Beer, Cocktail and Wine. Three Gifts for the Drinker in Your Life.


Good drinking is often a pleasure not only in the taste and texture of the drink itself, but also in the peraphernalia that goes along with it. Sommeliers take great pride in their favorite corkscrews for instance, just as do bartenders in their tools. So, for the drinking connoisseur in your life, I present the following gift ideas.

Spirits: Well, everyone's joking about "the Meehan," the unbelievably expensive but inarguably cool bartender's bag in part designed by Jim Meehan of New York's PDT. The problem is that no working bartender (except perhaps Jim Meehan) makes enough money to justify $740 on an equipment bag. So, instead for that entreprising home bartender, why not get them a really cool new reproduction of a vintage cocktail book? These books are both fascinating as a window on a different--but in many ways more advanced--cocktail culture and as recipe compendiums of the some fascinating cocktails. In addition, they're handsome additions to any bar.

Beer: The question of which wine glass to use with specific wines has been talked up endlessly. But beer glasses hardly get any attention. Maybe that's because so many people just swig bud from the bottle. But, if you're serious about your beer--or at least on occasion drink serious beers--you should have the pleasure of good glasses too. They enhance the aromas, texture, and delivery of the beer, as well as look great. For that purpose there's nothing better on the market than the Spiegelau Beer Classics Six-Pack, three pairs of indespensible beer glasses to suit brews of all styles. Wine: Fancy wine gear is not hip these days. Most sommeliers, critics and collectors I know seem to be going deliberately downscale--using Strauss milk jars instead of crystal decanters, terra cotta flower pots as ice buckets, etc. (Everyone still uses nice glasses, though.) So, with modesty in season, I recommend again the coolest little corkscrew in the world. It's the only one my wife and I use at home, and it's lasted years since we bought it in Burgundy. It's compact, attractive, sharp-bladed, and powerful. And it always works with ease and grace. Ladies and gents, I present what we call the "snubnose" (because of its compactness): Pulltap's X-Tens corkscrew. It's the coolest there is and will be appreciated by the recipient every time he or she opens a bottle.

Enjoy your holidays. And drink lots of water . . .

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