Holiday Gift Guide: Stuff It Real Good (the stocking stuffer gift guide)

You’re going to need a bigger stocking this year.

Remember, bottles of booze fit nicely into stockings. As do magazines (about booze), gummy bears (filled with booze) and cocktail kits (for making booze). Up your cocktail party cachet with some boozy playing cards, and don’t forget the fancy glassware! Pineapples are still a thing, so throw a couple of shot glasses in that stocking. Infused ice cubes fit too! And maybe a key chain that yells I like fancy drinks!

1. Cocktail Hour Playing Cards 2. Fancy Drink Key Chain 3. Ardbeg Uigeadail Single Malt Scotch 4. Pineapple Shot Glasses 5. Imbibe Magazine (click for more details and a super subscription price!) 6. Stainless Steel Cocktail Picks 7. Homemade Gin Kit 8. Baby Champagne Gummy Bears 9. Saturn Rocks Glass 10. Veuve Clicquot Paris Arrow Bottle 11. Vincent Bartender’s Hand Salve 12. Hot Toddy Cocktail Kit 13. Herb & Lou’s Infused Ice Cubes

 

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

Cucumber Seas Cocktail

Cucumber Seas Cocktail with Thatcher's Organic Cucumber Liqueur // stirandstrain.comThis post is brought to you by Thatcher’s Organic Artisan Spirits. Recipes and ideas are my own.

Several years ago, when I was still working at a 9 to 5 job, I flew into Chicago for a boring conference. This was one of those conferences that not only had a floor devoted to awkward introductions and sweaty handshakes, but hours and hours of mandatory workshops. After 4 days I was exhausted in every way, but, thankfully I lopped on an extra day for sightseeing—I had never been to Chicago before.

Cucumber Seas Cocktail with Thatcher's Organic Cucumber Liqueur // stirandstrain.comRight before I had left for the trip a coworker, who was born and raised in the Chicago area, told me I should check out the miniatures over at the Art Institute. I didn’t have time to do any research about what I’d find there prior to leaving, so it was going to be a surprise. I ended up booking a hotel about two blocks from the AI and since I am always keen to check out some art (I got that BA in art history you know…) I decided that I’d take some “me” time and stroll on over there. And it was AMAZING.

Cucumber Seas Cocktail with Thatcher's Organic Cucumber Liqueur // stirandstrain.comGuys, I have a secret to tell you all: I LOVE manufactured environments. Disneyland, Vegas, countless restored houses in New England I frequented as a child, and these tiny miniature rooms…  This might be why I chose to make dioramas for all my book reports when that was an option (see list here). I’m sure someone out there could psychoanalyze why but who cares?

Today I’m taking that idea of the small, magical environment and turning it towards cocktails. Recently I stumbled upon these really unique cocktail glasses made by Czech designer Martin Jakobsen and it was love at first sight. The shapes and stylings had the gears in my brain turning at high speed: what to make first?

Cucumber Seas Cocktail with Thatcher's Organic Cucumber Liqueur // stirandstrain.comI loved how these looked like terrariums and my mind wandered towards air plants and sea grasses. And cucumbers. Not sea cucumbers mind you, but just the regular guys you see at the market. I had recently received a bottle of Thatcher’s Organic Cucumber Liqueur and had developed a recipe using shiso and coconut milk. The dreamy liquid seemed to me the perfect base to display inside the globular glass and using the green elements from the drink, I could create my own little world in a cocktail.

The cucumber liqueur has a perfectly light and sweet taste that married well with the coconut milk. Together they create a slightly creamy cocktail with a tart, floral and subtle cucumber flavor. I chose a pinch of hibiscus salt for balance in the finish. The hibiscus gives another layer of floral to the nose and just a touch of bitterness. To make the sea grass garnish in the globe, I dehydrated cucumber peels at 200°F for 15 minutes in the oven. The effect is purely aesthetic but I do love the smell of dried cucumber too.

Cucumber Seas Cocktail with Thatcher's Organic Cucumber Liqueur // stirandstrain.comAnd guys, you don’t need these little globe cocktail glasses to make the drink. A double rocks glass will do just fine too.

Thatcher’s Organic Artisan Spirits are right up my alley. They use all natural, sustainably farmed, organic ingredients all made in small batches by people—not machines. I invite you to check out their Cucumber Liqueur and their entire product line at thatchersorganic.com.

Now let’s get shaking!

1-1/2 ounces vodka
1 ounce Thatcher’s Organic Cucumber Liqueur
2 shiso leaves
1/2 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup (1:1 ratio)
3/4 ounce coconut milk
Hibiscus salt and cucumber slices for garnish

In the bottom of a shaker, muddle the shiso leaves with lime juice. Add in ice 2/3 up the shaker and then pour in the vodka, Thatcher’s Organic Cucumber Liqueur, simple syrup and coconut leaves. Shake hard for 20 seconds and double strain into a rocks glass with ice. Garnish with cucumber slices and hibiscus salt.

Cucumber Seas Cocktail with Thatcher's Organic Cucumber Liqueur // stirandstrain.com

*For more info on sponsored products, affiliate links, and gifted booze, please visit the About page.

Source It: Glassware Love

I’ve gotten a couple comments lately on the glassware that I use in my shoots and I thought now is as good a time as any to elaborate on that.

Every time I visit a vintage store I have dreams of walking in and finding all sorts of mid-century tumblers and goblets and what-have-you, all with a reasonable price tag. Reality is that I’ve NEVER had that happen. I’m either disappointed with the selection (my Nana might love it) and/or the price tags are outrageous. I want to drink out of the glass, not lock it up in a curio cabinet.

This perfect combination of stock and reasonable price tags does though exist. I’ve found it through Etsy. Although you have to sift through a lot of what you don’t want, there is a large selection of what I DO want.

Below are some selections from the site of just the type of vintage barware you can find, without hefty price tags. Besides glassware, I’m also collecting vintage bar shakers that I hope to one day use/display when we finish our home bar.

1 & 2 are from my own Etsy purchases. 3-6 are a couple of choices I picked out to share from Etsy. Click for links to their pages. All photos from Etsy sellers.

{Etsy had no bearing on this post whatsoever. All content of my own choosing. Just FYI.}