Whether you’ve got a wine lover or a cocktail maven on your gift list, we’ve got you covered with seven sensational gift ideas to make your holiday especially spirited.
1 Make Your Own Bitters Kit
Food52 just got even cooler by offering this fabulous cocktail-lover’s kit. The box comes with tools, recipes and essential ingredients (herbs, spices, dried fruit peels and more) to create infused bitters at home. Pick from orange, cherry vanilla or habañero. Or go Naked (teehee) and innovate your own flavor. Bacon? Fig? Bacon and fig? Just be sure. Each kit makes 10 ounces of bitters ($48). www.food52.com
2 ‘The Little Book of Big Experiences’
The wine lover in your life will relish all 24 Napa Valley experiences (valued at more than $1,000) in this book, which includes discounts at hotels, waived corkage at restaurants, and tastings at Freemark Abbey, HALL St. Helena and 11 other wineries. Best part? From now through the end of November, 20 percent of the book’s proceeds go to the Napa Valley Community Foundation to support those affected by the North Bay wildfires. Order the book ($100) at www.sthelena.com/experiences.
3 ‘Napa Valley Entertaining’
Whether your gift recipient is a hostess-with-the-mostest or simply likes reading about glamorous Napa Valley shindigs, this glossy new entertaining book by Blakesley Chappellet, from Napa’s Chappellet Vineyards family, is a stunner. A “swine and wine” harvest feast, vineyard gelato socials and more party inspiration fill this 240-page coffee-table book, which includes recipes, wine-pairing tips and 370 wine country photographs by Napa’s Briana Marie. The idea, Chappellet says, is to proffer “an invitation for food and wine enthusiasts everywhere to discover new ideas that they can incorporate into their own entertaining.” Find “Napa Valley Entertaining” ($60, Historic Hospitality Books) at Napa Valley wineries, shops and at www.NapaValleyEntertaining.com. (Psst, take a peek inside the book in the slide show above.)
4 Whisky Advent Calendar
Remember those chocolate-filled advent calendars from childhood? There’s no reason your favorite grown-up can’t still enjoy the grand countdown. Drinks by the Dram has given the advent concept a very adult twist with a Whisky Advent Calendar ($164) that includes 24 different 1-ounce whisky bottles. Among them: Glenfiddich Experimental Series Project XX, Macallan 12-Year-Old Sherry Oak, Dalmore 12-Year-Old, Buffalo Trace and more. Whether you give this spirited gem in time for the traditional Dec. 1-24 countdown or only commence the window opening on Dec. 25 is entirely up to you. www.masterofmalt.com
5 Blue Bottle holiday mug
Blue Bottle is known for its lovingly prepared pour-overs, coaxed one cup at a time through tiny filters, while an ever-lengthening line of frantic java-deprived Bay Area-ites hop from foot to foot, silently shrieking “Drip faster!” Of course, Blue Bottle buffs could just make the stuff at home, preferably with some Oakland Lights holiday blend ($9 for a 6-ounce bag, $17 for a 12-ouncer) from the Webster Roastery. Round out the gift with a holiday mug ($28) designed by longtime Blue Bottler Michelle Ott. Why, yes, that is a Blue Bottle license plate on the tree-toting station wagon. bluebottlecoffee.com
6 Cork caps
Any trip to California’s sunny wine country requires a few essentials — sunglasses, sunscreen and a hat like this one ($32), made of black mesh and vintage cork by Mercantile 12, which delivers the message that California, after all, is “a state of wine.” You’ll find this Napa company’s wine coasters, insulated wine bottles and apparel at wineries across the Napa and Sonoma valleys and the Central Coast, as well as at www.mercantile12.com (although we think it’s much more fun to do our holiday shopping while wine tasting, rather than online). You’ll find this particular cap at Kenwood’s newly re-opened Chateau St. Jean tasting room.
7 California Orange Liqueur
Do the budding bartender in your life a favor and replace her home bar’s triple sec with this hand-crafted version ($37) by Geijer Spirits. San Francisco-based craft distiller Martin Geijer uses a combination of bitter orange peel and premium vanilla beans to produce this balanced and complex alternative to traditional orange cocktail modifiers. www.geijerspirits.com