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Tuesday 13 December 2011

All I want for Christmas: Gentleman's Bits

Santa's coming and whilst I'm sure you've all diligently written your lists and checked them twice, your life is no doubt blighted by people like me: the 'hard to buy for'. We're a group who don't really 'need' anything but have an annoying habit of buying ourselves all the best presents the week before the main event. So if you're stuck for something to get that loveable boozehound or just down-right awkward to buy for person in your life, this list is for you.

Raw materials:
The Kraken: To clarify, I wouldn't advise buying a mythical sea monster of giant proportions,  I would though wholeheartedly recommend this £21 incredible dark spiced rum, perfect neat or mixed.

Bathtub gin: A gift list from me wouldn't be complete without a gin. There have been a slew of incredible new gins this year, but with its brown paper, twine packaging and ornate illustrated label this earthy creamy drink will make for a really unique choice.  Worth every one of those £32.  

The Bitter Truth: Cocktail Bitters Traveler's Set: I like to think that bitters elevate my gin addiction into a more sophisticated 'cocktail problem' and this is a great miniature set to get you started for £20. I've already placed my order and am looking forward to the celery and chocolate in particular.

Lastly, if you're drinking gin made in a bathtub, then why not complete the circle with a shower gel that smells of Gin & Tonic (£13) or if you have slightly more expensive tastes maybe a Marc Jacob fragrance to remind you of your favourite drink from £47.

A few horrific experiences as a child have meant I'm usually massively anti educational gifts but when the lesson of the day is how Plymouth distill their gin (from £6 to £40), or how best to taste wine and enjoy whisky at Vinopolis in London (from £22 to £40) I think i can make an exception.

Reading material:
Diffords guide is a bible for contemporary and traditional cocktails, you can grab it in book form for £24 or better still (if you've missed that last amazon posting date) on the iPad and iPhone (you get to save the planet and its only £5 too). If instead you fancy getting stuck into a classic, then the Savoy Cocktail Book is a perfect beautifully illustrated choice at only £9

The tools:
From the novice to the expert there will always be a gap in the tool arsenal of the seasoned drinker. I'd go so far as to say this £6 key bottle opener has literally saved my life at some dull parties. I've extolled the virtues of the £6 Mexican Elbow already this year, and I'm proud to say it can even have non-drink-related uses too. Sian's linked to a few beautiful shakers already but if you want to do it like a pro you'll need a Boston shaker so why not pick one up with this incredible £10 set.
Hip flasks don't come more stylish than in white ceramic with a cork stopper (its double underlined in my list to Mr Clause). Don't tell your friends but the rehabilitated soda stream (from £29) is actually a really clever way to make sure you have the freshest fizzing tonic water around as well as a limitless supply of soda water (n.b. I've yet to try fizzing a cocktail). Finally though, if you're completely stuck for a unique gift may I recommend looking at a foamer (from £40), anything that allows you to do things like add orangey Cointreau foam to cosmos can do no wrong in my eyes.


  1. Is it bad I only want a Bottle of Kraken Just so I can Shout "release the Kraken" everytime I go to open it? :P

  2. Its not bad, its wholeheartedly endorsed, the problem is once you've used the phrase once, all of a sudden you start finding yourself using it at all sorts of inappropriate times.

  3. No, I think that's totally reasonable.

    Also, Nick, I want to know about these educational gifts. Tell us a story.

  4. Nick, you are a very useful person around these parts. Thank you!


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