Holiday Gift Guide: Last Minute Boozy Subscriptions & Deliveries

Chances are you going to forget someone on your list. Here’s a helpful guide to making sure you get them something by Christmas day. Better make it boozy!

Vinyl Me, Please
First up, forget about Netflix and chill. Wine and records is where it’s at. Vinyl Me, Please has partnered with Vine Box to create the ultimate bundle: Two Nights of Music and Wine. You get two albums and 6 glasses of wine. You bring the crackling fire. This deal is only around until December 18th so you’ll want to jump on this deal NOW.

SaloonBox
If your relatives can’t be trusted to buy good booze and never have any ingredients to work with, SaloonBox is for them. Everything is included in these kits and delivered to their doorstep. Sign up for a subscription or browse their selection of bar tools, you’ll be sure to find the perfect gift.

Shaker & Spoon
If your house is full of good booze, but you get stuck making the same drinks over and over, Shaker & Spoon should be the gift you give yourself. Every month you can get 3 recipes curated by top bartenders with all the ingredients to make up to 12 drinks (minus the booze). That’s a lot of good cocktails!

Flaviar
If you just want booze, or even, rare, hard to find, or smaller unknown brands, Flaviar has introduced an online speakeasy for just this reason. You get personalized recommendations and a FREE tasting box. And again, it’s being shipped to your doorstep, so no need for pants.

Robb Vices
Chances are there is someone on your list with fancy tastes, but who wants to figure out what to get them? Have Robb Vices do that instead. Each month there is a curated box filled with luxury items and usually booze. Maybe one month it’s a scorpion lollipop. Another month it could be specially designed whiskey drinking glasses. Regardless, it will be fancy and cool.

Cocktail Courier
Choose what cocktail you’d like, or pick one from their extensive list of drinks, Cocktail Courier will get that to your doorstep ASAP. If you’re thinking about having a holiday party this year and need help at the bar, they can even deliver a bartender to you. Holiday drinking is so easy this year!

 

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

Giveaway // Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers & Cocktail Books!

Giveaway: Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers and Cocktail Books // stirandstrain.comDo you find yourself with not enough time to make your own yummy cocktail mixers because you’ve been inundated with holiday office parties/yule log cutting parties/tree singing soirées/ etc and so on? Me too.

So, I’m stepping in to save you from chugging that bourbon alone for this week’s giveaway. We’ve teamed up with Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers to offer THREE lucky Stir and Strain readers a 3-pack variety of mixers including their Lemongrass Ginger Sauvignon Blanc, Blood Orange Muscat, and Hibiscus Grenache. And, because you can’t show up to a holiday party empty handed (and you’re keeping the mixers to yourself), here at Stir and Strain we’re giving away a surprise cocktail book to each winner as well! Take it to the party, leave it at the White Elephant table, gift it to drunk uncle Frank… it’s up to you what you want to do with the books. You could, of course, keep it for yourself as well.

The StirAndStrain.com BookshelfStolen Fruit does not have anything to do with the legality of the product, FYI. The “stolen fruit” refers to the blend of verjus – the fresh pressed juice from green grapes – varietal grape juice, and grape skins that make up the base of the mixers. Then they’ve added in fresh, unique ingredients for a mixer that is great with any kind of booze, or if you’re not into the hard stuff, sparkling water or seltzer. It’s the perfect bottle to keep on hand when the holidays get hectic and you just.need.a.drink. But one that tastes good and you don’t regret.

Giveaway: Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers and Cocktail Books // stirandstrain.comReady to mix it up? Enter below and get up to 12 entries to win. Remember, THREE of you are going to get a 3-pack AND a book (Open to US residents only). Giveaway ends at 11:59pm PST Tuesday December 13th, 2016. For more information on Stolen Fruit, check out their website at www.stolenfruit.com! Good luck!

AND! Stolen Fruit is offering FREE SHIPPING from now until December 20 with code stir16 (all lowercase). YAY!

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Peppermint Mocha S’Mores Cocktails with brown-butter bourbon and marshmallow creme

Peppermint Mocha S'Mores Cocktails with Brown-Butter Bourbon and Brûléed Marshmallow Creme // stirandstrain.com

This post is brought to you by Jackson Morgan Southern Cream. Recipes and ideas are my own.

Don’t ever let someone tell you s’mores are only for summer. Can you get your hands on a kitchen blow torch? Yes? Then you’ve got a reason to have s’mores all year round.

Peppermint Mocha S'Mores Cocktails with Brown-Butter Bourbon and Brûléed Marshmallow Creme // stirandstrain.comToday though we’re going to be drinking our s’mores! Holiday style!

Peppermint Mocha S'Mores Cocktails with Brown-Butter Bourbon and Brûléed Marshmallow Creme // stirandstrain.comWe’re back at the bar mixing it up with Jackson Morgan and their delicious, and very holiday appropriate, Peppermint Mocha Cream. I always associate peppermint and chocolate with Christmas time. It’s about the only time of year I bake something with that flavor profile because there is always a party I can bring them to. See, you are either a lover or a hater of that flavor combo. I, obviously, am a lover. My husband on the other hand…. Let’s just say if I make some Grasshopper Brownies and don’t have a reason to bring them out of the house, I am probably consuming that whole pan by myself. I’d tell you I would regret it, but I’d be lying.

Peppermint Mocha S'Mores Cocktails with Brown-Butter Bourbon and Brûléed Marshmallow Creme // stirandstrain.comThis is also perfect for holiday time because it’s pretty decadent. When are you infusing browned butter into whiskey and topping your cocktails with marshmallow creme? During the holidays, when all bets are off. So let’s talk about what is going into this s’mores cocktail. First, Peppermint Mocha Cream, of course. Next takes a little prepping but it’s worth it for the final result and you also get extra to just chug straight if you choose: brown-butter infused bourbon. This gives the cocktail a subtle nutty, buttery component that you’d get from the graham cracker. And a s’mores cocktail wouldn’t be complete without marshmallows! I’m giving you an easy way and a homemade way to do this in the recipe below. Both will work but honestly, making your own version of marshmallow Fluff is dang easy!

Peppermint Mocha S'Mores Cocktails with Brown-Butter Bourbon and Brûléed Marshmallow Creme // stirandstrain.comYou might think that the consistency would be very thick and rich tasting, but the brown-butter bourbon cuts through the peppermint mocha cream for a nice balance. Served over ice the cocktail goes down very smooth and the peppermint is not quite as strong as it is on its own. Torching the marshmallow creme binds it together a bit so you can pop off pieces from the top while sipping on your drink. It’s like you have your own bar snack you don’t have to share.

Peppermint Mocha S'Mores Cocktails with Brown-Butter Bourbon and Brûléed Marshmallow Creme // stirandstrain.comSome notes on the cocktail:

  • I’ve made the recipe for one but this easily doubles and batches well.
  • The brown-butter bourbon yields 16 ounces (2 cups) so there is plenty left over if you are going to batch multiple drinks.
  • The topping is marshmallow creme, not marshmallows. The marshmallow creme has a soft consistency and therefore easily piped.
  • If you are torching the marshmallow creme, use heat proof glassware. Even kitchen torches get quite hot and I don’t want to be held responsible if you explode your favorite vintage glass.

Peppermint Mocha S'Mores Cocktails with Brown-Butter Bourbon and Brûléed Marshmallow Creme // stirandstrain.comFor the cocktail:

3 ounces Jackson Morgan Peppermint Mocha Creme
2 ounces brown-butter infused bourbon
marshmallow creme (I made this recipe from The Kitchn, but store bought Fluff will work as well)
graham cracker for garnish

In a shaker filled 2/3 with ice, add in the Jackson Morgan Peppermint Mocha Creme and brown-butter infused bourbon. Shake well for 20 seconds and then strain into a heat-proof glass or mug filled with fresh ice. Pipe marshmallow creme on top. Using a kitchen torch,brûlée the marshmallow creme to desired “doneness’ (I like mine lightly toasted but I know some of you probably like your s’more’s marshmallows burnt to a crisp). Garnish with a graham cracker square.

For the brown-butter bourbon:

*Adapted slightly from Gabriella Mlynarczyk for NYT Cooking

16 ounces bourbon
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter

  • Pour bourbon into a wide mouth jar or heat-proof container. Cut butter into cubes and add to a heavy-bottom small saucepan over medium-low heat. You’ll need to watch the pan as the butter will go from being nutty and golden to burnt pretty fast. Watch for the butter to start to foam and stir until you see some brown flecks on the bottom of the pan. At this point you’ll smell a nutty aroma, like hazelnuts. Remove the pan from the heat. Let cool for a minute and then pour into the bourbon. Whisk together until well incorporated and let sit at room temperature for one hour. Then refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.
  • The fat will separate from the bourbon while it cools. Use a butter knife to loosen the edge of the fat and it should pop right out of the container. Then strain bourbon through a coffee filter to remove any additional fat solids and debris from the butter. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Holiday Gift Guide: Wine Lovaaaahhhhhh

Whether you’re a Level IV Sommelier or just like mixing your red wine with coke, this guide’s for you!

Holiday Gift Guide: Wine Lovaaaahhhhh!!!! // stirandstrain.com

OK, let’s talk glassware. You can get it fancy (it says so on the glass), or save yourself the trouble and just get some unbreakable glasses (they look so REAL). Or if you just can’t be bothered, you can just attach your glass to the bottle. For your fanciest wine peeps, grab some copper, or a fancy decanter, or maybe a book on the wine regions of Argentina. And what’s the best wine gift of all? Wine. Sent to your home. Every month.

1. Twist Wine Decanter 2. Stay Fancy Wine Glass 3. Wine Glass Bottle Topper 4. Unbreakable Wine Glass 5. Wine Tasting T-Shirt 6. Argentina Wine Book 7. Wino Wine Bag 8. Winc Wine Subscription (Use this link for a free bottle of wine!) 9. Copper Wine/Ice Bucket

 

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

{Now Closed} Giveaway // Cocktail Crate X Stark Spirits

Giveaway: Cocktail Crate & Stark Spirits Gift Pack // stirandstrain.comIf last week was rough, then hopefully we can help out with this week’s giveaway. It’s a battle of East Coast versus West Coast, sort of. We’ve teamed up with Cocktail Crate (from New York) and Stark Spirits (California) to offer one lucky Stir and Strain reader a super giveaway package.

What’s in the package you ask? Cocktail Crate is giving you a full bottle each of their Maple Whiskey Sour, Ginger Bee, and Grapefruit Daiquiri craft mixers. Stark Spirits is shipping you a full bottle of their Sunshine Orange Brandy. With this combo any holiday blues will be whisked away.

Giveaway: Cocktail Crate & Stark Spirits Gift Pack // stirandstrain.comSo let us ease your holiday stress with helping you make some delicious and easy cocktails. Ready to enter? Click below and receive up to 10 entries (Open to US residents 21+ only). Giveaway ends at 11:59pm PST Monday December 5th, 2016. For more information on Cocktail Crate, check out their website at cocktailcrate.com and Stark Spirits at starkspirits.com for the entire line up of products today! Good luck!

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Holiday Gift Guide: Black and White and Booze All Over

It’s Black Friday. You have a lot of choices when it comes to impulse buying for the holidays. Thank you for visiting Stir and Strain.

Let the Holiday Guides Begin…

Holiday Gift Guide: Black and White and Booze All Over // stirandstrain.com

It IS beginning to look like cocktails. So let’s make some. Break out the vodka tonics for Mom and Dad. And don’t forget the coasters. Still stuffed from all that turkey? Muddle up something with fruit and tell yourself it will make you feel better. And then go shopping, just not at 5am.

1. Gun metal black strainer 2. Marble coasters 3. Cocktail print 4. Geometric straws 5. “Bad Ass” muddler 6. Our/Los Angeles vodka 7. Black growler 8. Q Tonic

What You Should Be Drinking on Thanksgiving

I’m not one to tell you guys what to do, but if you’re looking for something to make this week for your holiday table, here are a few suggestions! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Smoky Sage Punch // stirandstrain.com

Smoky Sage Punch

Cranberry Black Pepper Shrub Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Cranberry-Black Pepper Shrub Cocktails

Smoked Rosemary Rum Punch // stirandstrain.com

Smoked-Rosemary Rum Punch

9 Ladies Dancing Scotch Punch // stirandstrain.com

9 Ladies Dancing Scotch Punch

Savory Lemon Suze Sparkling Cocktail // stirandstrain.com

Lemony Suze Sparkling Pitcher Cocktails

Spiced Pumpkin Bourbon // stirandstrain.com

Pumpkin Spiced Bourbon

Sparkling Pomegranate Caipirinha // stirandstrain.com

Sparkling Pomegranate Caipirinha

Maple Blueberry Sparkling Cocktails //stirandstrain.com

Maple Blueberry Sparkling Cocktails

Maple Blueberry Sparkling Cocktails

Maple Blueberry Sparkling Cocktails //stirandstrain.comThis post is brought to you by the US Highbush Blueberry Council.
Recipes and ideas are my own.

The time you spend making cocktails during holiday time should be greatly less than the time spent on enjoying them with friends and loved ones. During this season (roughly September through early January now), I am a huge fan of big batched cocktails. So this week, with just a few days left before Thanksgiving descends upon us, I’ve brought out a little help from my favorite berry to mix up something tasty for you all. No, not the cranberry, the blueberry.

Maple Blueberry Sparkling Cocktails //stirandstrain.comWe are a family that consumes blueberries in very large quantities. If you ask my kid what is her favorite food, or pretty much what her favorite anything is (she’s two and is still working out the intricacies of the English language), she will say blueberries. We are lucky here in Southern California that we can get them at the market for a selfishly long time, and then when those are gone, we hit up the frozen section. Going without them is just not an option. Blueberries have a lovely balance of sweetness and sour that is always key in a good cocktail. Pair them with your cheeseboard, drink this with the main meal, or just enjoy it after all your guests finally leave. It’s up to you, but, really, this works anytime.

Maple Blueberry Sparkling Cocktails //stirandstrain.comThis cocktail combines blueberries, maple syrup, lemons, and sparkling wine for a super easy to make and party pleasing cocktail. I love this recipe for two reasons. One, it’s easy to batch and the base will keep for some time. And two, that leftover syrup makes for some darn tasty pancake topping. Score!

Maple Blueberry Sparkling Cocktails //stirandstrain.comFor my cocktail recipe and lots more blueberry holiday inspiration, please visit the US Highbush Blueberry Council here.

Maple Blueberry Sparkling Cocktails //stirandstrain.com



{Now Closed} Giveaway // Shaker & Spoon Gincember Box

Giveaway: Shaker & Spoon Gincember Box // stirandstrain.comIt’s the most wonderful time of the year! Gincember! Just what is that you ask? Well, it’s all about gin cocktails… in December, duh.

We’ve teamed up with Shaker & Spoon this week to celebrate all things gin and offer one lucky Stir and Strain reader a free cocktail kit box! So, what’s in the box? Everything to make up to 12 cocktails from 3 recipes they provide (minus the booze). By letting you pick out your own booze, or to use what you have on hand, they’re able to send the box to EVERYONE in the U.S.

Giveaway: Shaker & Spoon Gincember Box // stirandstrain.comHere’s what Shaker & Spoon has to say about their Gincember Box:

Just in time for the glorious holiday season, it’s our Gincember Box! Modern gin is bright with lovely astringent qualities and pairs uncommonly well with fruits and herbs, which has allowed us to pack some bold flavors into this month’s recipes. Whether you’re a gin fanatic or have never really delved into the spirit before, this box will have something exciting to offer. We ask you to set those martinis and gin & tonics aside for the moment and allow us to introduce you to some new possibilities that really let gin’s character shine through.

There’s the Take Flight, by Kyle Zimmerman of The Hutch in Oklahoma City. Made with gin, cold brew (which Kyle says is “one of the best products to get me through long shifts behind the bar”), and our cherry demerara syrup, we can’t think of a better pick-me-up!

Next is Above a Persimmon by Tyler Hudgens of The Dabney in DC. The combination of gin, fresh lemon juice, our spiced persimmon cordial, and Angostura bitters is only made more seasonally delicious when we top it all off with fresh grated nutmeg.

Last on the menu is the Flaming Rosemary Gimlet by Keith Waldbauer of Rumba in Seattle. The perfect gimlet becomes just a touch more perfect (if that’s possible) when we take a fresh sprig of rosemary, douse it in Underberg, and light it on fire!

Giveaway: Shaker & Spoon Gincember Box // stirandstrain.comCoffee, persimmons, nutmeg, LIGHTING THINGS ON FIRE! It’s like the perfect holiday all wrapped up in a little box and delivered to your doorstep.

Giveaway: Shaker & Spoon Gincember Box // stirandstrain.comIf that’s gotten you fired up, enter now! You’ll get up to 10 entries by selecting the options below. Giveaway ends at 11:59pm PST Monday November 21st, 2016. For more information on Shaker & Spoon, check out their website at shakerandspoon.com today! Good luck!

Giveaway: Shaker & Spoon Gincember Box // stirandstrain.com

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Holiday Entertaining Tips: What to Do With Leftover Wine

Entertaining Tips: Banfi Wine Ice Cubes // stirandstrain.comThis post is brought to you by Banfi Wine. Recipes and ideas are my own.

Of all the holidays over fall and winter, I’d say that Thanksgiving is the holiday where we drink the most wine. Maybe it’s because we’re matching all that food that is being shoveled down our gullets, or maybe it’s always a thoughtful gift to bring to the party. Inevitably, after the meal, and the dessert, and that second meal at 1am, there are always a few stray bottles that have just a little too much wine left in them to finish off standing over the sink. So what to do?

This holiday season I’m going to give you guys a few quick and dirty tips to make entertaining easy for you. First up: leftover wine, because it happens.

Entertaining Tips: Banfi Wine Ice Cubes // stirandstrain.comThere’s a pretty easy solution that probably has never crossed your mind: freeze it into ice cubes. Because wine has a low alcohol proof and is made of a higher percentage of water, it will freeze. Now, it will never get a solid as an ice cube, but it will freeze and hold a shape. I would suggest freezing the wine for a full 48 hours before use, and to store in the ice cube trays (I like these big guys). You might want to cover with plastic wrap as well so the wine will not brush off onto other items in your freezer.

Entertaining Tips: Banfi Wine Ice Cubes // stirandstrain.comI used Banfi Wine’s Bell’Agio Rosso Dolce for my ice cubes. This Lambrusco is a sweet red wine that is a perfect match for your holiday table. The sweetness of the wine is a nice addition in ice cube form when mixing up drinks so you won’t need much (or any) added sugar.

And just how should you use up those wine ice cubes? Here’s a few ideas for you all:

  • Instant Sangria: slice up some oranges and apples, add a wine ice cube and give the whole thing a generous splash of sparkling water. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • Wine spiked cocktails: wine ice cube + liquor (gin, whiskey, rum) + a slice of lemon or orange = tasty.
  • Wine granitas: instead of freezing in an ice cube tray, add the wine to small ramekins (like these), give a good spritz of lemon juice, a scant teaspoon of sugar, mix and freeze. After a few hours give it a stir, then do the same again a few hours later. When frozen to the consistency you desire, take them out and eat right from the ramekin. YUM!

Entertaining Tips: Banfi Wine Ice Cubes // stirandstrain.comDo you have a trick for using leftover wine? Leave your ideas in the comments below!

For more information on Banfi wine and the Bell’Agio Rosso Dolce Lambrusco, please visit their site at banfiwines.com!

Florals generously donated by BloomsyBox.com