Stuff those stockings, deck the tree, win at secret Santa or just rule the holidays by giving the gift of booze and drink accessories. Colorado is known for amazing beer, but we also have killer distilleries and artists making an assortment of bar-worthy goods perfect for wrapping up and putting under the tree. From the best Bloody Mary mix to unique glasses to liquors one can cherish all winter, these ten items are sure to make someone happy.
1. Alpine Manhattan Kit by DRAM Apothecary
What's better than cozying up fireside with a glass of bourbon in your hand? Not much, which is why this Alpine Manhattan set by DRAM Apothecary is a great gift for the cocktail lover in your life. It comes with the company's handcrafted black bitters, brandied cherries and special pine syrup, a product that's made in Silver Plume from foraged fresh pine needles. The set even includes a recipe card in the box, so all you need is some booze, and your drink kit is set. Each box runs $36 and can be purchased online at dramapothecary.com.
2. Beer, Wine, & Spirit Drinker's Guide to Colorado
For that person on your list who loves beer, wine and booze, this 240-page guide on where to go and try local tipples is worth the $22.95. Not only is it a great way to keep a list of where you have been and where you would like to go, but the guide comes with a packet of coupons as well. And it's a great gift for couples and BFFs, because you can join your friend, husband or co-worker on some of these spirited jaunts. Order online at drinkingcolorado.com or look for the book at many retailers across the state, including the Boulder Bookstore, Hugo's Colorado Beer & Spirits and the Tattered Cover shops.
3. Bloody Mary Box by the Real Dill
If you know a bruncher who loves Bloody Marys, this gift box by the Real Dill is a must. One reason: The company makes some of the best Bloody Mary mix around, using a secret recipe involving lots of pickling liquid and fresh herbs. The second reason you need to get this is because not only does it come with two 32-ounce jars of the mix, which means enough to share, but also a jar of habanero horseradish dills with which to garnish your drinks. The gift box is $49.95, and if you order it online from therealdill.com, shipping is free. You can also find the set at purveyors such as Cheese+Provisions, Savory Spice Shop and St. Kilian's Cheese Shop, though it's best to call in advance to make sure kits are in stock.
4. Colorado Beetle-Kill Wood Bottle Topper by JC Custom Works
Show your love for Colorado and wine by giving this handcrafted wine topper made from beetle-kill wood. Artist Jason "Elroy" Collins whips up these lovely bar accessories and, whether you order online at jccustomdesignworks.com or find him at one of various pop-up markets, he lets you pick from his selection. Each $18 piece fits inside most liquor bottles, so you can use it with any tipple from your collection.
5. Colorado Gin by Woody Creek Distillers
While Woody Creek Distillers in Basalt is known for its potato vodka, the company also makes a mean gin that is sure to win Christmas. Dubbed Colorado gin, this spirit uses the aforementioned potato vodka as a base and then spikes it with locally harvested juniper berries, fresh lemongrass, coriander, cinnamon, angelica, hibiscus, lavender, cranberries, grains of paradise, fresh orange and lemon peel and a hint of lime. Sound like a lot? Don't worry: The spirit comes together in an oh-so-smooth-you-can-sip-it way. Purchase it for around $40 a bottle at most quality liquor stores in your area.
6. Citrus Clove Liqueur from Distillery 291
Something about the cold weather and holidays makes us want to sip a warming, spiced drink, and the Decc by Distillery 291 proves a perfect option. This 70-proof liqueur gets its flavor from clove simple syrup and citrus peels, a technique that gives the beverage a slight sticky, sweet and after-dinner-treat sort of appeal. Buy a bottle for your grandpa, that friend who loves to throw back a dram of spirits after skiing, or for any bartender in your life, professional or not. Let them have some fun with this unique Colorado Springs tipple.
7. Maryland-Style Rye Whiskey by Leopold Bros.
You can't go the season without a little whiskey, and this fruity and floral batch by the Denver-based distillery works winter wonders. Gift a bottle of Maryland-style rye and have your booze aficionado swoon. It's not a commonly found spirit, so this mild and flavorful whiskey will surely be appreciated. You can find it in most quality liquor stores, or head to the distillery for a $44.99 bottle as well as a tasting of all the other unique spirits Leopold Bros. makes. Just think of that latter part as a holiday gift for yourself. Just go get it soon: The whiskey is released each November, and it always sells out.
8. Mountain Bike Print Pint Glasses by Vital Industries
Three things Colorado is known for are mountains, beer and biking. If this describes the life of anyone you know, then the mountain-bike printed pint glasses by Vital Industries are a great gift option. The image proves simple and clean, but what you choose to pour into these charming $12 glasses is up to you. Choose from various colors such as moss, charcoal, navy blue or red clay, to name a few. Each vessel gets screenprinted by hand right in Denver, and the goods ship from the Vital studio. Order a set from vitalindustries.com, and when you give the present, think about throwing in a six-pack of seasonal suds from one of our local breweries, too.
9. Honey Vodka by Spring 44
This vodka is made with water that's literally pure as the driven snow — the snow that melts in Colorado’s Buckhorn Canyon, that is. You can taste the quality, too, and the honey vodka gets a lovely kick of sweetness, perfect for adding to a cup of hot tea, sipping straight or, once the weather starts to warm up again, sprucing up a lemonade. Hopefully the person you give it to will savor it that long, but we wouldn't be surprised if it's gone by February. Made in Loveland, the honey vodka also has notes of fragrant vanilla, lavender and toasted nuts. You can find Spring 44 all over the state, including Argonaut Wine and Liquor, Gunbarrel Liquor in Boulder and Highlands Wine and Liquor; it retails for around $23.
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10. Wooden Martini Glasses by David Rasmussen Design
Why drink out of boring old glasses when you can sport a crafty wooden martini goblet instead? Of all the glassware you can get your honey this holiday season, these sleek, wood-grained beauties really stand out. Each sharp-looking martini vessel runs $61 and comes with your choice of a white, black, green, blue or orange glass stem. Because David Rasmussen works out of Carbondale, the easiest way for a metro-area resident to get the goods is to order them online at davidrasmussendesign.com.