I don’t really know any drinkers—whether they are wine connoisseurs or martini mavens—who don’t enjoy getting libation-related trinkets and treats as gifts. And, even if you don’t indulge in alcohol, you could still put a nice set of coasters or bottle stoppers to use, right?
Whether you use them to plug up wine vessels or to seal olive oil and vinegar bottles, BellaVitaBags.com has a terrific selection of bottle stoppers ($9.99-$13.99), as well as wine-bag chillers, bottle markers, openers and wine charms to help identify you and your guests’ wine glasses. I particularly enjoy the stiletto heel and fleur-de-lis bottle stoppers and wine charms.
We have coasters in pretty much every room of our house to help deflect water stains from our furniture. I really like the eight literary coasters I got from OutofPrintClothing.com, which depict iconic book covers such as Catch-22, On the Road, Lolita, Pride & Prejudice and Brave New World ($20).
I use Microplane graters all the time in the kitchen for grating, shredding, zesting and slicing. Well, Microplane now offers a tool designed especially for mixologists. The Microplane bartender’s garnishing tool ($19.95) features an integrated bottle opener, zester and garnishing blade, and it’s ergonomically designed to provide a firm grip, even with damp or wet hands.
I sure wouldn’t mind finding a bottle of Lucid Absinthe Supérieure ($59.99) poking out of my holiday stocking on Christmas morning. Lucid is the first absinthe legally available in the United States. in more than 95 years that contains real Grande Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium). Most products contain Southernwood or Southern Wormwood, and have a totally different flavor. While you’re at it, I recommend picking up a balancier ($29) from the Lucid store at DrinkLucid.com. The balancier drips cold water into an absinthe-filled glass and begins the louching process that readies the Lucid for proper consumption, reviving the spirit of the historic Parisian “Green Hour.” Fairies not included.
Here’s a stocking stuffer for someone who’s had a little too much Lucid or other holiday cheer. Forgiven Alcohol Metabolizer ($2.99) claims to provide nutrients, minerals and organic acids to help break down the by-products of alcohol consumption. It’s natural and chemical-free, and tastes like punch mixed with multivitamins. I can’t testify to the effectiveness of Forgiven, but it’s loaded with B vitamins, and that probably can’t hurt on the morning after.
Ready for a splurge? One of the most knowledgeable wine geeks I know—and one who doesn’t generally favor gimmicky wine accessories and implements—swears by the Coravin. What’s a Coravin? Well, it a tool that functions as both a bottle opener/wine pouring and wine preservation system. A thin needle pierces the foil and the wine cork, leaving the cork in place. The wine is extracted and poured out through the needle while the Coravin simultaneously replaces the displaced wine with pressurized argon, an inert gas. When the needle is removed, the cork reseals itself.
Obviously, the Coravin only works with natural corks, not twist-off caps or synthetic corks. The result is that you can have a glass of your most prized wine, come back to it a year later, and it will be totally preserved, without degradation—although the wine will continue to age and mature naturally in the bottle.
Coravin has won acclaim from the likes of Jancis Robinson, Robert Parker, restaurateur/winemaker Joe Bastianich and many others. The bad news: it’s also $299. But, if you have valuable wines in your cellar and would like to taste them over time, the Coravin is a worthy splurge.