"Bar Warming" party gift?
I'm attending a "bar warming" (sort of a housewarming for a renovated bar room) and I am not a big cocktail/liquor person. I want to bring a nice gift but I have *no* idea what to bring- the couple seems to have most everything boozewise and lots of barware, too, but I'm sure there is some cool random "gadgety" stuff that you guys could suggest. Perhaps a great book or a cool tool or even some fun random spirit or mixer or condiment. I'm basically at a total loss- neither of them seem to be huge drinkers actually but they love entertaining, so something along those lines is great too.
I know you guys will come through for me! I was thinking some nice coasters might be a good place to start...
It seems a bit odd that they like to entertain and renovated their bar room, yet don't seem big on cocktails.
I'm wondering if a good introduction to high-quality craft cocktails might help. There have been several threads on good cocktail books. One of my favorites is The Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan. He has a good introduction with techniques, equipment, and ingredients. He then lists the cocktails alphabetically. It does contains standard drinks that a non-cocktail geek might order, plus lots of interesting cocktails for the enthusiast. My favorite feature, however, is the center section where his tables organize vastly different drinks into similar families by their construction and flavor. Very helpful. My only ding is that it is not bound with a lay-flat binding. You could get them a cookbook stand to go with it to address that.
You could also get them a gift certificate to a cocktail geek store, like www.thebostonshaker.com. In fact, if you got the book there, they could exchange it for something different if they already have it.
Last, you could get them some interesting ingredients, such as a sampling of new and interesting bitters. Maybe Bittermen's Hopped Grapefruit or Mole bitters, or the newly-available-in-the-US bitters from Adam Elmegarib's Boker's or Dandelion & Burdock. You could print some recipes that use them and give that with the bitters. I'm sure people here can help with the recipes, as well as searching the web or, um, on-line cocktail databases. ;-)
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i think a selection of two or three bitters would be perfect per Dan's suggestion it may help spark further interest in craft cocktailc and it would be a gift that they use often rather than gathering dust like a coaster or gadget
I assume by gadgets they have a rimmer? Maybe a collection of different salts would be nice. There are also colored sugars as well.
I'd pick them up a hardbound copy of either, "Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl" or "Imbibe!: From Absinthe Cocktail to Whiskey Smash" by David Wondrich.
Plus a five pound bag of unshelled roasted peanuts. You can never go wrong with peanuts at the bar...
if you are interested in a neat "gadget" - what about one of those seltzer water makers / club soda / tonic makers that they sell on william sonoma (or another place similar)
That would also get some use and allow them to "do it themselves" at home - that might be a bit pricer, not sure how nice you want to go
FYI: I dont have any experience with this device, just looks interesting and probably someone who "has it all" doesnt have it
Also if you arent a big cocktail person perhaps you will get some nice home made soda's out of it when you visit :)
Another idea i had was about some very good mixers
Small Hands Food makes some great stuff
Can go with Orgeat, Raspberry Gum, Pinnapple Gum, Grenadine (if in season)
Could get a nice little mixer set for some pre prohibition cocktails
I would go with the smaller bottles if offered a size they dont last forever because there are not preservatives in the items, once opened they are good for a few months
although i have been using my orgeat for mai tai's after the expiration date, i figure the rum and lime can kill any bacteria in there :)
Perhaps true, but rum will not kill off flavors and aromas. Rum (or better vodka) will do a better job if you spike the syrup (1 oz of 80 proof or higher per 12-15 oz syrup).
Otherwise, keeping the bottles in the refrigerator, capping the bottle shortly after using it, and similar sterile techniques will keep non-preservative laden syrups healthier for longer.