Gift guide: for the imbibers on your list
Is it getting harder and harder to find the perfect gift to quench the thirst of that cocktail lover or beer connoisseur on your holiday shopping list? Good news. Crave'sdrink-savvy editors share of few of their favorite boozy things great for gift giving:
Need to stock you bar? Contributing editor Kristen Schmidt (who's been known to make a mean Aviation) suggests gifting a bottle of Cleveland-made Tom's Foolery Apple Jack (starts at $40) or Columbus-crafted bitters from The Bitter Wife ($13). The latter is a local line of creative, whole ingredient concoctions in flavors like Cherry Almond, Coffee Pecan and Coco Berry Fig. This season, Schmidt's been jazzing up bourbon Manhattans with Bitter Wife's limited-release gingerbread bitters. Find both on shelves at Weiland's Market.
If you know someone who'd rather make their own bitters, head on over to Boline Apothecary, where they have a backroom stocked with all the dried herbs and barks needed to get started. (All herbs are priced by weight.) The Clintonville herb shop also hosts sporadic bitters-making classes, so keep an eye on their event schedule. If you need help getting started, this book on bitters-which I bought last year for my husband-is a great guide for beginners.
A few other mixology ideas: If they already have a great cocktail shaker, get them a mixing glass ($39.95) to properly stir booze-on-booze cocktails. Or, try these clever Whiskey Wedges ($15). Every time you tip back your glass, the slow-melting, slated ice cube chills your sip.
Just in time for the holidays, both Middle West Spirits and Watershed Distillery have limited-release products that hit shelves this week. OYO's Oloroso Wheat Whiskey ($79.95) is made from Ohio-grown red winter wheat, and has been double aged-first for years in lightly charred American white oak barrels, then again for 12 to 18 months in Oloroso Sherry casks. The result is a smooth whiskey with hints of cherry, dark chocolate and raisins. Watershed, on the other hand, has ventured into the world of liqueurs, releasing a traditional Italian liqueur called Nocino ($29.95). The slightly sweet, slightly bitter liqueur is crafted from Ohio black walnuts and is great for sipping after a heavy meal or atop a little ice cream.
Crave editorial assistant Anthony Dominic (who's been known to quote "Imbibe!" by David Wondrich on occasion) jokes he's "ready to stop pouring liquor like a Neanderthal," so he's asking for a precision-pouring spout, like this one from Williams-Sonoma. Bonus: It's currently on sale for $5.99.
Dominic's also got a few bottles of Rockmill's Cask-Aged Tripel on his list. "It's something I'd only want to drink after a heavy meal," he shares. "One of the booziest beers I've ever had-it's aged in Middle West whiskey barrels-and you can certainly tell with each sip."
You can also satisfy your thirsty beer-loving friends with a brewery (or distillery) tour from Columbus Brew Adventures. You'll get behind the scenes at local breweries, get to talk to brewers and-the best part-taste plenty of brews. Tours explore neighborhoods like the Brewery District and Grandview, or pair pizza and beer, like on their latest tour. Tours are $55 and you can purchase a gift certificate here.
Finally, I'm clearing space on my walls to hang a few of these clever beer and cocktail drawings from Drywell Art. I love their dual purpose-a clean and colorful watercolor style that'll look great in my kitchen, and also help me remember the right proportions in a Pisco Sour.