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Cocktails

Your Last-Minute Boozy Christmas Gift Guide

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Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 6:00 AM

click to enlarge Champagne punch - D. SOLMONSON
  • D. Solmonson
  • Champagne punch
With only a day to go before Santa arrives, here are a few last-minute ideas for the booze lover in your life. From serious gifting to stocking stuffers, these selections are sure to please even the most picky cocktailian in your life.

click to enlarge Burrough's gin - 12 BOTTLE BAR
  • 12 Bottle Bar
  • Burrough's gin
8. Most Intriguing New Artisan Spirit: Beefeater Burrough's Reserve Oak Aged Gin

Desmond Payne, Beefeater's master distiller, nurtured this recipe, starting with the original Beefeater formula, then aging it in Lillet barrels, whose herbal-citrus profile adds a distinct perfume to the mixture. The product was painstakingly -- and rather secretly -- distilled in #12, one of James Burrough's original stills with a diminutive capacity of only 268 liters. The gin has a soft, golden color thanks to its rest in the Lillet casks. With its notes of vanilla and spice, this bottling -- which is meant to be sipped neat -- will be a revelation for any gin lover.

7. Most Intriguing Bar Tool: The Lewis Bag

When New Orleans bartender Chris McMillian, known for his skill with a mint julep, wants to make an impression, he pulls out a Lewis bag -- originally made as a bank coin-carrying bag -- loads it with ice, and proceeds to crack the ice while reciting "Ode to the Mint Julep." Histrionics aside, this is the be-all-end-all party conversation starter, and it makes great ice to boot. Cost: $4.95, yes, that's right. Well, plus about $12 California shipping.

click to enlarge Tom and Jerry gift set - D. SOLMONSON
  • D. Solmonson
  • Tom and Jerry gift set
6. Most Retro Bar Accessory: Tom and Jerry Set

Troll eBay or any local antiques store and you're likely to stumble upon one of these blasts from the past. Back at the turn of the century and well into the 1950s and '60s, the country was Tom and Jerry mad, preparing and serving up this eggnog punch in customized T & J punch bowls and glasses. The name of the drink has a fabulously sordid lineage, tracing its origins tracing back to between 1821 and 1835 and being inspired by the antics of Corinthian Tom as he acquainted his country cousin Jerry with the pleasures of city life, chronicled by sports writer Pearce Egan in his 1821 Life in London. All sorts of debauchery ensued in Egan's tale, not the least of it being the exploits of Jacco Maccacco, dog-fighting monkey. (Yes, really, look it up; don't take our word for it.) With the cocktail boom in full swing, there has never been a better time than now to revisit our naughty, bibulous Christmas past. Cost: Between $20 and $50, depending on the set.

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