12 Days of Dappered #2 – Altered Liquor

No, you're not Shanghaiing the recipient.

It’ll be here before you know it. Our annual 12 days of Dappered gift guide covers one item/idea each week-day for the next dozen days. All will be reasonably affordable, and at the same time they should (hopefully) appeal to someone who might drop on by this corner of the internet. So if you’re looking for ideas on what to give a decently dressed (yet budget conscious) fellow, or, if you’ve got friends/family struggling for ideas on what to get someone (you) who’s hard to buy for, check back in as this year’s 12 Days churns on. You’ll also find the growing archive here.

With the exception of Teetotalers (much respect to you guys), receiving a bottle of good liquor as a gift is almost always welcome. For the sit and sip crowd, it’s a little like giving an experience along with a thing, since usually the top shelf stuff is enjoyed slowly while reading a book, or over conversation with a good friend, etc… But in the end, you just went to the store and grabbed a bottle of something. Consider putting a (very) little extra effort into it, and this year give your boozing friend a custom bottle of something you either cooked up, or they cooked up themselves.

 

Suggestion #1: Infuse some Cheap Booze with more Flavor

Old Crow orange peel fig and cloveOld Crow getting infused with a healthy dose of Fig, Orange Peel, and some cloves

Infusing liquor is extremely easy. Take a cheap, but not totally garbage bottle of a basic spirit like Vodka, Bourbon (Old Crow works great), or Tequilla, chop some stuff up that won’t go to hell over time, combine in a clean jar, and let it sit. After a couple weeks check in via taste test. Once the liquor has taken on the flavors of whatever you put in the jar, filter through a strainer + cheese cloth into a clean bottle or jar. Label it, and gift away. If you know a pal has a certain preference for a mid-shelf whiskey, splurge a little on that and add some spice and fruit to it. Dickel’s #12 works extremely well with Apricots + a little bit of honey, or, Figs + Orange Peel + a pinch or two of whole cloves.

 

Suggestion #2: Let them Age their Favorite Cocktail

Cocktail Barrel Aging KitBarrel in a bottle. Behold the charred American Oak barrel stave

Barrel Aged Cocktails have been a hit both in bars and on the shelf in some areas, but you can do this on your own at home if you’ve got the right gear. And by gear… a glass jar of some kind and a charred piece of wood (but, the right kind of wood, right? Hopefully?).

Many of us were exposed to this home-cocktail aging thing first via Bespoke Post (and they’re carrying that box once again). But if you don’t need or want the tumblers from that box, you can get a stripped down version over here for $12.50. Extra charred barrel staves are $10 for a three pack over here. If the recipient has been extra “good” this year, grab some top shelf ingredients for that cocktail*, like a good Vermouth, and add that to their gift.

*Note: This should be obvious, but, don’t age cocktails that’ll spoil over time. So, no White Russians. Try not to kill anyone. And if you do, we’re not at fault. Sorry.