June 4, 2014 § 2 Comments
Hello! It’s that time of year again! Father’s Day is around the corner and I’m sharing some of my top picks for your whisky-loving Dad! This year I’ve decided to showcase a highbrow and lowbrow option for the each item – hope you enjoy!
Feel free to share some of your favorite whisky gifts in the comments below (no sales pitches, please).
SANDS OF TIME
To me, sipping on a nice single malt is all about the appreciation of time. The time it took to make the elegant spirit, the time we have now, the time we get to surround ourselves with those we love. Get your Dad an hourglass for him to peacefully reflect on the essence of time over his next a good dram!
HIGHBROW: Restoration Hardware Vintage Brass Hourglass ($249-$299 USD)
LOWBROW: CB2 Hourglass ($9.95 – $29.95 usd)
So you want to make some cocktails, eh? Well I think that’s a grand idea! Why not practice and hone your skills together for some quality father + daughter or son bonding time?
HIGHBROW: Private Mixology Classes by Liquid Lab NYC (price upon request)
LOWBROW: The Ultimate Bar Book; The Comprehensive Guide to Over 1000 Cocktails ($8.63- $11.57 usd)
CRYSTAL CLEAR ACCOUTREMENT
Help make his home bar brilliant with the clean lines and the sparkly shine of cut crystal or hand-blown glass! At our home, we always have at least 1 decanter filled at all times with the “help yourself” whisky (the geeky ones tend to stay in their respective bottles).
HIGHBROW: Waterford Designer Studio 2012 Copper Coast Whiskey Decanter and 4 Rocks Glasses ($2,300 usd)
LOWBROW: Lexington Whiskey Decanter ($69.95 usd)
DON’T FORGET THE WHISKEY / WHISKY!
No Father’s Day or family gathering would be complete without a great bottle of Single Malt to share! Don’t forget to pick one up or have one delivered to your husband, Papa & Grandfather this Father’s Day!
HIGHBROW: Macallan Lalique ($37,000 usd)
MEDIUM BROW: Brenne French Single Malt Whisky ($55-$65 usd) <Come on … how could I NOT include it? 😀
LOWBROW: Tasting Sample of Ben Nevis 21 ’90 Ruby Bottling Note ($16 usd for 3cl)
This concludes my 2014’s Father’s Day Gift Guide. There are plenty of awesome whisky-related items out there to discover and you can take a look back through my other gift guides (collected onto a single page HERE).
Most importantly, to all Dad’s, soon-to-be Father’s, Grandparents, Godparents, Uncles and more; a most sincere Happy Father’s Day from yours truly!
December 9, 2013 § 9 Comments
The holidays wouldn’t be “the holidays” without an annual Holiday Gift Giving post. And this year, I’m forgoing my usual list of bottles & baubles and focusing on BOOKS! (If you want, you can see my former gift posts HERE HERE HERE HERE & HERE)
It was quite a year for the literary set who enjoy indulging in a great dram AND a great read and I’ve pulled together a little mix of books that should make one quite happy this winter. I know I will be curling up fireside with my cozy faux fur blanket (like THIS ONE on sale at Pottery Barn), glass of whisky (Brenne please!) and these books for the long winter months ahead!
In order of the above photo, here’s the quick list. All titles click through to their respective pages on Amazon/Createspace.
- Apothecary Cocktails, Restorative Drinks from Yesterday and Today by Warren Bobrow ~
- Distilling Rob, Manly Lies and Whisky Truths by Robert Gard (& fellow whisky blogger, Whisky Guy Rob!)
- Drinking With Men, A Memoir by Rosie Schaap
- Guide to Urban Moonshining, How to Make and Drink Whiskey by Colin Spoelman & David Haskell (yes, that’s right, these are the awesome duo behind Kings County Distillery)
- Whiskey Woman, The Untold Story of How Women Saved Bourbon, Scotch and Irish Whiskey by Fred Minnick
- Savoring the Shore, Simple to Sophisticated Recipes from Chefts and Home Cooks for NJ Sandy Recovery, by Cheryl Larkin & Kate Kurelji
Beyond the fact that I personally know most of the authors and love supporting wonderful & talented people; I also believe in what each author has accomplished, whether it’s to educate, entertain or give back – read below for my quickfire thoughts on why they made the cut:
Apothecary Cocktails: There’s no question the “Classic Cocktail” movement is upon us – and it’s wonderful! The ever-talented Warren Bobrow takes us back in time with modern upgrades featuring 75 recipes for cocktail libations to soothe the body AND mind! Give this book with a few bottles of bitters for your favorite home mixologist!
Distilling Rob: An engaging story from “one of our own” whisky bloggers as he takes us through his roller-coaster life where at one point, he left his slick LA life to live and work on Islay in Scotland. Using whisky-making and the maturation process as an analogy for how boys mature into men – this is a no-brainer stocking stuffer for anyone!
Drinking With Men: I bought this at a book reading of Rosie’s I attended with a friend and left with 1/2 the eye make-up I went in with due to all of my tears from continuous laughing. This is a wonderfully engaging memoir that will having you wishing to travel through NYC retracing her steps. Sometimes I fall out of habit reading and need a good “hook book” to get back into it again – this is definitely one of those excellent page turners!
Guide To Urban Moonshining: I just got this and can’t WAIT to get started. (The fabric and feel of the book alone will give you instant “great gifter” cred). It’s filled with recipes, distillation techniques, stories, history, and a chapter called “How To Drink Whiskey” in which yours truly, along with Jonathan Wingo and Colin Spoelman, each wrote a couple pages discussing the bottles we’d suggest if we had to build a well rounded whisky bar using only 12 bottles and cover our bases from sipping to cocktails for your novice and experienced drinker. It was super fun and my first experience having any writings of my own published in a book. Yay! Pair this with a bottle of Kings County Bourbon or Moonshine for a great gift set!
Whiskey Women: THE BOOK that ought to be on everyone’s list! For the first time, Fred is sharing the untold stories of the women who have created & saved this most exceptional industry. It’s refreshing to have access to real stories that you haven’t heard before, that are not the same ones we know just told in a new way – no – this is fresh. And fascinating. And will give you a whole new appreciation for many of the whisky women who you may have met today and many of the distilleries whose drams you’ve probably enjoyed for a very long time. A true must read for anyone who enjoys a great book. Pair this with a bottle of Brenne – my own whisky – and support this particular whisky woman’s dream! 🙂
Savoring The Shore: while not a whisky book per se, there are 3 cocktails inside using Brenne Whisky, 2 of which were created by the author of Apothecary Cocktails, Warren Bobrow! But that’s not why it’s on this list. Instead, it’s because all proceeds benefit Hurricane Sandy relief and that is something that is very near and dear to my heart. I spent my childhood & teenage summers at my grandparents beach cottage on the NJ Shore which was completely wiped out by Sandy (we have yet to rebuild, but will as soon as we’re able) and so I have a personal connection with the Sandy Relief efforts. And what a fun way to give back!? You’ll get a great cook book featuring recipes from long-time local “shore folk” and Master Chefts like Bobby Flay, Tom Colicchio & Mike Jurusz.
**Please note that I do NOT benefit financially from the sale of ANY of these books – regardless of whether or not Brenne Whisky or myself were mentioned or as is the case of Guide To Urban Moonshine where I contributed a couple of pages. Instead, I promote them here because of my love of reading great books & supporting awesome, hard working people!**
December 13, 2012 § 15 Comments
I look forward to putting together this post all year! I LOVE conjuring up a little collection of my favorite whisky themed gifts to give to loved ones this holiday season.
Hope this can provide a little help – either to you as the giver, or perhaps as the receiver (just send your gift giver this link!). And in no particular order, I present to you this year’s list of Whisky Gifts!
You can go about this two different ways: new or old. Here are some of my favorites!
Crate & Barrel launched a nice line of decanters this year, ranging in price from $29.95 – $44.95. I think these are pretty great for the home, office or home office!
Or you can go with something like this! – a vintage piece with unique accents. Etsy has a lot of cool ones (tip: just search for “decanters,” if you look specifically for “whiskey decanters” you’ll see the prices sky rocket). This particular beauty (sold by SFKvintage) is only $40 and sure to be a sophisticated way to enjoy your favorite dram!
Every year (ok, let’s face it, every month!) the UK-based online store, Master of Malt, does something cool. They somehow always seem to be one step ahead of everyone else. And further more, they’re genuinely good people; kind, funny, open & honest… Just the kind of people you want to support. This year, they put together an Advent Calendar. BRILLIANT!
But just in case that is not for you … er… I mean the person you’re shopping for (isn’t that you?), they also have this really cool “Home Blenders Kit” – I’d LOVE to get one of these from Santa!
With one’s ever growing whisky library, one ought to keep up to date with the latest printed releases as well as the liquid kind. This first one is a GREAT choice for any Whisky Geek (in case you’re not sure, I’ve taken the time to define such geek-dome in an earlier post). Written by Corsair Artisan Disillery’s owner & master distiller, Darek Bell, Alt Whiskeys is summed up as: Alternative Whiskeys and Techniques for the Adventurous Distiller … a copy of this just landed on my desk this week, thanks to Darek, and I can’t WAIT to snuggle up next to the fire with a great dram and get to reading!
There is also Dominick Roskow’s The World’s Best Whiskies that’s been on my list for a while now. I always love Dominick’s work – he has a lot of passion and knowledge about distilleries all over the world and he’s yet another wonderful whisky guy (starting to sense a theme here? What can I say?! I find it MUCH easier to support people who are intelligent, talented and humble … no egos for me, please!).
Why not get that whisky lover in your life a beautiful piece of whisky-related art? I love the quiet elegance of this Old Whisky Barrel print by Olivier Le Queinec. Choose your print medium (metal, acrylic, canvas, framed, or even greeting card) and your size. You can find something in any budget as prices range from $4.95 – $257.62 USD (with prints starting as low as $16).
WHISKY / WHISKEY
And lastly, a bottle of the good stuff! It would be ridiculous for me not to suggest my own whisky but I also don’t like the idea of using this blog solely for shameless self promotion. That said, I AM recommending Brenne Estate Cask as the whisky gift du jour for the following reasons:
Brenne appeals to just about everyone. I have been (happily) surprised by the incredibly wide range of fans; from young male & female post-collage undergrads to established, middle-aged peat-freaks, to your typical wine-o’s, to your typical whisky-geeks and beyond.
I have been shocked by the number of Islay Scotch drinking fans who have gravitated towards Brenne (which is on the complete opposite end of the taste spectrum – no smoke, no peat, all fruit). Also, the number of non-whisky drinkers who have also picked up bottles for both their own consumption and as gifts. The point is, this whisky is smooth, so easy to drink and has lots of vanilla and fruit notes that there is little about it that can offend someone while at the same time offering tons of complexity for people to enjoy.
You can easily buy this online at Park Ave Liquors HERE
So there is my plug – not because it’s mine but because I so wholly believe in it as the whisky you can share with everyone and not worry about turning anyone off to this great world of whiskies … on the contrary, you may make a few more fans!
Hope you are all having a wonderful time this season – don’t forget to stop and smell the spruce!
June 11, 2012 § 8 Comments
Ok gang, we have 1 week until it’s the day we’re to be giving thanks to our Old Man … and if you’re like me, you haven’t bought anything yet – not even the card. (Ok, perhaps you’re just saying that you haven’t “found the right thing yet” but we all know you gave it a 2 second google search and then were on to the 10 new emails that just reloaded in your inbox). We’ve all been there… I’m not judging.
Instead, I know exactly how you feel. But don’t worry – if you act now, you just might manage to give him the PERFECT Father’s Day gift on time … whisky style.
GIFT OPTION 1: Whisky Tasting Set from Master of Malt
Chose from over 25 different specialized sets – including a “Cigar Lover’s Tasting Set” and a “Father’s Day Gift set” which can be shipped out of London in 24hrs. Act quickly before they’re either sold out (as some are) or it’s too late! Available online at MasterOfMalt.com
GIFT OPTION 2: Personalized Whisky bottle
So you wanna be a baller? Now’s your chance. Give your dad a bottle of whisky (chose from 16 different whiskies from a variety of producers and prices) that’s personalized JUST FOR HIM! Now that’s one way to upstage your siblings … 😉 Available online at MasterOfMalt.com
GIFT OPTION 3: Subscription to Whisky Magazine
Give him a 1 or 2 year subscription to Whisky Magazine and let him keep up monthly with all the latest whisky news from around the world! Available online at WhiskyMag.com.
GIFT OPTION 4: The NEAT Glass
Keep your dad up on the latest nosing glassware trends and get him a set or two of the NEAT glasses! Available at TheNeatGlass.com .
GIFT OPTION 5: Vintage 1950’s-60’s 14k Gold Carafe
Picture this filled with ice water sitting next to your dad’s Double Old-Fashioned glass 1/2 filled with his favorite Scotch. The Wall Street Journal is folded in a slight mess on the floor and if you keep your eyes closed just long enough, you can almost feel the worn leather of his favorite chair and hear his favorite song being hummed in the background… and if that’s NOT your memory of him, make it his reality! At only $12 USD + shipping, you can’t afford not to! Available at BellaLaineVintage on Etsy.com (but act now because there is only 1!)
Happy Father’s Day to all you wonderful dad’s out there!!!
February 14, 2012 § 8 Comments
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!
What better way to celebrate than with THE original cocktail? … and yes, it’s whisky based! Ladies, if you really want to impress your man (or yourself!), get your cocktail-creating hands ready and look no further. Men, if you have a whiskey-loving lady, then you my friends have a keeper. If not – have no fear! You can still enjoy this classic pre- during- or post- your chocolate & roses filled evening. Have no doubt, I’ll be sipping on one of these all night.
The earliest known definition was first published in the Baltimore newspaper called, “The Balance and Columbian Repository” on May 6, 1806. Whereby the reporter wrote about a mixture of sugar, water, bitters & alcohol which perfectly describes what we know of today as the Old Fashioned. I prefer mine done the “clean” way – others prefer theirs with the fruit & sugar muddled together. Below is an easy to follow how-to video of another Whisky Woman, Rachel Maddow, showing just how to make this simple, delicious, classic Old Fashioned… the “clean” way. CHEERS!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
1 Glass, Muddle, Ice (see my previous post on ice HERE), Sugar Cube (1), Bitters*, Sparkling or flat water (1 tsp), Bourbon or Rye (2 oz), and an Orange or Lemon (1 wide piece of the peel).
* Angostura Bitters is the standard and works perfectly here. However, there are a ton of great new bitters emerging on the market. I particularly LOVE using the Fee Brothers limited-edition Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters in my Old Fashion for a little something extra 🙂
Place the sugar cube in the glass and douse with 3 dashes of Bitters (*). Add 1 tsp of sparkling or flat water and muddle together to make a syrup. Add about 2 oz of your favorite bourbon or rye, your favorite big ice cube (like the Muji ice ball!) and just 1 piece of peel (not the bitter white part of the rind) of either a lemon or orange, squeezed over the drink, drop into the drink and enjoy.
January 26, 2012 § 9 Comments
This is an odd one, folks, I’m not going to lie … but still very entertaining in it’s own way. A whisky-loving friend of mine just shared this with me and since I was sucked in and watched the whole thing, well, I thought perhaps you’d enjoy it too!
Without anything further, I present to you the Whisky Water Trick. Comment below if you’ve seen this, tried this, or are now contemplating trying this!
January 16, 2012 § 18 Comments
Apparently, 2012 is shaping up to the the Year of the Ice.
And I guess this makes sense. Our whiskies are getting more expensive, our glasses fancier … clearly that leaves the good ‘ole “rock” ready for an update too.
Earlier in 2011, I did a post on waterless “ice” reviewing the Whiskey Disks brand of chilled soapstone clinckers (read it HERE), but today I’m going to talk about the actually frozen water kind that have, for years, danced happily out of their standard ice trays into our standard rocks glasses.
Not today, my friends. Apparently, those closest to me (aka, Santa & his elves), thought this whisky gal’s ice was due for a re-vamp. And a re-vamp she got.
First up – the CUBE
I was so excited to open these and immediately started visualizing myself in a scene from Mad Men. I love their exaggerated size and perfectly cubed shape. Just 1 is perfect in my glass – but if you prefer a few more, be my guest! They melt a bit more slowly then the standard ice shape and look a heck of a lot better!
WW Rating: 5/5 (easy to use, slower melt, 4 rocks/tray, 2 trays to a set, looks fantastic in a rocks glass)
BTW – this gift deserves a shout-out to it’s giver; my sister, who is also responsible for introducing me to one of my all-time favorite rye whiskies, Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye. LOVE her!!!!!
Second – the BALL
Silicone Ice Ball Maker from Muji, $11.75 USD (click HERE for more information)
This made me really excited. It’s easy to imagine oneself in a hidden bar in Tokyo with this beauty close at hand. No, it wasn’t hand carved right in front of you – but unless you’re deciding to take up ice sculpting this year, it’ll do just fine. Personally, I love the minimalistic, modern look which adds an air of instant sophistication – at least something can class up my at-home whisky drinking uniform of flannel pajamas during these cold months! In terms of the how this affects the whisky in ones glass, the Japanese always seem to know exactly what they are doing. The big ball melts much less quickly then standard cubes but cools the liquid much faster – leaving you with the perfectly chilled, ever-so-slightly diluted glass of whisky every time.
WW Rating: 4/5 (when it comes to the whisky, I love this ice ball just a bit better than the straight cube for it’s slower melting/faster chilling ability but it gets slightly lower marks when it comes to sharing. You have to buy multiple balls if you want to be able to offer this ice option to guests, which can get a bit expensive at $11.75 USD per mold.
PS – this also works AMAZINGLY WELL for a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice.
Third – the LUGE
No, I didn’t receive this and no, I haven’t tried this yet – but – that’s not to say this won’t make its way into my home over the course of this next year, if only just to see my friends enjoy a post-business school whisky like only a dedicated frat-party goer could. I think this is hysterical and whether it’s used for whisky or another spirit concoction – who says drinking has to be all serious all the time?! Not me!
On the whisky front – I can see how this might be very nice in during the warmer months. Acting somewhat like an adult slip-n-slid, the spirit could reduce in temp and hopefully pick up some H2O along the way! I say, luge away!
WW Rating: ?/5 (I haven’t tried this yet but will update this should that time come …. on that note; Dear Lush Life, I’m happy to include a rating and a more useful review should you wish to send one to me to try!)
Hope you all are having a wonderful start to 2012. I will give a toast to you on my next round.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!
December 21, 2011 § 8 Comments
I just spent a full week checking out the whisky scene in the sunny city of Los Angeles, California. On my last day, I was driving around like a crazy person (as you do in LA) trying to squeeze in a few last store visits.
Up until then, I had really only be focusing on specialty shops (K&L for example) and authentic whisky bars (hello, Seven Grand) but I found myself sitting in a parking lot in Beverly Hills staring at a somewhat dingy looking store that, for whatever reason, I felt I was being gravitationally pulled to enter.
Sigh. Ok! I hop out of the car and go into what I would describe at first look as being a pretty standard American liquor store. Neon signs, branded posters, old linoleum floors complete with a faint smell of cat (or is the cat smell only in my memory?).
A quick overview of the room tells me the liquid gold that I’m looking for is in the center of the store (interesting … whiskies are usually along the sides or back walls). Hmmm. I keep walking.
At the start of the aisle, there is a cheap, locked display case that I’m quite sure was been held together with discretely placed duct tape. Now, here’s what I didn’t expect to see in it:
1 beautifully displayed 750ml Baccarat crystal decanter holding non-other than the Louis XIII cognac for around $2500 (see earlier post about this spirit HERE)
1 box (on the bottom shelf, tucked off to the side) of a Compass Box 50ml Sample Gift Set.
Gasp. WHAT!?! I have never seen this kind of set in the States before… ever. SOLD!
This is the perfect way to familiarize oneself with a brand, style, region, etc. I picked up a few sets like this from La Maison du Whisky in Paris back in July (see earlier post HERE, reviews of the sets I bought to be posted in 2012).
In this Compass Box set, it contains five 50ml tubes, one of each of the following:
-1 x Hedonism
-1x Peet Monster
-1x Spice Tree
-1x Oak Cross
I also really appreciate the pull out information card that is secured on the underside of the box lid. This is beautifully done, clean, well organized and a perfect gift … for oneself or someone special!
Sadly, a quick google search produced only one place online with stock and that is a single sellers on eBay (click HERE) but I’m not even sure that’s legal and that guy is selling his box for $89.99 (compared to the $49 I paid at full retail).
IF you can find one – I encourage you to buy it. It’s a great set. I’ll definitely be asking my local store later today to see about getting a few in stock!
Lastly, here’s the information for the store from which I purchased this awesome set:
Vendome Wine & Spirits9153 W Olympic Blvd
Beverly Hills, CA 90212
Hopefully they can ship to you!
1 ADJUSTMENT SINCE I FIRST PUBLISHED THIS POST: I HAVE SINCE HEARD FROM COMPASS BOX AND THEY OFFER THIS SET FOR SALE IN THEIR ONLINE SHOP HERE: http://compassbox.specialitydrinks.com/
WITH SHIPPING TO THE USA (FROM THE UK) YOU CAN GET IT HOME FOR AROUND $64 USD.
July 27, 2011 § 7 Comments
I think about writing this post every other day so I figured I should just sit down and get it out of my head! 🙂
One of my all-time favorite Whisky books is Dave Broom’s The World Atlas of Whisky. It is beautifully laid out and the photos are as stunning as the content is delicious (truly!). The information is clear, concise, entertaining and really makes you thirsty for you know what! Dave Broom did a fantastic job in creating something that is both educational and enjoyable.
This is the kind of book I think everyone (whisky lover or not) should have in their home. It’s a perfect coffee table book and is great for the novice or connoisseur of the spirit.
Do you have the pleasure of visiting a friend’s summer home this August? Why not give a copy as a hostess gift? …And if the weekend calls for a little something extra (as I think all weekends should!), bring a bottle of your favorite whisky to go along with it!