With less than 12 days to Christmas, it’s time for another Nobler Gift Guide:
It’s common for a whiskey lover to become committed and loyal to a particular brand; maybe from a Father’s influence or maybe from the epic stories of John Jameson. But while loyalty is most often a celebrated characteristic, in this case it may be detrimental. I was at a bar last night, stocked to the brim with bourbons and ryes. With at least 20 choices I had never had the pleasure to enjoy, I was overwhelmed and ultimately defaulted to my favorite, the Bulleit Rye. The good news is, the Bulleit is still fantastic. But on the other hand, who knows what I missed out on. Like this Hudson Baby Bourbon which I have been hearing quite a buzz about. Like in the food world, locality is also becoming a big hit for the liquor biz. Sure I like the notion of Hudson’s products being made from local produce (corn and grain harvested in NY state), but for liquor I think the local aspect is a bit more personal. They have a few different products including a rye and a single malt whiskey to try but I imagine you can’t go wrong with New York’s first bourbon.
So now you’ll be off trying all sorts of new whiskeys. And yes, while none of us like to admit it, you may even need to take a break at some point. Just a second to be clear: I’m not suggesting a break from the indulging. Rather, sometimes even the biggest whiskey lover is looking for something else to consume. Which is why I suggest you pick up a bottle of Mezcal for another great gift idea. While tequila has taken off in a big way the last ten years or so, Mezcal has remained out of the spot light being produced in small villages throughout Mexico. It may be distilled from agave, but unlike tequila which is only made from blue agave, Mezcal is extremely nuanced from variety to variety. In addition, rather than roasting the agave cores in the oven like most tequila brands do, Mezcal producers use earthen rounds over a pit of hot rocks. Sounds pretty bad ass. I’ll admit I haven’t dabbled too much to suggest the perfect brand here, but I think that might be part of the fun; brand to brand, village to village.
But now back to the whiskey…much like in the last gift guide, where I suggested that the perfect glassware is a personal piece of the whiskey experience, a decanter can take your gift receiver to the next level. I caution: there is a delicate balance here. By no means am I suggesting you pick up the globe table and decanter from sky mall magazine. But a simple, sharp, and strong decanter can send a real deal message. I’ve been torn about this notion for sometime because more and more, the iconic bottles of my favorite brands seem strong enough on their own. But there is something special about pouring yourself a glass out of your very own decanter. Maybe you’ll even get a bit adventurous and work on your own “blended” whiskey. Who knows, maybe you’ll be the next Johnnie Walker. As for specific options, again, I’d say its personal. This one is quite simple and understated which I prefer but unless you’re feeling thankful for my gift guide, I’m probably not going to be the receiver. Only you know your whiskey lover…
Lastly, I’ve got the perfect stocking stuffer for you. Angostura bitters help make the perfect Old Fashioned and even double as a good stomach settler. Trust me, a few dashes with seltzer beats a ginger ale any day of the week! But enough about stomach issues, and more about the bitters. Besides an Old Fashioned, the angostura brand is a great way to get creative in cocktail making. If your whiskey lover is feeling a bit more adventurous go for a more unique version like a celery or lemon bitters.
So that’s all I’ve got for now but who knows what the next few days will bring. What about you all? Any great gift ideas to suggest?