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What to Buy for the Boss, 2012 edition

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I'm invited to a holiday lunch at the home of my boss and his wife. They are very well off, ages 74 and 75, social drinkers of hard liquor, not wine.

The gift that everyone brings is a bottle of some type of liquor, as they entertain a lot at home. Any suggestions for what I should get that would be somewhat respectable (and respectful) without breaking the bank? My price limit is, sadly, a measly $30 or so (needed new brakes this month), so I may be on a fool's errand.

I've no guidelines to go on other than the obvious: no "creams,", no flavored vodkas, what you'd expect for their demographic.

Thanks, all.

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  1. Obviously it would be best to know more about what they like. Someone who drinks nothing but Scotch is not going to appreciate anything but Scotch, for example.

    If you have no other information to go buy, I would suggest something that represents good taste. It's hard to go wrong with Scotch in this situation. For $30, you could probably find Bowmore Legend, or maybe something from Compass Box?

    If they are Martini drinkers, then there are lots of interesting gins in this price range. Anchor's Juniperio is pretty interesting. Find something from a smaller or less well known label. Even Plymouth would be fine. Stay away from Hendrick's -- it's a love-it-or-hate-it brand.

    If they are more European in their sensibilities, then an Italian amaro (bitter liqueur) would be appreciated. Fernet Branca is probably too "out there" (strongly bitter and menthol-flavored) to give as a gift, but certainly Campari, Cynar, Averna, or Ramazzotti would be welcome.

    Another idea would be a sip-worthy brandy of some sort. Cognac will be too expensive, but an American apple brandy would be great, and I think Laird's 7.5 year old is in this price range. Most other eau-de-vie and brandies will be too expensive for anything that you'd want to sip.

    The last idea would be an aromatized wine, either a vermouth or something to drink as an aperitif. Carpano Antica Formula is delicious on its own, and many like it in a Manhattan. Bonal Gentiane Quina is awesome.

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    2 Replies
    1. re: EvergreenDan

      My source (his secretary) says that she thinks she has seen scotch, vodka and brandy in their home, and I've been warned about not buying anything "trendy" by well-meaning coworkers; I will try the Bowmore Legend and sniff around for the Lairds. I don't know if they're gin people. I fear that good vodka will be out of my reach.

      Thank you, Dan!

      1. re: pinehurst

        It pains me to say it, but a well-regarded blended Scotch like Johnnie Walker Black might be safest. It wouldn't impress a cocktail enthusiast, but it would offend no one and would always be in good taste. A dislike of anything "trendy" suggests that they are not open to things outside their comfort range and if they like scotch they at the very least won't hate Johnnie Walker Black. They might hate the smokey, peaty flavor of Bowmore Legend.

        I'd stay away from vodka. Some feel that premium vodka is a rip-off. Giving him a high-quality modestly-priced vodka (like Russian Standard) might backfire.
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