5 Holiday Gifts for the Spirit and Cocktail Lover

By: 
A.J. Rathbun
The Cherry Bounce Liqueur from Old Ballard Liquor Company

With the holiday season in full swing, perhaps you haven’t yet had time to pick up all your end-of-year gifts (which is a nicer way to look at it rather than you’ve just forgotten or run out of time). But, fear not: If you have a cocktail or spirit aficionado on your list, the following gift ideas are sure to be a hit. And don’t forget that it’s never a bad idea to get a few goodies for yourself, too.

Old Ballard Liquor Company Cherry Bounce Liqueur: Based on a 200-year-old recipe, this aged sour cherry liqueur is delicious and harkens back to a drink very popular with our colonial forefathers and foremothers. Hand-crafted from sour cherries grown on a single Eastern Washington farm that only have 25 hours between picking and bottling, the liqueur’s rich, full taste goes well all by itself after dinner, but also plays nicely in cocktails. It runs around $35.

Down The Hatch: One Man's One Year Odyssey Through Classic Cocktail Recipes and Lore: Written by Seattleite Vince Keenan, this tipsy and jolly book features more than 50 helpful cocktail recipes. But it’s much, much more than a recipe book; it’s really a memoir to the joys of drink and of creating delicious drinks. In it, Keenan tells of a year of learning to make and love cocktails, with many stories, histories and more. You’ll find lots of Seattle-ness, as well. It’s available in a Kindle edition (and yes, you can send Kindle books as gifts) for only $2.99.

Scrappy’s Bitters Gift Boxes: If your favorite cocktail lover hasn’t yet tried out locally made Scrappy’s bitters, one of its two gifts sets are ideal. The first contains four small bottles of lime, chocolate, cardamom and grapefruit bitters, and the second includes orange, aromatic, lavender and celery bitters. All the bitters in both sets are worthy, add lovely aromas and flavors to cocktails and are hand-crafted with care. My pick, though, if I have to pick, is set number one because I think the cardamom bitters is the absolute tops. The sets are available at spots such as PFI and DeLaurenti, as well as online, and run around $20.

3 Howls Hopped Whiskey: With a triple shot of hops, layering Amarillo and Horizon hops on a foundation of Chinook Hops, this is a white--or unaged--whiskey that really has its own personality. It’s strong, but also smooth, and has intriguing floral aromas and a serious hops taste. This hop-y-ness makes it a good whiskey gift for those who also love beer. And while it goes dandy in classic whiskey cocktails such as the Old Fashioned and the Manhattan, it also, as 3 Howls distiller Will Maschmeier says, “makes a bad beer better in a Boilermaker.” It runs $32.

Seattle Distilling Company Craft Distilling Workshop: If you know someone who really loves local spirits and wants to learn more about the craft behind them, this workshop is perfect. Taught by Seattle Distilling Company’s Master Distiller (and awesome guy) Paco Joyce, in this workshop you’ll get an in-depth look into the history, philosophy and process behind craft distilling, as well as a tour of the distillery and how its swell spirits come together, from milling grain to distilling to bottling. The workshop also includes tasting of all Seattle Distilling Company's spirits, appetizers and a goodie bag! The class size is limited, and it costs $100.

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