Stumped for what to buy those special someones on your list? Let Chow Bella do the shopping -- or at least the browsing -- with our 2014 gift guides. Today: Gifts for the whiskey lover.
AZ Bitters Lab bitters $18.95/4 oz. bottle www.azbitterslab.com
Bill and Lillian Buitenhuys, the husband and wife team behind AZ Bitters Lab, take their cocktails seriously -- probably not unlike the whiskey enthusiast in your life. Their hand-crafted bitters come in a variety of unique flavors including Orange Sunshine, Mas Mole, Figgy Pudding (our personal favorite with both whiskey and coffee), and the newly introduced Mi Casa bitters, "a complex blend of twelve trade route herbs and spices including cinnamon, galangal, ginger, & myrrh." A drop or two of these locally-made concoctions will become a well-appreciated secret weapon for any at-home drink maker. The company's website even features recipes for AZ Bitters Lab-infused cocktails such as a classic Manhanntan and Old Fashioned.
Ice Sphere Mold or Ice Ball Press $12.95 to $1,099.95 Williams and Sonoma/www.williams-sonoma.com
Chances are that any true whiskey lover already owns a set (or two or three) of whiskey stones. But what might be missing from the typical home bar is a way to make ice balls or spheres like top cocktail bars often use in drink or whiskeys served up. If you really love your whiskey lover, you can go big with the Cirrus Ice Ball Press Kit, a fancy-schmancy tool that turns ice blocks into spheres in dramatic fashion. The Cirus kit will cost you nearly a $1,000 but for a more affordable option you can try these silicone ice molds, which cost just $12.95.
Whiskey from Arizona Distilling Company $45/bottle azdistilling.com
Of course, a bottle of whiskey is an obvious gift option for a whiskey lover but you don't have to spend a fortune to get a bottle that's sure to impress even the most discerning whiskey fan. Tempe's Arizona Distilling Company recently released two new whiskeys, both of which are available in limited supply. The first, Park Rye Whiskey, takes its name from a pre-prohibition brewery and amusement park once located in Tuscon. The spirit is 95 percent rye and 5 percent desert durum wheat. The second new spirit is 80 percent malted barley and 20 percent flaked rye whiskey made through a collaboration with Four Peaks Brewery. Called Humphrey's Whiskey, this first-of-its-kind collaborative spirit takes its name from the tallest peak in Arizona.
Bourbon Pop Candle $42 Jonathan Adler eat Biltmore Fashion Park
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For the whiskey lover with a great sense of style, try this one on for size: designer Jonathan Adler's iconic pop candle in a bourbon scent. Described by the company as smelling like "davana, cognac, plum, leather accord, birch tree, [and] cedar wood" this candle also supposedly evokes feelings of "William Faulkner, a Secret Society at Yale, buckskin breeches, [and] a date with your ex." We're not sure if that last one is a good thing or not, but either way the metallic glass candle is going to look great in any room.
The World Atlas of Whisky $39.99/hardcover Changing Hands (special order)
Dave Broom (@davebroomwhisky) knows a thing or two about whiskey. He's won the Glenfiddich award for his writing four times and contributes to both Whiskey Magazine and Whiskey Advocate, the point being that his book The World Atlas of Whisky will be a good addition to any home library. It explores major whiskey producers from all over the world and provides suggestions based on whiskeys you already know you like. Though it is a reference book (as in, there's a whole lot of information in there), well-done illustrations mean it will also make a handsome coffee table book. To get a copy from a local business, you can place a special order through Changing Hands in Tempe or Phoenix.