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Monday, December 21, 2015

The Procrastinator's Boozy Gift Guide

Posted By on Mon, Dec 21, 2015 at 2:30 PM

click to enlarge 2015 Christmas Ale - ANCHOR BREWING
  • Anchor Brewing
  • 2015 Christmas Ale

If you haven't finished your holiday shopping by now, you could surely use some booze to help calm your nerves. Happily, that same magical liquid also serves as a sensational gift for those that you're shopping for. It's like hitting two turtle doves with one stone. Christmas is less than week out, but all of the following grog and alcohol-related gift ideas are no more than a mere mouseclick away — or perhaps the distance to your local package store. So relax, take a deep breath, pour yourself a stiff one, and consider these stellar stocking stuffers — from affordable, to not-so-much. 

For your beer-loving friends and family, any number of Bay Area-based seasonal brews would be welcomed under the tree. Always on point, Almanac Beer introduced their Hoppy Sour series earlier this year to critical acclaim. Mandarina — a crisp and complex saison blend — in addition to Wakatu — a blond ale aged in wine barrels, are still on shelves across the city, priced at around $13 for a 375ml bottle. As a set, they serve as a terrific, locally-themed craft care package. As does the 2015 edition of Anchor Brewing's annual Christmas Ale. Piney on the tongue, with a touch of cinnamon and allspice in the finish, this Winter Warmer is easy to spot; $12 six-packs are beautifully labeled with the California Christmas Tree, hand-drawn by the same artist that's been doing it for 4 decades. If your looking for a beer that drinks like a holiday dessert, seek out Sugaree Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie from High Water Brewing. It tastes exactly as advertised, fetching $12 per 22 oz. bottle. Snag one to gift, and one to swig. If you're not a devout locavore, Dogfish Head Brewery just unveiled their newest Bitches Brew, a massive imperial stout, infused with a thread of honey beer and gesho root, for an exotic fusion of sweet and spice. The wine-sized bottle hit shelves at $14, draped in the artwork featured on the Miles Davis album of the same name. 

On the liquor side of the aisle, keep your eye out for Christmas Spirit from Anchor Distilling. San Francisco's original craft brewery and distillery uses the previous year's Christmas Ale, running it thru the still to come away with this clear booze. It has an unmistakable spruce-like aroma, imbuing holiday warmth and cheer in every sip. 750ml bottles typically sell at $50 per unit. If you're shopping for someone with Old World sensibilities, there's nothing quite as elegant as Cognac. But, contrary to popular belief, you need not empty your wallet to access the sucré of southern France. Case in point, Cognac Park offers a holiday-friendly bottle of their Carte Blanche VS at an accessible rate of $35. It drinks with the gentle reassurance of a brandy ten times its cost. An equally effective holiday sipper comes courtesy of Reserva de la Familia, Jose Cuervo's exclusive Extra Añejo. Aged for over five years in oak barrels, the $150 tequila goes down not unlike a high-end cognac or Irish whiskey. This year's release is a special collaboration with The Rolling Stones, known as the Tour Pick. Dipped in wax, and branded with the band's iconic lips logo, it will bring satisfaction to the hard-to-please palates on your gift-giving list; a meticulous illustration of all the sweet, earthy elements agave spirit has to offer. 
click to enlarge Reserva de la Familia Tour Pick - BRAD JAPHE
  • Brad Japhe
  • Reserva de la Familia Tour Pick

Distinguished booze demands appropriate decanting. California-based VintageWeave sells a stately array of vintage glassware, including Champagne coupes, and ornate cordials. Cut crystal from 1920s France is available during December at a discounted rate of $200 for a set of six. Until year's end, online orders ship same day, if placed before 3PM. Visit their website to see the complete collection.

In September, we showed you how to drink like Hemingway. If you're looking to experience the lifestyle firsthand with your spouse or loved one, Access Trips has a bucket list-caliber gift idea with your name on it. It ain't cheap, but for $3600 the outfitter will get you to and from Havana for a full week, including room and board in a private villa, daiquiri and mojito making classes, gourmet meals, and enough Cuban rum to last a lifetime. The company is now booking for excursions in February. See the all-inclusive itinerary and how to book, here. 

Champagne Coupes - VINTAGEWEAVE
  • VintageWeave
  • Champagne Coupes






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About The Author

Brad Japhe

Brad Japhe

Bio:
I enjoy my whiskey neat, my beer hoppy, and my meat medium rare. I have been covering craft spirits, suds, and gourmet cuisine for a decade, with work published from New York, across Montana, and up and down the Pacific Coast.

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