A gift guide to making spirits bright | AspenTimes.com

A gift guide to making spirits bright

For some, gifting comes naturally, for others it induces stress and anxiety: enter the copious amount of gift guides that are published this time of year.

Regardless of what holiday you observe, the time of year that stretches after Thanksgiving through Jan. 1 tends to be filled with celebrations that often call for presents, and what better gift to make spirits bright than, well, spirits.

So if you’re looking to give the gift of libations this year, here are some items that would be a joy to give or receive for any at-home bartender.

(Of note: All items found at Roaring Fork Valley stores.)

American Spoon Brandied Cherries, $14, Meat & Cheese

American Spoon Brandied Cherries
Courtesy American Spoon

Elevate your cherry game and put down the Red 40-dyed maraschino cherries of your childhood. You’re an adult now and deserve something better, specifically these American Spoon Brandied Cherries. Preserved in a thick brandy-spiked cherry syrup with vanilla and spices, these cherries don’t only take cocktails up a serious flavor notch (ahem, an old fashioned), they also pair perfectly with ice cream or spooned over holiday deserts such as cheesecake.

The Mini Craft Cocktail Set, $15, Meat & Cheese

The Mini Craft Cocktail Set
Courtesy W&P

It might be mini, but this gift packs a punch. The W&P Mini Craft Cocktail Set takes the heavy lifting out of mixing with three cocktail syrups — Moscow mule, old fashioned and spicy margarita — all you have to do is provide a shot of your favorite alcohol, stir and start sipping. The best part? Each 1oz bottle makes two cocktails, so this might be the prime gift to give to that special someone you’re looking to spend more quality time with.

The Real Dill Bloody Mary Mix, $14+, Found at grocery and liquor stores across the valley

The Real Dill Bloody Mary Mix
Courtesy The Real Dill

This bloody Mary mix is truly the real deal. By far my favorite bloody Mary mix, this would make the perfect hostess gift (bonus points if given with a locally made liquor). The mix is fresh, filled with dill flavor, made with only 10 ingredients and has, as of time of publication, 424 five-star reviews on The Real Dill website. Plus, this Colorado company is committed to giving back through its Charitable Partner Program and is a zero-food-waste company, so it’s a gift you can feel extra good about giving.

“Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails,” $25, Meat & Cheese/Explore Booksellers

“Shake: A New Perspective on Cocktails” by Eric Prum and Josh Williams
Courtesy W&P

For the person in your life who is trying to improve their home bartending skills but who maybe has yet to make a cocktail you’d like to try twice. Written by the same duo who made the Mini Cocktail Set, this instructional, photo-heavy cocktail guide is easy to follow, fun to flip through and filled with simple, tasty cocktail recipes for any occasion.

Wine Away, $10, Grape & Grain

Wine Away
Courtesy Wine Away

This one might seem like a strange gift, until you need it. Wine Away is basically sorcery in a spray bottle, and, as the name implies, removes every ounce of a wine stains from any surface. Both a cool party trick (I still can’t figure out how it works) and the most effective cleaning spray, Wine Away is a great gift for anyone who enjoys red wine in their glass and has a stain on their carpet.

Local spirits, various $$$, found in liquor stores valley-wide

Supporting a local business and giving a great gift? That’s what we call two for the price of one. The Roaring Fork Valley has no shortage of well-crafted, locally made beer and liquor: Woody Creek Distillers, Marble Distillery, Roaring Fork Brewery, Capitol Creek Brewery, Aspen Brewing Co./Made Here Beer … we are truly spoiled for choice. So, don’t hesitate to wrap up a six pack or a bottle of liquor, it’s the gift that keeps on giving glass after glass after glass.

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