Holiday Gift Guide for Cocktail Lovers
Recipe books, spirits, and a new one-stop-shop for cocktail provisions
Shelves of bitters at Collins & Coupe. | Photo: Kelly Davis
Looking for gifts for a cocktail fan? Your first stop should be Collins & Coupe, the new North Park shop that sells everything from vintage glassware to small-batch bitters to fancy cocktail strainers. Here, you can find elegant bar spoons and a hammered mixing glass by San Diego-based Standard Spoon. Near the shop’s entrance are several shelves of bitters and cocktail spices, including a Boy Drinks World — also San Diego-based — gift pack featuring their Serrano cocktail spice, passion fruit bitters, and aromatic walnut bitters. For stocking stuffers, grab a vintage measuring glass, Oenophilia atomizer, a handmade muddler, or a Nostrum shrub.
The Central Library’s gift shop has two fun cocktail recipe books, both by Tim Federle. Tequila Mockingbird features literary-inspired cocktails with names like Romeo and Julep, A Rum of One’s Own, and Vermouth the Bell Tolls. The recipes in Gone with the Gin are named after famous films: Whiskey Business, Blade Rummer, Lushmore. Each recipe includes a clever summary of the book or film that inspired it.
On Monday, George’s Level2 is releasing a new menu featuring 23 cocktails inspired by San Diego neighborhoods. Neighborhoods of San Diego will be available as a hardbound book with a photo of each cocktail, the recipe, and a brief history of the neighborhood that inspired it. It’s a perfect gift for any San Diego home-cocktail maker — and even former San Diegans who’ll dig the nostalgia factor. You can purchase the book at George’s or via the restaurant’s website.
One of my favorite new discoveries this year was You & Yours Distilling Co's Sunday Gin. It’s smooth and very approachable and will wow any gin fan — and the bottle itself is lovely. Grab one at You & Yours’ tasting room (1495 G Street, East Village), or at Handy Liquor (3001 Adams Avenue) in North Park.
I recently spotted a few bottles of Villa Zarri Nocino at Mona Lisa market (2061 India Street) in Little Italy. The New York Times describes the walnut-based Italian digestif, “with its aroma of and flavor of baking spices,” as a quintessential holiday liqueur. And Paste declared Nocino to be “the best liqueur you're not drinking.” It’s great on its own (after a big holiday meal), or as a fun addition to classics like Old Fashioneds, Manhattans, or Side Cars.
Got an idea for a future post? Email me.