The Mr. Booze 2010 Holiday Shopping Guide

“I’ll Be At The Home Bar For Christmas…If Only In My Dreams”

…Here are a few holiday home bar gift ideas…

I’m back again this year with a few new picks for you to consider as holiday gifts for the home bartender in your life. I love a little something for the basement bar on Christmas morning and usually have broken it quite in by the time the turkey’s done that evening. Here are some nifty accessories that would make the lush in your life very happy to receive.

Waterford Lismore Ship’s Decanter – When I finally took the plunge and invested in a decanter I knew I’d only pour my best in, I went with Waterford. I appreciate cut crystal because it’s harder to lose your grip or lose it due to moisture than a smooth glass version.  It’s ritual, and I understand that. I wanted something that I’d break out under special circumstances, and I found it with my Captain’s or Ship’s Decanter. It’s incredibly wide towards the bottom to prevent overturning on choppy seas…or in my case, overturning due to clumsiness. I’ve dealt with Cash’s of Ireland for years and really trust the company. If you’re of the mind, carve out a niche in your living room, office or den, and make room for a beautiful vessel to store your best in, along with a couple of appropriate glasses.

Personalized Aviator Lounge Sign – ‘Cause it’s cool, that’s why I want one. We’ve talked before about the “little touches” around your home bar that make it your own. I found this wood repro-sign in a great catalog from Wireless and really took a shine to it. Black, white and red pop for the eye and the twin-prop plane represented on the sign tastefully suggest vintage without going overboard.  I don’t know… if you’re looking for something cool and old-school for a friend’s, husband’s or your own bar, this is pretty unique.

Luxardo Gourmet Maraschino Cherries – If you have a Manhattan fan on your list, like I am, then they’ve got to try the Luxardo Maraschino Cherry. More dense and meatier than your standard cocktail cherry, this one will take about five Manhattans to warm up to. But…once you do, you may never go back. The syrup is rich and loaded with Marasca syrup goodness; these cherries really do kick the Manhattan up to another level. You can use them in any drink that calls for cherries. Remember to take them out of the fridge an hour or two before entertaining in order for the syrup to re-liquefy.  Below is the link to Kegworks for ordering.

Travel Bar –  My Dad gave me his, and I use it. They’re perfect for that “theme park, stuck in the hotel” weekend with the family. Mixing you and the little lady up a couple of Manhattans before going down to some Enchanted Character Restaurant will provide you with the proper attitude necessary for relaxing in a family restaurant after a long day in the park. Sure, you’ll run across the occasional used leather one in the 2nd hand shop, but Mr. Booze found a company that offers a few great versions that will gold-stamp-engrave initials right on the case completing that classic look. The Deuster Company makes affordable classics guaranteed to make your next Holiday Inn get away just a little more special. Here’s a solid value for an evening of solid drinking while sitting on a queen bed watching hotel pay-per-view. Don’t forget to pack the cherries.

Crosley Wood Record/CD Player with all the Bells & Whistles – I’ve mentioned these a few times on the main blog, and if you click on the music icon on the right of the screen, you’ll link to an entire article on retro music systems for your bar or cocktail area. I see ‘em all the time at box stores so I just assumed you all had access to them to. Then, I started seeing FB fans from far, far away, and realized that maybe a few of you had no idea what the heck I was even talking about ‘cause there are no Targets in Dubai. So, in a nutshell, here’s the skinny – I love my Crosley record player! It sits in my living room, and I play my vinyl, CDs, MP3 stuff and the radio from it. The speakers are cloth covered so you get that real nostalgic vibe. The Crosley stuff looks good, you can get replacement needles for the record player, and mine has now lasted for over 6 years, which does say something. If you or your gift recipient is at all into vinyl and you just want something to play these gorgeous old recordings I keep going on about, buy one. Look around for better prices ‘cause they’re out there, but here’s a link to a good dealer if you just want to buy one now.

Beach Bum Berry Remixed – Combining Beach Bum’s groundbreaking and rum soaked books, Intoxica and Grog Log, this new volume adds a whopping 40 new recipes into the mix. As fans of Mr. Booze may know, I am just a huge fan of this guy. It’s no lie when I say that Beach Bum Berry’s books have become as mainstay a part of my spring and summer barbeques as are the burgers and dogs. This book is simply a “must own.” Tiki drinks are as important as hammocks come May (and combine perfectly), and this book will carry your parties into the land of Pacific breezes and pineapples. In addition to straight-forward drink recipes, Berry writes in a relaxed and informative manner and goes to great lengths to inform his readers on the history of Tiki drinks with anecdotes, interviews, theories and humor. Honestly, you can read this book for pure pleasure, too.

Metrokane 7400 VIP Black Faux-Leather Ice Bucket – Stylish and affordable, you don’t need to break the bank on this home bar must. I have a few ice buckets but prefer the kind with a lid. The ice lasts longer and doesn’t slosh all over your bar if accidentally knocked.  If you don’t already have one and have to run to the freezer every time you want to fill a shaker, ice down a glass, or throw rocks in a glass, this faux-leather one from The Beverage Factory should last for years and years. Quite affordable and, at the time of this posting, comes w/ free shipping.

Tillen Farms, Pickled Vegetable Gift Pack – I’ve mentioned Tillen Farms a time or two on the blog and Facebook. I met them a few years back at a food show and was quite impressed with their products (their maraschino cherries are to die for). I picked up a couple bottles of the veggies and started ploppin’ them into my ice-cold martinis. “Badaboom” what a difference in your drink! These are also great to just leave out on the bar for munching. Can’t beat the collection for martini garnishes.

The Fee Brothers Bar Cocktail Mixers Starter Set – I love the Fee Brothers products and even pushed their bitters on last year’s list. You’ll find products in this set that are called for in the more delicious, harder to assemble tiki and tropical drink guides. Orange Bitters, Falernum, Blue Curacao, Orgeat and more are all presented in this cool little bundle any home bartender would love opening. Available from the reliable folks at Kegworks, this is a solid gift.

World Globe Liquor Dispenser – “Ease world tension” with another home-bar throwback. I sang the praises of the gas-pump dispenser last year, so I’ve decided to keep up the kitschy craze with a booze dispenser that looks like it belongs in a drunk’s library.

Why not have one on your home bar? Stuff like this is what home bars are all about. Just fill with your favorite middle of the road hooch, and watch the gasps of friends and drinkers alike. All I know is that I better be unwrapping one.

Pink Elephant Martini Glasses & Shaker Set – They’re the iconic image of drinking, right? The Pink Elephant with maybe a few “hic” bubbles bobbing by goes back as an image for tipsiness for decades and decades. I’m a huge fan of and thought I’d showcase another of their cool additions to cocktail culture. This is an affordable, sweet little set that would make a perfect gift for some imbiber’s first apartment, or just a cool addition to your own scene. Strong graphics insure that martini nerds will collect this set in the future.

The Mr. Booze Cocktail Drink Deck – Gotta plug the home team here. This drink deck, which folds open so that she’ll sit easily and helpfully on your bar, is loaded up with 30 of our best recipes. With easy to follow directions on mixing cocktail classics, you’ll find the recipe deck loaded with anecdotal information and history pulled straight from our site. The cards are laminated so they won’t get all gooey from spilled booze; just wipe ‘em clean the next morning. I love these drinks when I can remember them and so will you every time you dig it out. We’re doing different ones, so get this volume one while you still can. I doubt we’ll reprint them ‘cause that would be too much trouble.

Here’s the link to last year’s 2009 guide. Check with each company on availability.

P.S. Don’t forget…a nice bottle of something 80 proof is always nice too!

Happy Holidays.

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