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Holiday Gift Guide for Cocktail Lovers

Recipe books, spirits, and a new one-stop-shop for cocktail provisions


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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.

 

Books

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.

 

You & Yours Distilling's Sunday Gin. | Photo: Lindsey Marie Photography

Spirits

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.

 

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