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Cocktail Gift Guide

Six suggestions for spirited giving


Got a friend or family member who’s into craft cocktails? Or maybe someone on your gift list is looking to make their bar cart look a little fancier? Here are some ideas:

Swedish Punsch

In this month’s issue, I wrote about a boozy-good new cocktail at Starlite called The Bellman. The drink’s secret ingredient is Swedish Punsch, a traditional Swedish liqueur that has a long history, but is relatively new to the U.S. Made from sugar cane, red rice and spices, it’s a lovely drink, both for cocktail-making and after-dinner sipping. Pick up a bottle of Kronan at KnB Wine Cellars (6380 Del Cerro Blvd.).


Death & Co.'s Modern Classic Cocktails

David Kaplan (owner of legendary New York bar Death & Co.) and Nick Fauchald (former editor at Food and Wine) have penned a cocktail book that’s as classy on the outside as it is on the inside. It’s the cocktail book to beat all cocktail books — not recommended for someone with only a passing interest — with recipes, insights and tips and tricks. Find it at The Library Shop at the New Central Library.


Noon Design Rocks Glasses

Over the years, the ladies behind San Diego-based Noon Design have created a series of attractive rocks and high-ball glasses. The latest, the Frosted Birch Tree glasses, are specially cool — hip, elegant and understated. Pick up a set of four ($38) at Noon's Ocean Beach shop (4993 Niagara Ave. #105) or online.  


R&D Bitters

Some of San Diego’s best cocktail creators use R&D Bitters (formerly RX Bitters) — and some of San Diego’s best cocktail creators are the guys behind R&D. The classic Aromatic #7 is so fragrant, you’ll find yourself sneaking a whiff every now and then. Find R&D at Krisp Market’s downtown location (1037 Seventh Ave.).


Nostrum Cocktail Shrub

Nostrum is another local company that’s making quality cocktail ingredients. Shrubs are mixers made with fruit and vinegar that add a pop of flavor (and are great with soda water, too). Nostrum makes five different shrubs (though, looks like they’ve sold out of a couple, so hurry!). The $6 two-ounce bottle is a perfect stocking stuffer. Purchase a bottle or two online or at Pigment in North Park.


Mixology Dice

For someone who’s got a nice bar selection but just doesn’t know what to do with it. Each of the eight wood dice in this set is engraved with six basic cocktail elements (spirit, spice, liqueur, bitters, herbs, etc.). Roll the dice and, every time, you’ll end up with a well-balanced drink — apparently there are 1.5 million possible combinations. It’s $24 at uncommongoods.com.

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