Everyone drinks something. We don’t specifically mean alcoholic beverages, but whether it’s a fabulous bottle of wine, a coveted cognac, or simply water or soda, these affordable gift ideas enhance the experience. Get some for yourself, too as a fun and practical, “selfie” splurge!
Can you pair chocolate with Champagne? What works with Zinfandel? Will dark chocolate work well with white wine? For the holiday, there’s the Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker Wine & Chocolate Pairing Kit ($30.00) that offers a wine pairing guide with a beautifully boxed variety box of 48 individually wrapped squares of Scharffen Berger’s 41% Milk Chocolate, 62% Semisweet Chocolate, 70% Bittersweet Chocolate and 82% Extra Dark Chocolate. The included Wine Pairing Guide gives you some basic tips to conduct a wine and chocolate tasting, along with basic wine groups for the tasting. The guide is a bit thin in details, but this affordable gift is impressive, and lets one (or many) people sample the amazingly smooth, delicious, high quality Scharffen Berger chocolate. The tiny squares are full of intense chocolate taste, and just enough to pair with coffee or after dinner drinks, even if you’re not particularly interested in trying the pairing process. It is also a nice way to increase your knowledge of how food and wine impact each other. With a dozen squares each of four fabulous chocolates, you can make your holiday party into a fabulous gourmet tasting experience . This makes an affordable gift for someone you want to impress (e.g. your boss, wine lovers,. chocolate lovers, foodies, and anyone who wants to learn more about the “fruit of the vine”) Visit the Scharffen Berger Web site!
Big Mouth Products Inc. have tons of clever gifts to suit just about every personality BigMouth Inc. sells exclusively to brick and mortar retail stores, mail order catalogs, and established online web retailers such as Walmart and Target (go the to the Big Mouth Products website and they have a list of retailers). For anyone who has has stress, the How Was Your Day? Wine Glass is a “gag gift” that your recipient will actually keep and use. Like a measuring cup, has levels to pour for: Good Day, Bad Day, and Don’t ask! The wine glass is large, I estimate it holds about a half bottle of wine to the top, and has a sturdy, long stem. Of course you can use it for something other than wine, but it’s perfect for a bit of wine, when the day hasn’t been the best. Get a couple one each, and they can judge how things are going without saying a word!
Another good “gag” gift that brings s smile but actually is completely useful, is the Big Mouth Products Inc. Complaint Department Grenade Coffee Mug. The green grenade mup has a little “number” tag and a self-explanatory logo. It holds 16oz. of your favorite beverage. If you work in an office where you’re overwhelmed with complaints, or a busy parent whose kids like to whine, this mug will send them the message in a lighthearted way and make everyone laugh. Get one for that mystery Santa brag bag, or to give that co-worker who complains endlessly,. It’s a must-have for the mom who must always has a sympathetic ear.
How many times have you tried to open a can, and broken a nail? How many times have you twisted your wrist or bruised your hand just trying to open a bottle that just refuses to yield? The Magic Opener ($19.99) is a A great gift for anyone who wants to open bottles and cans without a struggle . The opener is available in yellow or black (the Extreme Magic Opener that includes a pull tab function is $24.99 online only). These heavy duty plastic openers are shaped like bottles, but “under the hood” are three different sizes of openers for glass and plastic bottles, and soda cans. The openers are also magnetic, so you can put it on your fridge and it’s decorative. The yellow opener will open most cans with ease, except the ones with raised rims (the opener can’t grab the tab). We didn’t try the Extreme Opener, but that one might get the cat food and soda cans too. The Magic Opener might seem like just another “as seen on TV” gadget, but it’s the kind of little gift that your recipient will really use…and thank you every time they’re stuck with a bottle or can that just doesn’t budget. It’s really especially great for anyone with limited hand strength and those suffering from arthritis. For more information on the Magic Opener, visit www.magicopener.com
There are wine and spirits glasses, and then there are the ones that literally put your “hood” on the map. The UncommonGreen’s Maps Barware actually shows a map of the place where you hang your hat etched on their bar, beer and wine glasses. In fact, the map design wraps around the entire glass,. The thing we like so much about these is that you can choose from so many cities (our glass above is is of Brooklyn, New York with the coordinates etched into it). Get one, two, or a more to drink from your favorite places, literally! The glasses are substantial glass, and you can consider them as one of a kind works of art, created in the USA. Unless you live in someplace extremely exotic you’ll find most of the major cities of the United States. Founders Brian Johnson, Dave Reddy, Neil Angis, and Colin Woodworth focus on great design that can make the world a better place to live, using Earth-friendly practices to create their unique form of art. Check out www.theuncommongreen.com website! There are different types of barware you can order along with lots of other unusual and beautiful gift ideas. These are great for the wine and spirits lover, anyone who drinks any kind of beverage and the person who knows “there’s no place like home.”When told my wine & spirits columnist about the Vinturi Spirit (msrp. $50.00) he scoffed. But, despite his doubts, he admitted that adding oxygen (especially into wine but also spirits) improves the nose and the flavor and therefore the experience. The Vinturi Spirit won’t make rotgut taste like $100 scotch, but it does open up the nose to enhance the experience of drinking your spirits. This particular Vinturi is quite beautifully designed in substantial, clear acrylic (dishwasher safe) and looks like a modern sculpture, but it is a wine and spirits aerator. The Vinturi Spirit comes ready to nestle into its stand, equipped with a built-in jigger with volume markers and flow control that lets you measure and aerate at the same time. It is really nicely boxed for gifting. It is easy to wash it by hand, but it is dishwasher safe as well.
To use Vinturi, you pour your spirits in the top goblet (you’ll hear a sucking, bubbling noise) and as the spirits slide through holes in the sides of the top goblet and into your glass, it gets the benefit of extra air being added. The original Vinturi works the same way, but this new Spirit version has a button on the side with a magnetic locking system (the metal never makes contact with your spirits) that lets you pour your drink and keep it in the top of the goblet, until you push the button and let it go! The “show” is fun for guests but that oxygen really does serve a purpose, We tried this with several different spirits in different price points. While the taste wasn’t significantly altered on the spirits as it is with wine, the nose became more magnified. Since you taste most of what you drink through your nose and smell, the Vinturi Spirit really does make whatever you are drinking, a bit better. This makes a great gift for someone who likes wine and spirits. One might think you don’t need one, but once you try it you’ll be using it all the time. The original Vinturi for wine was a great — this one is just another step forward thanks to the magnetic button. Vinturi Spirit works for both wine and spirits. You can get Vinturi products at a number of retailers of fine gourmet items, and online sites, but we suggest visiting the Vinturi Web Site for more information
Can you get a box of drinks for just $14.00? Kind of! The Holiday Cocktail Mixers Set ($14.99) showcased at the Target editor’s showcase won my attention not just because it has such an impressively presentation (ten 10 2.5 fl. oz. drink enhancers) at a superbly bargain basement price, but because you can quickly and easily serve up all sorts of fancy cocktails you might not have the time or inclination to mix up yourself. All you have to do is add alcohol and the mixer of your choice. The set features naturally and artificially flavored holiday cocktail mixers with names like: Frosted Coconut Snow (pina colada) and Mistletoe Mojto Mixer. Buy the set as a gift, or buy it for your next party, and let guests have a more merry time making their own specialty cocktails. Add a shot of rum and ice in a shaker and add one bottle of Mistletoe Mojito or Frosted Coconut Snow Pina Colada, shake and serve. A-List Margarita just need one shot of tequila and ice. You don’t need to do anything to make a perfect, Peachy Bellini Present–just top it off with champagne. For the minimalist or those who don’t drink spirts, there is the Red Nose Sangria –just mix with red wine and ice. Our personal favorites are the holiday Martinis and Spiked Holiday punch that just need a shot of vodka (shake and strain into a martini glass). These are great hostess gifts and great as a thank-you or for those you simply can’at figure out what delights them. The set will be on shelves to the very end of December if they don’t sell out. *for those who want nutrition facts and ingredients, they’re all listed on the back of the box. Visit your favorite Target store or target.com
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