Whisky-Related Stocking Stuffers for 2016

old_christmas_riding_a_goat_by_robert_seymour_1836I was going to write something half-heartedly funny about starting up the war on Christmas again just because stores put up all their Christmas crap way too early. And because a certain group of people always tends to get a little hissy around this time of year if you don’t celebrate the holidays exactly like they want you to. I was going to say something clever and literate like, “Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more,” but in light of certain election-related events, that just seems a little small and snarky, especially when I actually love the Winter Solstice-related holidays. So yeah, I’ve got the usual grab bag of whisky-related gift ideas for people to mass consume, but before we get to that, I thought I’d toss out a far more important grab bag of organizations that are probably going to require a lot of help over the next four years. Please consider giving them a gift as well, they’re going to need it…

Planned Parenthood
Environmental Working Group
American Civil Liberties Union - ACLU
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People - NAACP
Council on American-Islamic Relations - CAIR
Black Lives Matter
Southern Poverty Law Center
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network - RAINN
Center for Reproductive Rights
Campaign Zero
Anti-Defamation League
National Organization for Women - NOW
Human Rights Campaign
The Sierra Club Foundation
National Immigration Law Center
Harvey Milk Foundation

And…if you really hate this idea or any of these organizations, then kindly keep your mouth shut until you leave this blog. And maybe don’t come back.

Now then, shop it up, you lemmings you…

As per usual, books lead the way. When it comes to gifts, books should always lead the way. One of the benefits of this boom in whisky/cocktails/etc. is the accompanying flurry of great books on the subject. This past year saw quite a few good booze books released, here are a few of the best:

(As always, yes…you can buy these both from Amazon, but wouldn’t you rather support your local booksellers? Of course you would.)


If, while reading your whisky books, you like to come up for air once in a while and look around the room, perhaps you need a few things to put on your walls to stay in the mood? The excellent, graphically satisfying prints from Pop Chart Lab are a perennial favorite of mine. If you’re looking for something a bit more rustic or casual, then these “word maps” of Kentucky and Scotland might fit the bill. If you’re looking for something more unique, tactile, and more spendy, then this vaguely George Morrison-esque assemblage of barrel staves from the Hungarian Workshop would look great and possibly even smell pretty good.

whiskycupsObviously, reading about whisky and other boozes is thirsty work. I suppose you could swig right from the bottle or pour some into a cupped hand, but come on, we’re not animals, buy some appropriate glassware, for crap’s sake. The ubiquitous Glencairn glass is ubiquitous for damn good reason, it’s a great all-around glass for appreciating fine spirits. I use them an awful lot and always cry a little when I break one. The Neat Glass and the Norlan Glass are both a little pricier and a little more out there, in terms of design…if you’re into that kind of thing. If you’re into a more earthenware pottery type thing, (and as I’ve spent my fair share of time behind this particular kind of wheel, I certainly am) these Scottish landscape-inspired, stoneware whisky cups from MYH Ceramics look fantastic.

the-whisky-advent-calendarOf course, you’ll need something to pour into those aforementioned vessels. UK online retailer Master of Malt gets included in my gift-giving list every year because they have some of the best whisky gifts to be given. In fact, out of sheer laziness, I’m cutting and pasting their entry from last year’s Stocking Stuffer list. Along with their now-famous whisky advent calendars, they also have advent calendars featuring gin, bourbon, cognac, armagnac, tequila, mezcal, rum, vodka, and absinthe.They have a wide array of carefully curated (and rather affordable) tasting sets as well as blend-yer-own whisky kits, and personalized bottles.One stop shopping if you want a unique twist on the gift of booze.

dashfireIf the moment requires a cocktail or three, you’ll certainly be needing bitters of some kind. Based right here in St. Paul, Dashfire Bitters has a great line of single flavor bitters as well as Brandy Old Fashioned and orange bitters that pretty much beg you to get creative with your drink mixing. On the other hand, if you’re saddled with a seemingly never-ending head cold and forced to drink hot toddies morning, noon, and night, you could liven up your cup with these smoked honey sticks or just lounge around and indulge in these smoked honey bon-bons, each infused with a bit of Laphroaig. Both are also made right here in St. Paul by Mademoiselle Miel. Truly, St. Paul, Minnesota is a wonderland.

At some point you’ll probably want to start documenting these heady whisky experiences that you’ve been experiencing. You could type it all into a computer or hen-peck it all into your phone and share it all in a very important social media kind of way, but why not pick up a pencil, or pen, or quill and write? It’s a lost art, you know? What better place to do that than in this leather-bound whisky bottle journal from In Blue Handmade. 

whiskey-socksIf you somehow weary of all this lounging around the house, reading, writing, drinking, and looking at stuff on your walls, and you find that getting out of the house has suddenly become rather important, you’ll want to dress. Let’s start with the feet. Chances are if you’ve met me at some kind of whiskey event, I may or may not have been wearing underpants, but I was probably wearing these socks. Pluses: They keep your shins warm, and for the older folks, decent compression. Cons: Don’t really go with the Lamont tartan kilt. If you need to get a bit more fancy then perhaps some pewter whisky barrel cufflinks from Paul Simmons or this rather stunning necklace made with ex-Irish whiskey barrels from Paul Coyne. 

science_v2_583I tried to find some clever t-shirt about whisky, but pretty much all of them were of the frat party-ish “one tequila, two tequila, three tequila floor” variety, and the few decent ones were a little tired (keep calm and blah, blah, blah.) So instead, here’s a shirt that’s even more meaningful…Baphomet reading a book. Keep learning science, kids. We need you.

Happy Holidays!




6 thoughts on “Whisky-Related Stocking Stuffers for 2016

  1. Fella – you don’t have the right to tell me to leave your blog. Spout your lib BS. I will go ahead and donate to the NRA

    1. Ah yes, there’s always one wanna-be tough guy. As it turns out, fella, I do have the right to tell you to leave my blog. And you have the right to tell me that I don’t have the right. You’re wrong, of course, but you do have that right, right? In the end, I can’t really make you leave, so it turns out to be more of a request, which you are free to honor or ignore at your leisure. I have to say, though, that since you’re apparently troubled by my “lib BS,” sticking around my blog just to prove a point seems pretty silly. But, what the hell, you do you. If you did write your snappy comment and then promptly skeedaddle, then you pretty much honored my request despite yourself, didn’t you, fella?

      Also, does your coach know you’re up late reading whisky blogs, rookie?

    2. Totally agree. Beautiful list of organisations for lemmings. Let alone the wanna-be-tough-guy-comment of “kindly keep your mouth shut until you leave this blog”.

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