December 12, 2013

Working at Cooking Light, I tend to gift a lot of food items or gadgets during the holidays. My friends love to go out to eat, so they will love some quality olive oil or a French cookbook with digital scale to match, right? Wrong. I realized most of my friends were Lean Cuisine lovers--not that there is anything wrong with that--but with a busy schedule and no family to cook for, it’s easier for them to manage the microwave than cook a full meal.

But they do drink. So this year, I’m going a different route: Booze. Here are 3 different options for wine, beer, and fancy liquor lovers.

1. For the amateur mixologists: DIY Gin Kit $50This simple and slick-looking kit has everything you need to make homemade gin, no bathtub necessary. You start off with a bottle of vodka (not included) and infuse it with juniper berries and a spice blend to transform the alcohol into artisan gin. It takes 36 hours to infuse the spices and berries into small-batch gin and the process of making the gin is not time-consuming or labor intensive. Once you have the kit, you can buy refills of the spice blends and juniper berries for $10.

2. For the wine sippers: Scratch and Sniff Wine Book $18The Essential Scratch and Sniff Guide to Becoming a Wine Expert is written by Richard Betts, a master sommelier. This humorous books navigates amateurs and wine snobs alike through the wine world by smell. You scratch and sniff to differentiate different fruit, earth, and wood scents in wine varietals.

3. For the brew lovers: Beer of the Month Club from $24/monthForget the mini homebrew kits and the chilled beer dispensers. True beer lovers will agree, you need to either go all the way homebrew or not at all. Since homebrewing is a labor-intensive and expensive habit, it’s best to just get people what they really want: The actual beer. Beer of the Month Club is reputable company that has a variety of different plans and prices, from a Basic plan for your dad who just likes drinking beer, to a Rare Beer Plan, for your hipster beer snob friends who think Budweiser is the devil. You can choose to have beers delivered monthly, every other month, or quarterly.

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