The easiest option here when it comes to DIY booze gifts: a four-pack of Robert Mondavi singles, with a nice bow on it. Less creative, sure, but you can get away with some ironic/kitsch points.
But the holidays aren’t about things being easy. We want chaos, complexity, entirely over-involved recipes (trussing a goose is a seasonal must, and we’re pretty sure “trussing” isn’t a thing. OK, actually, it is).
But when it comes to giving a boozy gift to a friend or loved one or weirdly ornery mailman, it’s actually not hard. Just depends on what they like, how far they’ve gone into booze appreciation, and what your budget dictates (and most of our wallets, this time of year, are basically, reasonably whimpering).
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For the Craft Beer Lover:
You can always buy a home brewing kit, but another fun option is going to a decent craft beer store and mixing up a special, seasonal six-pack (many good craft beer stores not only allow, but insist that you enjoy the variety). Add a bow, make sure one beer has Santa Claus on it, and confirm that your giftee has an opener. Nobody wants to break a tooth at Christmas.
For the Craft Beer and Cheese Lover:
Clearly, this friend has incredible taste. No better gift than a basket (OK, we are using a lot of baskets, but they do give DIY projects that Etsy-worthy “artisanal” look) full of some nice craft beers—maybe a bottle of 13% ABV barleywine?—and a few cheeses to pair.
For the Snobby Whiskey Lover:
First of all, in your Christmas card, feel free to write “chill out, dude. It’s liquor that’s been soaked in wood. Great stuff, but please stop sending me your poetry on it.” That said, look for some esoteric bottles for this guy/gal, because in the world of whiskey, getting there first is almost more important than just relaxing and enjoying a sip or two.
For the Casual Whiskey Lover:
A nice bottle of something specific, like a nice Single Barrel E.H. Taylor 100 proof, will absolutely satisfy this totally reasonable and normal human. Bonus points if you add a cigar and/or monocle.
For the Newbie Whiskey Lover:
No better way to introduce a guy or gal to whiskey than a bottle of Scotch. Though to peat or not to peat, that’s the question (ask your friend if they like the taste of iodine and smoke, but remind them it’s really, really amazing). Put these together in a basket with some optional haggis, but definitely a book on whiskey. And wrap it in some kind of flannel-looking thing, to imitate a tartan. #Braveheart.
For the Vodka Lover:
A book about whiskey. Alternately, a cute picnic basket with a decent vodka, some caviar (‘cuz you’re a baller), sour cream, and homemade blinis.
For the Committed Mixologist:
A new set of tools, e.g. stirring spoon, mixing glass, a nice novelty shaker, maybe a cocktail book, and definitely some suspenders.
For the Newbie Mixologist:
A bundle of bitters. Put together a small package or better yet, stuff a stocking, with good bitters. Bittermans, Fee Brothers, Angostura, Peychauds, Regans. There’s so very much to choose from. Not too expensive, and your reward will be some well (or terribly) made cocktails with a dose of herbaceous, fruity, spicy, etc., complexity.
For the Snobby Wine Lover:
Likely nothing will satisfy this person. But if you go out and find an esoteric bottle, like a $4000 bottle of Montrachet Grand Cru, and replace the label with a fake low-level wine label, you will become a hero and hilarious genius. And when this person give you socks in return, you can feel free to run to the bathroom and drink all that expensive rare wine.
For the Casual Wine Lover:
Casual wine lovers are easy going, enjoy some good juice, and just wanna know new stuff. Buy this guy or gal three bottles, from different countries/regions, and wrap the box with a small map. Nice way to introduce a casual wine lover to wines they may have been missing.
For the Newbie Wine Lover:
Easiest gift ever. A good (like, really decent) wine bottle opener, at least one bottle, and some kind of pairing guide. Wrap it in a box with a tag reading “Have a very Merry and Buzzed Christmas” and you’re set. Holiday win.