10 holiday gift ideas for cocktail lovers in Toronto
Got a cocktail lover on your list? This year's gift selection revisits some of the usual suspects when it comes to cocktail supply. Keeping with the times, a few of these items are actually web orders, rather than from brick-and-mortar places, but everybody knows that the best Christmas shopping is done from the comfort of your sofa, anyway.
Here are my picks for great gifts for the cocktail lover in your life.
Nailing the aromatic component in a cocktail can really make the difference between something competent, and something inspiring. If you can achieve that with a little pizzazz, all the better. These plant misters can be used to delicately spritz the surface of a drink with a fragrant ingredient like orange blossom water or absinthe.
Having a flask on the go is all well and good, but any serious bacchanalian also carries a portable receptacle for their clandestine beverages. This collapsible drinking cup from the retail wing of Christie Pits’ favourite cocktail bar will set you apart from the sloppy hordes as they glug uncouthly.
Keeping ice cube trays full are only great for that time you want to make a single cocktail (one tray will be enough for one or two well-made drinks at best), and those bags from the 7/11 are usually one big mass of ice with a few chips at the bottom. This ice maker will produce up to 26lbs of ice a day, keeping pace with that impromptu cocktail party you just decided to throw for the friends you made at closing time.
Everyone’s got one friend that can mix a killer drink, and they inevitably get asked to make something at every house party, usually with no more than a mason jar and a colander. Why not give that friend the gift of good tools before you put him/her to work making your beverages? A leather roll keeps everything neat, tidy and portable.
This years cocktail book du choix is from the San Francisco tiki sensation Smuggler’s Cove. Tiki phenomena truly landed back in the mainstream in 2016, and tropical cocktails are at the height of their popularity. This book, however, goes far beyond a few cocktail recipes, offering up history, decor ideas, and a guide to throwing a great tiki party.
Locavores on a foray into wine country will do well to stop at Dillon’s, where owner Geoff has been producing all sorts of liquor, from gin (made from grape thinnings) to absinthe, vermouth, and a brand new rye whiskey (that sold out almost instantly on release). As Dillon’s grow all their own botanicals, these bitters offer a great way to add a drop of locally-made flavour into virtually any cocktail, and will last throughout the year.
Want to offer something a little different? This beet spirit revives a tradition made popular in Napoleonic France. Full of earthy, farmyard notes, this spirit is made by fermenting sugar beets, and then distilling the resulting mash like a whiskey. If you think someone already has all the booze and tools under the sun, you might surprise them with this.
Now that there are two stores (½oz opened this year in Kensington Market to accompany Queen West’s BYOB), it’s becoming a little more appropriate to talk about Kristen Voisey’s cocktail supply stores as an empire. Forced to pick only one thing from a massive range of toys, ingredients, and gifts, I have settled on this gorgeous retro glass. At 7oz in capacity, it’s the perfect size for a well-proportioned sour or flip, and the gold detailing is reminiscent of Tiffin glasses of yesteryear.
‘Olive or Twist?’ The familiar refrain when ordering a martini reveals a divide amongst drinkers that has raged for decades. Although I like to ask for both an olive and a twist of lemon in their drink, Nicolas Vahe has offered a one-stop solution with his lemon-stuffed olives. Delicious for snacking, they also give a nice citrus hit to a martini.
Fans of a Holiday eggnog know that a seasonal supply of rum is essential to getting through the season, and one that’s already spiced can really liven up the glass. This fancy edition of the delicious Kraken black spiced rum is in a beautiful opaque black bottle that you’ll never want to throw away. Also makes a brilliant Dark & Stormy.
Toronto Distillery Co.
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