Finally, a holiday gift basket you actually want (hint: it’s filled with hooch).
Spread the love this holiday season with the gift of spirits. Rather than simply wrapping up a bottle of your loved one’s favorite spirit, create a gift basket that also includes the ingredients to make a great cocktail.
Here are three great examples of how to make an all-in-one cocktail gift basket that is sure to inspire a night of fun (and will hopefully include you): the Margarita, the Bloody Mary, and the dry Gin Martini.
The Margarita Gift Basket
For the Margarita, expand beyond Jose Cuervo and go with high-quality blanco/silver tequila. Depending on your budget (and the likelihood that the recipient will share with you), Avion ($53), Peligroso ($43), and Espolon ($22) are three excellent options.
Cointreau ($36) orange liqueur is a standard in top-notch margaritas, but you might consider three other excellent orange liqueurs: Clement Creole Shrubb ($32) Patron Citronge ($21), and Bols Orange Curacao ($13). A nice smoked salt such as Red Alder Smoked ($5.50) or infused rosemary salt ($5.50) can be purchased online from The Meadow. Add a few organic limes, cocktail shaker, and Margarita recipe card to the gift basket, and hope that you get invited over for cocktails when Cinco de Mayo brings warmer weather.
The Bloody Mary Gift Basket
There are a dizzying number of vodkas entering the market, making for a difficult selection process, but this is also an excellent opportunity to purchase a truly unique spirit. Three incredible newcomers to the market that will be sure to leave a lasting impression are Boyd & Blair vodka ($32), FAIR. Quinoa vodka ($29), and Death’s Door vodka ($27).
Making a batch of Bloody Mary mix from scratch is painstakingly tedious, but most store-bought premixes are simply not up to snuff. Dimitri’s Bloody Mary Seasoning ($11) meets you halfway, only requiring the addition of tomato juice for a restaurant-quality Bloody Mary that is simply delicious. With flavors ranging from Chipotle-Habenero to Extra Horseradish, Dimitri’s will satisfy the spicy-food lovers in your life and greatly simplify the process (and increase the likelihood) of making Bloody Mary’s for the perfect brunch. Dimitri’s also makes RimShot!, a blend of Hawaiian sea salts, smoked salts, pepper, celery seed, pepper and a few secret spices — perfect for the rim of your Bloody Mary glass. Add some organic lemons, cocktail shaker, and Bloody Mary recipe card, and be sure to include a free “teaching” (and tasting) lesson.
The Dry Gin Martini Gift Basket
For the James Bond fan, take a classic approach but elevate the Dry Martini to new heights. Start off with a nice gin, Ransom Old Tom ($37), Tanqueray 10 ($32), and Hendrick’s ($28), are distinctive and memorable, both for their flavor and elegant packaging. Martini and Rossi dry vermouth ($14) is a classic quality option, but Vya ($20) and Dolin ($15) are redefining the vermouth category, and delicious in their own right.
The final touch, for those who like their drinks on the dirty side, is a nice jar ($6-15) of olives (in brine, not oil). These can be found at Dean and Deluca or at most good specialty food markets. Don’t feel obliged to stick with pimiento-stuffed green olives. The Dry Martini is beautiful in its simplicity, though many people only experience the drinks in bars rather than making them at home. It is a drink that takes a lifetime to perfect, and experimenting to make it your own is half the fun. Fortify your friends with a love of spirits, and spirits of love they shall be.