It’s Father’s Day. Your dad likes a little tipple. You want to buy him a nice bottle. But you’ve bought him the same thing year after year: Single Malt. Heavy Cab. Something with a horse on the label.

This year we’re going off-book, challenging our pops’s (popses?) to take their taste buds a little bit out of the couch-lounging comfort zone. The idea isn’t to scare dad (for that, just tell him you and your newly unemployed partner are moving into the basement!). It’s about showing him you’re thinking more thoroughly about him, and that you want to share something awesome that you found. Also, yeah, he’s not done livin’ yet!

Cue late onset midlife crisis, flagrantly ill-advised lease of Italian sports car, and—best of all—a shared a glass of something a little bit different with your dad.

Knob Creek Smoked Maple Straight Bourbon

Smoked Maple

OK, your dad loves bourbon. Why? Because he’s a dad, and he’s gotta let off some steam for all those times he didn’t turn the car around on the way to the beach. Bourbon is the perfect armchair seductress, but why not add some variety to dad’s nighttime brooding with a maple-spiked bourbon from Knob Creek? The sweetness of the smoked maple mingles harmoniously with the caramel char of Knob Creek, with notes of spice and dry oak apologizing for that time you crashed his car.

Firestone Walker “Wookey Jack” Black Rye IPA

Wookey Jack

According to TV, most dad’s love beer. Many of them, apparently, love to sit on the couch watching “the game” while drinking a sixer. But maybe dad’s beer routine has gotten a little ho-hum, fair enough for any of the 364 other days of the year–a travesty on Father’s Day. That’s why you’re gonna plant this power packed black rye IPA right next to him and watch his eyes go wide with joy. A spin on the black IPA from the ever-reliable Firestone Walker crew, it’s deceptively dark in color. Not that it isn’t rich, but rye spice and a citrusy double-hopping make it a bit of a hybrid. Not unlike the car you’re going to ask dad for once he finishes that third beer.

Cockeyed Cooper Bourbon Barrel-Aged Barleywine


Barley wines are high-impact, high-alcohol, malty, and rich. Basically everything papa needs when he sits down after a long day of being disappointed by you. Barrel age all of that and you get this heavy hitter from Uinta Brewing Company. Chewy, rich, almost fudgy, but structured and dark. Papa will get lost in the complexity while you avoid the college debt discussion. Win win.

Del Maguey Single Village Pechuga Mezcal


A bottle to serve both the life-long tequila and staunch peaty Scotch drinker, with a funky little twist: raw chicken breast. Don’t freak out, the chicken breast isn’t in the bottle. It’s actually hung above the steaming distillate, essentially cooking, imbuing a silky, savory element into the characteristically green, agave sweet smoke of mezcal.

Boyd & Blair Small Batch Potato Vodka

Potato Vodka

If papa loves some vodka, chances are he doesn’t want to get nudged too far outside of his comfort zone. But that doesn’t mean quality can’t take a leap up (this vodka was once ranked the 22nd best spirit in the world in Spirits Journal). Vodka is mostly texture, and dad will be able to roll this smooth stuff over his tongue, with a delicate potato flavor in the (well) chilled chew, while you ready your best “Dad, I need to borrow rent money” face. (It’s a half smile, with sad eyes.)

Vanberg et Famille “Lambicx”


First off, it has “et Famille,” meaning “and family,” so this beer is already appropriate for a family holiday. Secondly, it’s going to quell all unintended politics eruptions with a storm of flavor: this lambic (a wild fermented, traditionally sour Belgian beer) is barrel aged for two years, giving some heft and extra funk to the tart, fruity flavor profile.

2011 Viberti Giovanni Barolo “Buon Padre”


OK, yes, another item with “dad” in the title. But it is Father’s Day. And it just so happens this affordable Barolo—typically a high cost wine—will give pops so many of the flavors he loves in his rich Cabernet Sauvignon in an entirely new context. Full-bodied with notes of dried fruit, tobacco, earth, and florals, it’ll still give padre those tannins he loves while also taking him on a journey to Italy that you can’t quite yet afford.