Gift Guide

The Goods 2018

Have a hard-to-buy-for person on your holiday list? That’s usually me. You could f ll their cellar with bottles from our Top 100 Wineries of 2018, or help them step up their at-home bar game with one of our Top Spirits. But if you want to go outside the bottle, here is a bonus list of useful and delicious gifts.

Knockout Cocktail

Rockey’s Milk Punch, 12% abv, $26/750ml at vintryfinewines.com Rockey’s Milk Punch, 12% abv, $26/750ml at vintryfinewines.com
With a long and storied history, Milk Punch is said to have been first made by British writer and royal spy Aphra Behn in the late 1600s. The boozy concoction is made by mixing a spirit with tea, citrus juices, spices and warm milk, then straining the clear liquid off the curds. Eamon Rockey has been putting his spin on the drink since he tended bar at Eleven Madison Park in NYC. He made it a staple at Michelin-starred Betony, taught seminars about it at Tales of the Cocktail and now bottles the only commercially available clarified milk punch. Silky and complex with tart citrus and tropical flavors, it’s terrific stirred and poured over ice. Or use it as a mixer, as at LA’s Harvard & Stone, where the Asylum Seeker combines it with Ilegal Reposado, Grand Marnier and Empirical’s smoked-barley-koji spirit.

Have A Cow

$120 for a half or $200 for a whole Caciocavallo; $160 for three liters of olive oil, at especiallypuglia.com $120 for a half or $200 for a whole Caciocavallo; $160 for three liters of olive oil, at especiallypuglia.com

Support local farmers who keep sustainable, small-batch cheesemaking alive with Especially Puglia’s Adopt a Cow program. With your adoption certificate, you’ll receive a Caciocavallo cheese made from the milk of your herd of rare Podolica cows. Choose a pasture and read up on the farmer and the cheese’s flavor profile; then pick between a half or whole round, aged either three or six months. While you’re at it, adopt an olive tree. When your three-liter tin of single-harvest extra-virgin oil arrives along with a ceramic decanting bottle made by Pugliese artisans, slice a rosemary ciabatta in half and make a tapenade of roughly chopped capers and olives and a glug of oil. Spread it on half the loaf and layer with roasted red peppers, prosciutto and slices of the Caciocavallo.

Holiday Wrapping in the Bag
Americans generate an additional seven million pounds of waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, just in wrapping and packing materials. This season, when you are giving the best gift (wine), dress the bottles in reusable bags. Adorned with chalk board tags, these bags are made from recycled linen with a water-resistant coating, so you don’t need to sweat the sweat from that pre-chilled bottle of Champagne you are bringing to the party.

Reusable Wine Bags, $20 per set of four at greatusefulstuff.com Reusable Wine Bags, $20 per set of four at greatusefulstuff.com

Tonic Naturally

DIY Tonic Water Kit, $26 at food52.com DIY Tonic Water Kit, $26 at food52.com

If a G&T is your drink of choice, you might consider making your own tonic. The DIY Tonic Water Kit contains enough cinchona, citric acid, lemongrass, cubeb pepper and Jamaican allspice to make about 45 drinks. All you need is sugar, water, some citrus and a little bit of time to create a tonic that will impress all of your guests.

Straws for a Cause

Straws for a Cause, $6 to $23 per straw at strawesome.com Straws for a Cause, $6 to $23 per straw at strawesome.com
The World Economic Forum estimates that by the year 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. And, as we throw away some 500 million plastic straws each day in the US, the alternative straw movement is picking up momentum. Our favorites come from Daedra Surowiec, who founded Strawesome in 2009. Her handmade glass straws come in multiple sizes and colors, can be personalized with initials, and boast a lifetime guarantee. This year, Surowiec rolled out Straws for a Cause, embellished with glass sea critters clinging to the side; a portion of their sales goes to groups such as the Marine Conservation Society, Save the Whales and the Sea Turtle Conservancy.


This feature appears in the print edition of the Winter 2018.
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