The holiday party season is upon us. When you are invited to someone’s home for a holiday party, it’s customary to bring a small gift as a token of appreciation. A host or hostess gift does not have to be expensive, but it should be thoughtful.
If you are bringing a bottle of wine or spirit (and of course we suggest that you do) don’t expect it to be shared with you and the other guests. Avoid bringing a bottle of something you love or that you have been longing to try; you’ll probably end up disappointed when it’s sitting unwrapped and unopened for the duration of the party. The host/hostess gift is meant for your hosts to enjoy on their own.
Perhaps you know a bit about what the host/hostess likes when it comes to wine and spirits. If you have something to go on – such as, they always order Chardonnay when you are out, or they only drink red and love big, bold flavors, or that their favorite cocktail is a Manhattan – then talk to your retailer about these clues and they will help you find the perfect party gift. Don’t forget to mention your budget and please don’t say, ‘just something good’. There are good wines at every price point and it does not help your salesperson if you’re so vague.
If you know nothing about what your host/hostess chooses to imbibe, fear not. Here are a few ideas that are fitting to present at any holiday party occasion:
“Pleasure without Champagne is purely artificial.” – Oscar Wilde
Champagne Montaudon France NV ($34.99) – You really can’t find a better Champagne (yes, from Champagne France and made in the traditional Champagne method) for less than $40. Montaudon is a traditional Champagne house from the main city of Champagne, Reims. Your hosts can toast the elegant pear and nutty flavors or, frankly, re-gift it if (for some ludicrous reason) they don’t drink bubbles.
“Either give me wine or leave me alone.” – Rumi
Poe Nouveau Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2015 ($24.99) – If you are going to bring a bottle of red, keep it unique and make it special. This Pinot Noir is made in the tradition of Beaujolais Nouveau and released on the third Thursday of November. The idea is to celebrate the new vintage and the wine is young, fun, fruity, and delicious. It only comes out once a year and not a lot of it is made, so it will stand out amongst the bottles of large production Cabernet that are likely to be gifted by other guests.
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.” – Mark Twain
Ridgemont Reserve 1792 Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey ($33.99) - If you are going to gift a whiskey, you’ll likely have to spend a bit more than for wine. Bourbon is all the rage, however, so we think it’s worth it, and you can score the 1792 Small Batch for under $35. This Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was named for the year Kentucky became a state and is the ‘Official Toasting Bourbon of the Kentucky Bourbon Festival’. It’s super smooth, full-bodied, and complex.
“Give me some sugar!” – Grandma
Dashe Late Harvest Zinfandel Dry Creek Sonoma 2013 ($26.99 half bottle) - People don’t buy dessert wine for themselves anymore. This is your opportunity to get your host/hostess something distinct, and they may even enjoy it once all the guests have left the party. Dashe is a Zinfandel expert in California and this sweet wine combines an abundance of concentrated fruit with spice notes and brightness. Hopefully your hosts have a chocolate dessert or some blue cheese left over to enjoy it with.
Check out our blog for more boozy gift giving ideas throughout the holiday season.