No matter which holiday you’re celebrating, this time of year is special for all British Columbians. The holiday season is for spending time with family, eating good food, and enjoying a drink or two. And the holiday season is right around the corner. With any luck, British Columbians will get to enjoy their first COVID-free holiday season in years (knock on wood)!
In this blog post, we’ll share some of our best alcoholic gift ideas for your family and friends that enjoy a drink here and there. We’ll also dish out some of the yummiest looking cocktail recipes for entertaining your guests.
Let’s get festive.
4 Holiday Gift Ideas:
Gift giving can be difficult – especially for your loved ones that seem to either have everything already or don’t want anything to begin with. That’s where alcohol can make a great gift. Instead of buying them a sweater that probably won’t fit or something that will just collect dust, buy them something they can consume. Alcohol is a stress-free present to buy, but also a stress-free present to receive. It’s hard to go wrong! You just have to find out what they like…
1. Bailey’s Gift Set
The Bailey’s Gift Set is a classic. Baileys’ is an Irish cream liqueur drink made with cream, cocoa and Irish whiskey. Ideal for your coffee-loving friends and family members, this gift set comes with a couple glasses (or mugs, depending on the set), and of course – a big bottle of Bailey’s. Also watch for special edition gift sets that come included with chocolates, flavoured 2-ounce bottles of Bailey’s, and more.
2. Nice Bottle of Scotch
There’s usually someone at a family gathering that enjoys a really nice bottle of Scotch. In a way, these are the toughest people to buy for because they won’t touch anything of inferior quality. For them, you might have to splurge a little.
Every Scotch connoisseur will be familiar with the GlenDronach Revival, which is aged 15 years and comes in around $100. The Macallan Double Cask is another great option that is available for closer to $70. Finally, if you really want to make a splash, the Mortlach Blue Seal Single Malt Scotch is a special treat, coming in at around $250. If you need a suggestion from an expert, visit your local liquor store for some advice.
3. Bitters for Making Cocktails
For your creative cocktail crafting friend or family member, bitters make a perfect gift. Bitters are super small bottles that pack huge flavour and aromas, and are essential to many cocktail recipes. A good collection of bitters should be a bar staple for any cocktail lover.
There is a dizzying amount of options when it comes to selecting bitters. The household name in the world of bitters is Angostura, made in Trinidad & Tobago. Most bars will stock this stuff in abundance because it’s a perfect match for the classic Old-Fashioned cocktail. But you can also branch out and try something local. There’s the Apothecary Bitters Company from Vancouver, Rootside Bitters & Mixers from Victoria, and many more.
4. Craft Beer Holiday Pack
You can’t forget the beer enthusiasts. A good beer drinker will take satisfaction is almost any type of beer, but a nice craft beer pack from a local brewery is sure to excite. As the holiday season bears down, many breweries will release special edition seasonal mixer packs complete with IPAs, lagers, dark beers and more. Visit your local liquor store to find out what’s available this holiday season.
6 Festive Cocktail Recipes:
Once you’ve ticked off all the boxes on your holiday shopping list, it’s time to sort out some holiday cocktail recipes. If you’re hosting family and friends this year, that means you’re in charge of the alcohol. Sure, people will bring their own and people help themselves to whatever they can find. But to go the extra mile and become a truly great host, you’ll need a couple festive cocktail recipes up your sleeve.
1. Mulled Wine
Hot mulled wine is a holiday classic, perfect for a cozy evening by the fire. It involves boiling apple cider, red wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, orange zest, orange juice, cloves and star anise in a big pot before serving in mugs. Go here for the full mulled wine recipe.
Eggnog is another timeless holiday drink – just don’t tell Weight Watchers. This special treat usually doesn’t emerge until October, and when it’s gone, it’s gone for the season. There are a variety of drinks you can make with eggnog, but for this recipe we’ll stick with the classic eggnog and bourbon cocktail. If you want to class it up, make your eggnog from scratch. But if you’re stretched for time and patience, all you need is eggnog, your favourite bourbon, ice, and some freshly grated nutmeg.
3. Candy Cane Cocktail
The Candy Cane Cocktail is fairly simple but delicious. You’ll need vanilla flavoured rum, a white chocolate liqueur, and peppermint schnapps. Simply throw everything together into a cocktail shaker with ice, and serve! Bonus points for the candy cane garnish.
4. Cherry Brandy Old Fashioned
This cocktail is a delicious new take on the timeless Old Fashioned, revamped for the holiday season. You’ll need frozen cherries, bitters, orange juice, sugar, and brandy. Check out the full directions for making a cherry brandy Old Fashioned.
5. Hot Toddy
The Hot Toddy is another holiday favourite, perfect for the snowy cold weather. For this one, heat up a whisky of your choice, some honey and lemon juice on top of the stove. Give it a good mix, make sure it doesn’t boil, and you’re ready to serve!
6. Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Last on our list is the peppermint hot chocolate. This recipe is sure to be a favourite among the kids if you leave the alcohol out of the first batch. You’ll need milk, cream, sugar, bittersweet chocolate, and peppermint oil. Then for garnish, find some whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Yum!
For all of you holiday gift and cocktail needs, head on down to your nearest Springs Group liquor store.