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Cheers to the Holidays: Food, Beer, and Wine Gift Guide
We’re in prime gift-buying season. Your list of who to buy for probably includes a foodie, beer lover, and/or wine enthusiast. This is a fun group to buy for because you can really get creative with your gifts. Plus, you can find awesome presents regardless of what you’re looking to spend. Here are some gift ideas for lovers of food, wine, and craft beer.
Caution: While shopping for these people, you may experience overwhelming feelings of hunger and/or thirst.
Cooking classes: You can find a cooking class for every skill level, every cuisine, and various themes, such as date night, pizza party, and more. These classes are a fun, useful experience for food lovers. Find cooking classes at Sur la Table, researching local spots in your area, or even find a deal on Groupon or Living Social.
Pre-mixed baked goodies: This is a treat you can either buy or make yourself. If you’re making it, simply include all the dry ingredients to a baked treat, such as cookies, breads, or muffins. Tie the recipe to the jar or bag of dry ingredients, and your recipient is ready to bake. You can also find pre-made packages at grocery stores and cooking supply stores, such as Williams Sonoma.
Dinner-theater tickets: Combine food and entertainment with a gift to a dinner theatre. If your recipient isn’t into the arts, you can opt for a gift card to a movie theater where you can dine during the film; such theaters are popping up around the country.
Sauces: Jarred sauces are practical and usually have a long shelf life. While you can find a variety of sauces at a grocery store (gourmet or basic), you can also buy from a restaurant that bottles its specialty sauce or purchase online. For example, call your favorite BBQ restaurant to see if they sell their sauce.
Food basket: Sign your friend up for a basket of the month club or opt for a one-time purchase if you want to spend less. For example, iGourmet.com has a basket for bread, cheese, chocolates, sauces and condiments, meats and seafood, fruits and vegetables, and spices and sweeteners.
Herb plant: Fresh herbs in a potted plant make a great gift. You can find basil, rosemary, cilantro, and more at a greenhouse or even a grocery store. Opting for something already planted takes the work out of it.
Coffee, tea, or hot chocolate: If someone appreciates great food, odds are they’ll love a good beverage as well. Gourmet coffee, flavored teas, and unique hot chocolate varieties are sure to please, especially during the colder months. Find these items at a coffee shop, gourmet grocery store, or for hot chocolate, a chocolate store, such as Godiva.
Gift card to a gourmet grocery store, cool new restaurant, or bakery: You can never go wrong with a gift card to a great foodie hot spot.
Cookbook: Regardless of what they’re into, there’s a cookbook for everyone. Whether it’s vegan cooking or a cookbook just for mac and cheese, there are plenty to choose from.
A donation in their name: If your foodie is particularly generous, or for the food lover who has everything, consider making a donation to a food-related charity or organization in their name, such as the National Young Farmers Coalition, Stop Hunger Now, or a local food pantry.
A dinner experience: While a gift certificate will always be put to good use, do something more specific. Many restaurants have unique events, such as a multiple-course dinner menu paired with wine or beer or entertainment. Check out local restaurants to see how you can purchase advance tickets.
Beer of the Month Club: Enroll your craft beer lover in a beer of the month club to expand their brew horizons. These clubs introduce them to beers they ordinarily may not get to try. Many gourmet grocery stores and craft beer stores offer some type of club. Or you can purchase it online with BeerMonthClub.com.
Growler: This is a great way to pick up fresh beer from local breweries, and a great gift for those making their own beer. You can purchase growlers at a beer supply store, online, or a brewery that sells them. You could also throw in a crocheted growler case or a monogrammed one from their favorite brewery.
Brewery tour: They’ll get a chance to see how the beer is made, talk to the brewer, and probably grab some samples as well. To find a brewery near you, check out CraftBeer.com’s search engine. If you’re purchasing a tour, print out a schedule as well to help the recipient decide when to use your gift.
Subscription to a beer magazine: Deliver beer news, beer-themed recipes, and more every month with a subscription to a beer-related publication such as Beer Advocate, Draft Magazine, The Beer Connoisseur, or All About Beer. Whether they’re just getting captivated by the beer world or are seasoned enthusiasts, they’ll appreciate one of these publications.
Kit for brewing your own beer: Let them get in on the beer-making action. You can find beer-making kits at supply stores, online, or at cooking supply stores, such as this IPA Beer Making Kit from Williams-Sonoma.
Beer journal: Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the amazing beers you have been trying. Get them a beer journal for keeping track of the flavors they enjoy and what styles they favor.
A mug club: Some breweries offer a membership, or mug club. Details will vary by brewery but could include members-only events, a free pint or growler on a regular basis, a monogrammed glass or growler, and discounts on beer.
Seasonal beers: One surefire hit with any beer lover is, of course, beer. Add the festive spirit by opting for a seasonal beer. Many stores that sell craft beers allow you to create your own six-pack. This is a nice way to grab a variety of holiday beers as a gift. Beers are brewed with nutmeg, cinnamon, and other winter spices this time of year. Southern Tier 2Xmas, Samuel Adams Old Fezziwig Ale, Great Lakes Christmas Ale, Boulevard Nutcracker, Rogue Santa’s Private Reserve, and Shlafly Christmas Ale are just a handful of great seasonal beers.
Wine of the Month Club: Just like the beer of the month, wine of the month clubs will introduce your loved one to new wines. Wine stores, gourmet grocery stores, and liquor stores may offer wine clubs, or you can purchase one online at WineoftheMonthClub.com.
Make your own wine experience: Find a place that will take you through the entire wine-making process over the course of a season, from crushing the grapes to fermentation and bottling. City Winery is a good example, with locations in Chicago, Nashville, New York City, and Napa. Search for local wineries in your area that offer something similar.
Wine tastings: They’re everywhere — restaurants with a good wine list, wineries, liquor stores, and bars. Any wine enthusiast would love the chance to try new wines.
Beer brewed in wine barrels: Instead of wine, how about a beer that’s brewed in wine barrels? Even if the wine lovers on your gift list aren’t into beer, they’re bound to appreciate the subtle (or in some cases not so subtle) tastes. Ask your craft beer store for recommendations on beers brewed in wine barrels. Allagash Interlude, Goose Island Madame Rose, and Other Half Brewing Red Wine Imperial Stout are just a few brews that hung out in wine barrels for a while.
Wine décor: If you’re a wine lover, you may just have some extra bottles and corks handy. These items can influence countless interesting craft ideas that could make a nice, inexpensive homemade gift. Or if you’re not too crafty, you can still find any type of home décor with a wine theme. Available for every price point, you can find something as inexpensive as wine-themed dish towels, coasters, candles, wine racks, and wine clocks.
Wine and paint art class: Sip-and-art events are gaining huge popularity. You don’t need any experience in art, but it’s a fun way to tap into your creative side while enjoying a glass of wine. Depending on the place, you either purchase wine through them or you can bring your own.
Magazine subscriptions: Opt for a wine magazine, such as Wine Enthusiast, Food and Wine, or Wine Spectator, to get tasting tips and learn about the latest wines.
Something functional: There are so many practical wine gadgets for every price range. Items such as wine charms (to avoid getting glasses mixed up), a wine opener (you can never have too many), or an electric corkscrew can always get good use. Something many wine lovers don’t think about until it’s too late is wine stain remover. This is something they probably wouldn’t buy themselves, but they’ll be happy to have it on hand if there’s an accident.