Holiday Gift Guide for Drink Lovers

I know, I know, I know. Just how many holiday gift guides can you really have? Well add one more holiday gift guide to the mix, this a holiday gift guide for drink lovers. But I promise it doesn't suck! I mean come on, we're talking about cocktails, whiskey and wine clubs, and DIY beer-making kits. The fact is that picking out a gift for friends and family is easier said than done. I mean there are only so many times that you can give a gift card? But for those friends and family who are drink lovers, there are some awesome gifts out there beyond just your staple bottle of wine or whiskey (as great as those are in and of themselves). Below you'll find a few of my favorite gifts for drink lovers, all of which I can vouch for, having used these myself.

Holiday Gift Guide: 7 Gifts For Drink Lovers

Customized Flask. Alright, so perhaps more of a gift for guys, and becoming ever-so hipster, but still a cool holiday gift, especially the more you personalize and customize it. This has been a frequent gift for many of my food/drink friends, which has ranged from engraved flasks to flasks with their own collapsible shot glass to flask gift sets. If you have family and friends with a specific interest, you'll probably be able to find a customized flask for them. A couple friends took it up a notch recently when they gifted me with a "stealth flask." It has all the appearances of a sunscreen bottle, even down to the sun-faded label, yet in actuality uses food-grade materials for a flask.

Stanley Vacuum Growler. This may just be my favorite purchase of 2016 (Yes, sometimes I gift myself). The Stanley Vacuum Growler isn't just for beer though, but also for cocktails, warm or cold, thanks to a vacuum-insulated body. I have both frequented my local craft breweries with it and thrown in some of my favorite cocktails, both warm and cold. It'll keep drinks cold for 16 hours, and iced drinks cold for 60, while warm drinks (coffee, cider, hot toddy, or other favorite warm drink) last for 12 hours. Hello, camping trip!

Retrofitted Oak Barrel. Yes, a barrel, but stick with me here. Most wine and whiskey barrels have a shelf life on how long they can be used by distilleries and wineries before they lose their effect. However, they can live on, repurposed for a variety of different uses for your home. For example, I got an old Jim Beam whiskey barrel from King Barrel, which had been repurposed into a bar cabinet for my home. They also take old barrels that they repurpose into tables, chairs, bars, bottle holders, lights, and more. Another great oak barrel accessory are mini oak barrels, which I've frequently given to whiskey and bartender friends, who in turn can then use them to age their own cocktails (as I highlight here) spirits, or even beer.

Carry On Cocktail Kit. That's right, a Carry On Cocktail Kit (coming from W&P Design, pictured below). If you can't have a craft cocktail on the plane, why not make your own! The Carry On Cocktail Kit is just that, a craft cocktail kit you can carry onto the plane, in which you just need the booze to accompany it. Each kit comes with all the ingredients, mixers, a jigger, and bar spoon, with cocktail options that include an Old Fashioned, Gin & Tonic, Moscow Mule, Champagne Cocktail, Hot Toddy, and Bloody Mary. Each cocktail kit makes two cocktails. Talk about a flight upgrade.

Customized Beer Recipe Kit. At one point or another, you've probably been walking through a major department store or retailer when you saw stacks of boxes for "Mr. Beer" sitting on an endcap. Mr. Beer is one of the leaders in homebrew kits, and often the go-to for homebrewing gifts. However, going to a specialty beer shop can help you customize that homebrew kit for your friend. I use Northern Brewer, which I can't recommend enough. I was able to buy a custom kit based on what I was interested in and using the exact materials and ingredients I needed for that beer, and had great success. Not to mention that they have a wide-range of different, and unique beer kits, such as a grapefruit IPA, black IPA, pumpkin ale, bourbon barrel stout, Irish red ale, and much more. Additionally, most major cities also have at least one homebrew store, which have experts who can help you out for that beer-loving friend or family member.

Whiskey (or Wine) Club Membership. You know what's better than a bottle of whiskey or wine? Receiving a bottle of whiskey or wine in the mail! And that's where a wine or whiskey club membership comes in. These are customizable, with the case of wine club memberships, often including lengths of time like three, six, or twelve months. If you have a friend or family member who enjoys a specific winery, then you can often go to their website to sign up for a membership, which I've done frequently for family. Additionally, there are a number of other membership clubs that'll send whiskey, tequila, rum, and more, most of which that start at about $50 per month. Of the ones I recommend are Caskers and Taster's Club.

Boozy Books. A few years ago I wouldn't have even mentioned buying a book about drinks, or at least not about beer, cocktails, or spirits. That's because there just wasn't much in the way of good, entertaining, informative literature. After all, who just wants to flip through a recipe book? However, the last few years has seen some great books emerge, many of which walk a fine line of telling entertaining, informative stories, while also providing recipes and how-tos. Among the favorites donning my book shelf: The Drunken Botanist, Punch, Imbibe, And a Bottle of Rum, and The Kings County Distillery Guide to Urban Moonshining. Additionally, if it's cocktail recipe books you want, a few favorites include The Craft of the Cocktail, The Craft Cocktail Party, The Curious Bartender, Shake, and The PDT Cocktail Book.

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