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Friday, June 17, 2011

Gift Ideas for Dad: Fathers’ Day and all year round

What are the best gift ideas for Dad in Salt Lake City?  First: know your audience (your Dad).  Does Dad like cocktails, or does he go for simplicity?  If he has a bar, there may be opportunities for barware or glassware, but check out what he already has: try to find something he needs or can actually use.  If glassware might work, you can find new, modern glass barware at Salt Lake City stores like Sur la Table (10 North Rio Grande Street, in the Gateway), Pottery Barn(602 S 500 E, in Trolley Square), and Bed Bath and Beyond (six stores around Salt Lake City).  You can also shop flea markets and antique stores for something really cool that he will also use.  (Check out the glassware in the movie Midnight in Paris so you’ll know what to look for.)  An Absinthe fountain may not be the best gift for your Dad unless he is either a confirmed Absinthe drinker or into antique glassware. 

What if you’ve waited until the last minute and don’t have time to shop around?  In that case, it may be best to move in the direction of a simple (but not too simple) bottle of liquor, but first there are things to be considered.  If he’s not a drinker, liquor is not the right gift for him.  If he has a drinking problem, or if his doctor has told him not to drink, again this is not the right gift for him.  Finally, if you are not of legal drinking age, this is not the way to go.  If none of these obstacles are present, and if your father is a drinker, what type(s) of liquor does he like to drink?  What does he enjoy after a holiday dinner?  If he already has a multi-year supply of his favorite brand (thanks to prior gifts from you or your siblings), it might be time to try something different.  Sometimes tried and true gift ideas get tired, especially when you may have tried them too many times.  If not, let’s take a look at some spirit oriented gift ideas.
A tried and true, age-old gift idea for Dad is a bottle of his favorite hooch; this is true even in Salt Lake City, where the Utah DABC stores have a pretty god selection of items that might make Dad happy.  (If you’re trying to save a few bucks while making Dad happy, the Utah DABC stores usually cooperate during holiday months.  You can check out what’s on sale this month in Utah here.)  Here are some ideas to help get you thinking along the right lines. If you know your Dad’s brand (you do, right?) a good idea is to get Dad an “upgrade.”  If he is a whiskey drinker, gift the old man an older bottle, say the twelve year old version, of whatever brand he usually drinks.  If he loves Tequila, upgrade him to a Reposado; if he is into Rum, there are some excellent aged Rums and Añejos available.  (Appleton Estate® 12 Year Jamaica ($30) is a great example.)  On the other hand, if he loves to make craft cocktails, you might be able to locate a bottle of a hard-to-find ingredient that he would love to try out.  You could even get him something easy-to-find that he might not have tried, an aperitif like Lillet Blanc® ($18) or Campari® ($25), for example.

What to do, though, if your Dad is a Vodka drinker?  There’s not much available in the way of “aged Vodka,” so you might want to try going for something unusual instead.  Crystal Head® Vodka ($50) uses ancient glacial water from an aquifer in Newfoundland, Canada, and is filtered through 500-million year-old quartz crystals (known as Herkimer diamonds) after being distilled four times.  Containing “absolutely no additives,” Crystal Head is probably the purist Vodka around, and just about the smoothest I have had.  Just the legend of Crystal Head will impress Dad, and think of the Vodka Martini he will be able to enjoy as he contemplates increasing the inheritance of his favorite child.

Gin, like Vodka, is a spirit that is not normally aged.  (Citadelle Réserve® Gin, a limited edition Gin, is aged in oak for 6 months, but may be hard to find.  It’s not available in Utah.)  Be aware of the style of Gin your Dad enjoys, do a little research, and buy him an “upgrade,” especially if he’s into the Classic Martini.  If he’s a Scotch lover, you job is a little easier.  A variety of brands are on special price adjustment in June, with ages like 10, 12, 15, 16, and 18 years there must be something old enough for Dad to enjoy.  If he likes blended Scotch in, say, a Blood and Sand, he might like a bottle of Dewar’s® White Label ($22).

Casa Noble® Tequilas are, sadly, not available in Utah, but traveling Utahans and readers from other states have plenty of opportunities to enjoy their high quality, certified organic Tequilas.  Reading their website gives one an idea of the craftsmanship and care that goes into creating gold medal winning Tequilas like Casa Noble Añejo, from cultivating the blue agave to the aging in French oak barrels.  If Dad is a Tequila lover, he will certainly enjoy sipping a glass of Añejo.  Casa Noble even provides recipes for cocktails like the Skinny Margarita, that uses their Crystal.

Four Roses® Bourbons are another item you will want to look for as you move around the country.  Four Roses actually makes ten different Bourbon recipes that are aged in French oak barrels and blended into a variety of whiskeys.  That is dedication to the distillers’ art.  Their flagship brand, Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon, is a blend of all ten.  After enjoying an excellent Four Roses Mint Julep in Chicago (of all places), I’m hoping to see this Bourbon become available in Utah soon.

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