Maybe you're looking to treat yourself (as you should) or you're looking to get something nice for the whiskey lover in your life during the next holiday or occasion. No matter where you are in your search for a whiskey gift that isn't whiskey, you've likely come across an uninspired list of "gifts" from a massive online publication. Let's be frank, these gifts suck. Today we've assembled a list of truly unique or useful gifts that any whiskey enthusiast would be happy to receive!
This is the first gift I ever received when I started my journey with whiskey, so it's only fair that I share this fantastic piece of literature with the rest of you as well.
A Field Guide To Whisky was crucial to shaping my initial understanding of the world of whiskey. Whether you're just starting out, or have known about whiskey for a while and want to broaden your horizons of knowledge, this book really does it all. It covers things like the different kinds of whiskey, the regions they come from, how they're made, and more. Not only is it nice to know these things, I do believe that knowing what separates different whiskeys has helped me in choosing what I like and in my search for bottles. Bonus points to the quality hardcover and artwork that make it a great coffee table book or an addition to your bar shelf!
There are so many whiskeys out there to enjoy, with all of them covering different ends of the flavor spectrum, allowing us to find those unique bottles that fit our palate preferences perfectly. Making whiskey is an art, and there are brilliant minds at the top distilleries making it happen.
With all of that in mind, why can't we participate in the craft as well? That's the thinking behind this American Oak Whiskey Barrel, in varying sizes from one gallon to five gallons, perfect for aging whiskey at home! You can pour any spirit you'd like into it, from already-aged spirits to unaged spirits like Buffalo Trace's White Dog. The small barrel means aging takes far less time than usual, ranging from a few weeks to a few months, instead of a few years.
Is this barrel for the whiskey purist? Honestly, no. It's all a relatively gimmicky process, but in a fun way! If you go into it with an open mind, it's a great way to create something totally unique. If all else fails, it makes a fantastic decoration for your home bar setup!
Let me tell you a story about how I drink Old Fashioneds changed forever. Visiting a speakeasy local to my city, I sat by the bar and noticed something right away: everyone around me was drinking the same cocktail. It didn't take long for the bartender to mention their famous Smoked Old Fashioned, essentially a regular Old Fashioned with the additional crucial step of smoking the drink in its glass before serving. I was skeptical at first, but was open to try it out.
It. Was. Amazing.
Smoking a whiskey cocktail adds a layer of smokiness and oakiness that is complimentary to the drink as a whole, not overpowering and not overly subtle. From then on I made it a mission to add the ability to smoke drinks into my arsenal.
This Foghat Cocktail Smoker checks a lot of boxes for me. It's not an overly complicated mechanical device, it's compact, and comes with a topper that seals the smoke in, a great perk for someone who's always nervous of their apartment's smoke detectors.
Take a drink every time you've heard a bourbon being described as having "notes of caramel and vanilla."
In all seriousness, bourbon has the fantastic ability to express a wide variety of flavors that, with the right training, you can identify throughout the nosing process. It can take years of experience to become skilled in the art of nosing, but the help of this Bourbon Nosing Kit will take you far in your experience with bourbon. This kit comes with 24 samples of the most common aromas that you'll encounter during your experiences with bourbon. When you're nosing the bourbon, keep this kit nearby as something you can use as a reference for what you're picking up from the whiskey. Bonus points if you take notes, I speak from experience that when you do this long enough, you'll start forgetting which bottles had those notes you enjoy.
Of course, we have to round out this list with a shameless plug! If you aren't already familiar with Bar & Craft, we make artisan-grade Ice Ball Press Kits for the whiskey enthusiasts and home mixologists of the world. Everything that we've mentioned in this list is all about enhancing your experience with whiskey, and our Ice Press is no exception. It's an all-in-one kit that allows the owner to create perfect spheres of ice out of large ice cubes.
The press is a powerful statement piece in any bar, and is an absolute hit with friends and dinner parties. It's rated 4.5+ stars on Amazon and is sure to thrill whoever you give it to, even if it's yourself ;)