Gifting someone a bottle of booze is a classic (and classy) holiday move. And it’s a move we here at KegWorks wholeheartedly support. But it’s also a gift that can be improved upon.
We know what you’re thinking: what beats the gift of straight up alcohol? A cocktail mixer, syrup, or shrub that helps your gift recipient make the most of his or her hooch—that’s what! Affordable bottle add-ons like the ones below turn a really good gift (alcohol!) into an extra-memorable, stupendous gift.
Check out our top bottle add-ons for your loved one’s favorite spirit.
Gift a bottle of heat-packed ginger shrub with vodka, and your loved one is halfway to a Moscow Mule. Unlike ginger ale or ginger beer, this stuff is full of ginger bite plus the added complexity of vinegar balanced by cane sugar. Just add lime juice and club soda!
Rye Whiskey + Bittermilk No.4 New Orleans Style Old Fashioned Rouge
This bittersweet drink mixer is like having a bartender in a bottle. It’s infused with wormwood, fennel, and gentian root, and aged in Willett Family Reserve whiskey barrels, making it the perfect pairing to your gift of rye. Your gift recipient need only mix one part No. 4 with four parts spirit, stir with ice, strain, and garnish with a lemon peel. And just like that, she’ll be enjoying a world class cocktail from home.
Bourbon + Woodford Reserve Bourbon Cherries
If you’re giving the gift of bourbon, chances are your intended recipient digs an Old Fashioned or Manhattan. But making either drink taste as good as one you get it in a cocktail bar requires one thing: fancy cherries. Enter these ruby suckers, which are not too sweet and steeped in bourbon for a slightly oaky, more interesting profile than the fire engine red maraschinos you ate as a child. http://followersguru.net/
Gin is all about the botanicals, and a good gin cocktail is all about making those botanicals sing. For your juniper fiend of a friend, consider a bottle of tonic syrup spiked with organic dried elderflowers to accompany his favorite London dry, plymouth, or American dry bottle. Its florality is balance with extra quinine (it’s the number one ingredient!) so it doesn’t lose its bitter edge, and it’s rendered even more complex by the addition of lemongrass and orange peel. All the gift recipient needs to bring to the table for a cocktail that approaches blissful, botanical nirvana is a little club soda. http://followersguru.net/buy-instagram-likes/
Tequila + “The Skinny Dipper” Tequila Mixer
Tequila makes for one hell of a shot, but it is also a lovely spirit to sip slowly–ideally while lounging on the beach or at the pool. Assuming, though, that waterside repose isn’t on your loved one’s daily agenda, you can still send him there, figuratively speaking, with this bright and bold mango and lemon cocktail mixer from the fine folks at White Whale. It was designed to pair perfectly with tequila in equal parts. Just garnish with a lemon twist!
Mezcal, Mexico’s other great spirit, has gained quite a fanbase, so gifting a bottle this year doesn’t seem so farfetched as it once might have. And no doubt your loved one will be ecstatic to receive it. By why not gild the lily with a super-concentrated, spicy, sultry shrub from the pros at Bittermens? It’s like hot sauce for your cocktail — a little goes a long way— and it pairs beautifully in cocktails with smoky, earthy mezcal.
Tiki drinks are to rum as Margaritas are to tequila, which is to say, they are its quintessential cocktail presentation. To get your rum recipient a head start on using her gift to make a tropics-inspired cocktail, accompany a bottle of rich Jamaican rum, rhum agricole, or overproof rum with a syrup flavored with island spices. This version from BG Reynolds is based on a 1937 secret recipe by Don the Beachcomber, the father of the tiki movement, and it’s full of essential tiki flavors like pimento berry (allspice) and lush Madagascar vanilla.