, why not skip the tired, garish wine bag or mylar wrapping and dress it to impress in this unique, screen-printed, grommetted canvas bottle bag.
- Since it’s all too common for people to practically starve themselves over the holiday season, especially here in the US where over-indulgence is a rarity, here are a few whisky sweets to keep people properly nourished: Bourbon Caramel Bars, Maker’s Mark Brownies, Evan Williams Honey, Maker’s Mark spiked Bourbon Caramel Lollipops, and of course, Bourbon Balls.
- For those who need to not only drink the smoky stuff but cook with it as well, how about a Bourbon smoked spice set?
- Bar Gelato St. George Single Malt Popsicle. Ok, these are absolutely delicious, and unlike many “whisky infused” foods, the single malt comes through loud and clear. However, I’m guessing they don’t ship well, and they sure as hell don’t hold up well in a stocking hung over the fireplace.
- For the whisky drinker who just doesn’t smell strongly enough of whisky, how about some Islay scented soaps?
- As long as you stuff the stocking carefully, glassware is always a good idea, and there is probably no better glassware for whisky than the Glencairn Glass. As an aside, I just dropped one of these crystal beauties from about 3′ up on to tile floor and after landing on its solid base and clattering around a bit, it came to rest unscathed. I’m not saying this is going to be the result every time you throw one of these babies around, just that it happened. A lesser, daintily stemmed glass would’ve definitely blown up.
- For the whisky fanatic who keeps losing the keys to the liquor cabinet (a horrifying scenario), perhaps a new key ring made from reclaimed barrel staves would help.
- If Hanukkah is your thing, and why shouldn’t it be? The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society has logo’d apparel of every kind available so you can celebrate the festival of lights like Barbara Streisand on a bender:
- As books go, Jim Murray’s The Whisky Bible is a good choice because it’s one of the few whisky-related books that might actually fit in a stocking. Consistently one of the most complete and up-to-date guides available, this one is always a good a resource despite its slightly skewed-too-high scoring.
- If all their money has been spent on whisky, and the only “art” on the wall is a tacked up poster of dogs playing cards, how ’bout keeping calm and giving the gift of wall decor to the whisky addict in your life?
- If you find yourself a whisky “widow”/”widower” (it happens), you might think about luring them back and spicing things up a bit in the bedroom. You know, throw a peat log on the fire, leave a trail of malted barley to the boudoir, light one of these bad boys and let the fireworks commence . These might work, too.
- And finally, if you’re looking for some small trifle, a simple token of good cheer, for yours truly, I wouldn’t think you too extravagant if you had this delivered with a fruitcake or two.