Man, did 2014 ever fly by! Here we are again offering up ten solid suggestions as gifts for your favorite elbow-bender come the holidays. As in past years, I’m trying to stay and stray just a bit left off the beaten path. I’m presenting to you a list of the more whimsical, yet still practical barware for use and display on a home bar. Buy ’em; wrap ’em; try and be there when he or she opens up the package, hopefully after 5pm. And remember to stick around to make sure everything “works.” Here we go –
1) The Mayan Skull Of Doom Shot Glass – Big enough for two fat fingers of your favorite shot, this odd, yet eye-grabbing, hand-blown shot glass will definitely raise eyebrows as you slide it on over. A glowing skull borosilicate glass (think Corningware durability) makes a statement, even if it just sits there as a prop. For those of you that lean towards the gothic, what’s not to like? From CreationsAndCollections.com . $13. –
2) Remake It Bottle Lamp – If you’re a beer drinker and quaff the harder to get brews with the cool labels, have I got a pick for you. This bar lamp will softly light an end of your home bar with twelve of your clean and empty craft beer bottles. Imagine twelve unique Christmas beers or twelve different Pumpkin Ales or Stouts glowing on a pub table. If you’re like me, you can’t recall what the heck beer you drank last weekend, but you know it was good. Here’s a way to remember. Once again, available from CreationsAndCollections.com. $50 –
3) Wood Martini Glasses – Black walnut martini glasses! What the heck? I asked that question until I did a little research and discovered that the wood is a gangbuster insulator and will keep a drink cold longer than a warm hand-cradled glass one. Anything tropical and served straight up would be perfect for these containers (can I even say “glasses”?). They have that 70’s high-end fern bar look that might really work in a 50’s or 60’s bar build-in. Colorado furniture and architectural designer David Rasmussen incorporates a Danish quality in this sleek and highly functional creation. Not for everybody, but I think they’re cool. $100 for a pair – From Uncommongoods.com
4) Sail Away Glass Decanter Globe – A mouthful of a name, but boy is it a handsome decanter. All glass, what you have here is a glass globe etched outside decanter containing room enough inside for 20 ounces of your favorite whiskey and a beautiful glass ship sculpture set inside a smaller globe. Busy? Yes, but it also has a very old-school charm about it. I have a couple decanters on my basement bars and they really are a product designated specifically to make a statement in house. There was a time when a handsome decanter was a must-own in a swinging pad or on a bachelor’s wet bar. I don’t see a lot of new entries into this barware category and when I do, they’re snapped up quickly. This one is one of the better I’ve seen. From Homewetbar.com at $70. –
5) Home Bar Building Plans – Had to put this one up here; it’s a long time coming. Shame on me for sometimes assuming that our readers already have one. I know I didn’t when I had my first pad. A home bar, as you know by being here, is just so much damn fun to have. A place where friends gather, where you store your booze and glasses, a top that you can display your cocktail-themed treasure or that retro-radio you play tunes out of. The winter that follows the holidays might very well be the perfect time for this sort of indoor, home project. This guide has it all. First off, it’s a good looking home-bar that’s tweak able in terms of how you’d like to finish it. There’s an easy to follow step-by-step guide with pictures for everyone. Extremely user friendly the person you gift this to should have their bar up and running in no time. You just have to be a drinker, not a carpenter with this one. From Homewetbar.com, $18. –
6) Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts DVD Boxed Set – I can’t find it on Blu Ray, but I did look around and the Amazon price on DVD seems to be the cheapest copy out there. What can I say about Dean Martin that I haven’t said dozens of times here at Mr. Booze? He was one of a kind, not another entertainer like him before nor ever again. You’ll be getting twelve complete roasts with this boxed set, each and every one of them jewels. From 1973 to 1984, these roasts appeared on NBC’s Thursday night line-up during the height of in-house imbibing. Who over 40 can’t remember their dad slapping his knee in his barcalounger, hi-ball in hand, chuckling at the cast of Hollywood characters Dean Martin assembled for an evening of zingers and one-liners aimed at the funny fop who happened to be sitting in the tables center chair. Imagine yourself nestled in the den on a snowy winter night, fireplace aglow, maybe with a few likeminded pals, sipping an Old Fashioned to one or two of these Roasts on a Friday night. Pre-PC, Dean Martin and his compadres (Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., John Wayne, Lucille Ball, Phyllis Diller, Orson Welles, etc…) gathered for one hell of a viewing experience. A must-own if you like it old-school around your home bar. $43 & change on Amazon.
7) Navy Grog Ice Cone Kit – Our pal here at Mr. Booze, Tiki-Guru Beachbum Berry, created this cone-cube maker specifically to plop in a glass of his recipe for Navy Grog. That being said, the 5 & 1/2 inch cone-cube will chill down any tropical concoction served in a standard rocks glass. Comes with the stainless steel mold and accompanying rod, you’ll be able to freeze a couple the day before a gathering and have the perfect cone of ice that traditionally was added to a grog or tiki drink. Perfect stocking stuffer for your friend with the Hawaiian shirt. $18 at CocktailKingdom.com –
8) A Subscription to Bachelor Pad Magazine – Risqué’? .. Yes indeedy … but not too. This is nothing more than a modern throw-back for the guy with a strong appreciation of an earlier time. No nudity, I promise, but plenty of scantily clad, 50’s retro-era pin-up style beauties posing between retro-articles on jazz, detective and hard-boiled fiction, cocktails, music and interviews with the entertainers carrying on the 50’s tradition of barbershop magazines. Tongue-in-cheek with every page, one has to have a sense of humor and a not-easily-offended temperament to enjoy it. Mr. Booze reads it and feels, in many ways, the 4 times a year small size mag. is very much akin to what we try and do here … just with girlie pics. I don’t think I’ve even read a curse word in the magazine. Still, one should not keep this book out where the kids or those easily offended might see it. Please, take a long look at the site before you gift this one. – $24 for four issues, shipping included.
9) Yarai Seamless Cocktail Mixing Glass With Strainer – I try and put a cool and functional shaker on my picks list every year, but this season I’m switching things up a little and am going with a strong, industry friendly mixing glass. As cocktail people know, you can’t shake everything. Shaking a Manhattan, Martini, or other non-juice drink will bruise your ingredients and infuse cloudiness in what should be a crystal clear experience. Some cracked ice, a stainless steel stirrer, a good strainer and a pour spout are what you need for more than a few classics found on our site. With the exception of the stirrer, this gem meets all criteria. This is a very attractive piece which will look great on a bar, yet it’s time-tested sturdy and is used by many professional bartenders. The Yarai weave pattern etched into the glass really prevents fumble-fingers. This is what I want for Christmas if that helps. $36.50 from Kegworks.com
10) Half Yard Beer Glass (32oz) with Stand – Have you ever tried to drink out of one of these? I have and while messy, it was a ton of fun. For the beer drinker in your life, who’s definitely not driving, this gift can be a lot of fun for the home bar. Fill it to the top with an inch or two of foamy head (around 2 1/2 bottles of good beer should do it), sit where it’s easy to clean up, and enjoy the hijinks. Eventually, after a few well spent evenings, you’re friend will master it. A usable novelty is how I look at it. Perfect for an Oktoberfest or holiday outdoor party, or for a serious lover of beer, this would be a fun gift to open … but a pain in the neck to wrap. Kegworks.com again. $21.
Hope one or a few of these selections helps with your holiday shopping. Any of these products, as always, must be used responsibly, hopefully in a home bar near a warm bed later. Search for our older lists for even more ideas.
Happy Holidays from Mr. Booze!