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Gifts for the Martini Lover

 

Number 6 will shock you! …probably not, I just figure if it works for buzzfeed it can work for me.  I was recently thinking about Christmas, for obvious reasons and I found myself shopping for a martini lover… now it’s come to my attention before that not everyone is as spectacular at giving gifts as I am so I figured I might as well share this art with the rest of the world and throw down some of the cooler stuff I’ve found!

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Literally the first google result for “people drinking martinis”.  Is this what we are supposed to look like?

The first thing to ask yourself when giving someone an alcohol related present is what they already have.  Martini glasses may seem like an excellent idea but if they have four or five sets already, maybe skip that.  It’s also important to take into account whether they want more martini related stuff.  I was once acquainted with a family that was really into wine, therefore literally every person that knew them only got them wine-related things for their holidays.  I don’t know how they will continue to decorate the kitchen tastefully with so many wine knick-knacks.  If the Martini lover in your life already has all the posters, glasses, bar equipment and general paraphernalia anyone could ever want, see if they have other hobbies.  If they don’t, see if they need help.

More Liquor!

This one is a real safe bet with Martini lovers, and impersonal enough for those office relationships or more casual family members.  It’s also great for the broke tini-lover since we often find ourselves unable to justify the price of nicer bottles.  If you’re not sure whether they are a gin or vodka gal/guy it’s also pretty easy to figure out.  Tell ’em you’re trying out martinis and ask how they like theirs… I promise, they will tell you everything you need to know.  From there you just pick the bottle! As with anything, I recommend local if you can get it.  Locally made spirits are a great conversation piece and you can get some unusual offerings for a reasonable price.  If local isn’t an option then hit your favorite place to get alcohol and head for the mid-range shelf.  With Vodka the $25-35 price range should cover a great deal of it, though if you are looking for a gin, I would suggest upping the budget to $40 for a really great find.  My personal recommendations? For Vodka look at Belvedere, Hangar One, Chopin Rye, and Prairie Organic Vodka.  As an added bonus, if you can get real Bison Grass Vodka in your nation (not available in the U.S.), though it is a flavored vodka, it can really take a Martini to the next level.  If your amigo/a is more of a Gin person try these brands: The Botanast, Anything from St. George though they have a little 3 pack that would be great, Aviation Gin, or Death’s Door Gin. 

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From the authors personal collection… maybe I should start drinking some of this faster.

More Mixers! 

Well, maybe your acquaintance has all the liquor they need or maybe that’s a little too impersonal.  It’s not Bob from work, it’s your friend Bob, that you work with! You’re the kind of gift giver that likes to *wow* with your attention to detail.  For those dirty  minded friends in your life, try something like this Barrel Aged Olive Brine,the perfect complement to your martini-fans repertoire.  Plus, at only $25 it comes in under most secret Santa limits!  If you like your olive flavor to come with actual olives, consider this upscale Martini Olive Set with Anchovy stuffed manzanillas, orange, lemon and jalapeño stuffed Gordals.  I mean shit, I don’t even like dirty martinis that much and I’m tempted.  If that’s more a little than you are looking for, Total Wine and BevMo both carry olives soaked in dry vermouth for about $8.  It’s a great complement to whatever else you’re giving this season.  Or hell, make your own damn olives!  It’s more personal and you can make them exactly the way you think your amigo/amiga would prefer.  Jalepeno and blue cheese? Sure, why not! Cranberry and red peppers? Of Course! Rosemary and Mint? Uhh… I guess! Little shards of glass and poison?! Eh, maybe you should just buy them…

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Ohh fuck yeah, olives…

Modern Glassware

It’s not that hard to find martini glasses and the odds are good that if you’re shopping for a martini lover they already have at least a few.  That’s why (should you determine that they actually want/need more) you have two options: nicer or unusual.  Nice is the easy one to answer: Riedel. It’s easy enough to find, they have a line of (supposedly slightly lower quality, but who knows?) martini glasses available at target or you can order online. These are very delicate but god you just feel so good.  If you are looking for a high end gift, there is no comparison.  If the price is a little steep, don’t be afraid to look secondhand, we found a set of 3 genuine Riedel glasses at Goodwill for $1 each.

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For this next section we need to make a bold assumption: that both the gift giver and the gift receiver have taste.  Yeah, I know, what are the odds of that? When you are thinking about giving someone the gift of unusual glassware, it’s important to take into account where this glass is going and what their home is like.  A rustic/chic decor might benefit from these Wooden Cocktail Glasses.  Similarly, these Stainless Steel Cocktail Glasses would look very at home in a Modern/Deco type of home.  Is your friend (and their home) a little more playful or laid back? Or maybe they love martinis but regularly forget what goes in them… Well then Alyson Thomas has the glass for them!  With an adorable little diagram your fiend never has to worry about accidentally mixing a hot toddy, strawberry daquari, or original Trader Vic’s Mai Tai in this glass again! Don’t worry, we’ve all been there before.  If you’re shopping for one classy broad (or the guy version of that word) or for your mother-in-law who never thinks anything you do is good enough, check out these Gorgeous Crystal Glasses, sure to wow everyone this holiday season.  Plus, totally heirlooms if your *ahem* …planning ahead.

Antique Glassware

Now all those glasses are totally rad but they are kind of expensive and so easy to get  Wouldn’t it be nice if you had a glass that you were sure your friend isn’t going to find anywhere else? Luckily with the rise of the second coming of cocktails, vintage cocktails are all the rage and so is their glassware.  Places like Etsy and Ebay are ripe with vintage martini glasses, though be wary of the prices.  It’s easy to pay too much for something that you can’t see and hold in your hand.  If you live in a larger city and have some time on your hands, I strongly recommend checking out thrift stores and antique shops.  Usually nice glassware ranges from $1-$5/glass in my area.

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Curated from the authors private collection
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It’s private because I have no friends :'(

Matching sets can make it a little more difficult, though don’t be afraid to get a mis-matched but complementary set.  When you are going vintage, the rules are made to be broken (unlike the glassware).  I’ve found that consignment malls are also a great place to try.  In Phoenix we have a few, most notably the Brass Armadillo, a place where people rent small display cases to get rid of their (usually deceased relatives) stuff.  The prices are a little higher but the odds of getting something in better condition or full sets go way up.  You are also more likely to find things that were owned by one person for it’s life, therefore you know it was taken care of a little more than the usual things that show up at a goodwill.

If you need inspiration, check out the instagram page for Raising the Bar, a vintage barware company based in the Northwest U.S. @badassbarware.  Careful though, glassware collecting is a slippery slope.  First you think you’ll get one or two for a friend, next thing you know you have cabinets full of irreplaceable dedicates… what a great life.

The “Don’ts” of Glassware

DON’T go Cheap/easy.  I know some of those glassware sets get pretty expensive.  If you’re not looking to spend that much on this gift, that’s okay, pick one of the other options.  But don’t go looking around walmart or big lots and pick whatever kinda funky zig-zag martini glass they threw out there this week.  Trust me, if someone really likes martinis then they already will have either gotten the cheaper glasses or went right to the good stuff.  There is no point in getting someone a gift that they won’t really use or appreciate.

DON’T get a klutz something they can’t replace.  Maybe you want to get your BFF those $139 crystal glasses but whenever she’s drinking she always ends up dropping something and breaking it.  Don’t be that person that sets your friend up for failure.  Keep in mind if they have rowdy dogs or children too.  When you really love your glassware, the sound of shattering glass can ruin your entire week.  This is where the wooden or the metal glasses come in handy.  If your friend goes through glasses almost as fast as they go through the liquid in them, help them make the investment in something they can’t break.

and DON’T get them something you aren’t sure will go with their home.  Those wooden martini glasses may be the coolest thing you’ve ever seen but if your giftee doesn’t like them then you are better off getting them nothing at all.  At least then they won’t have to decide what to do with your gift.

 

ART! 

Well you scoped it out and it turns out your fiend has all they need to make (and serve) a damn good martini… what to do?! The last few years, as my family has accumulated (and disposed of) a good deal of knick knacks and “Things”, I’ve found myself turning more and more towards the walls for their gifts.  The best thing about posters is that they are flat and adhere to other flat surfaces so as to not actually take up more space in the home.  It’s magical.

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Pictured: “Things” and also flat things.

If you liked those diagram glasses above, but don’t want to get your friend breakables, consider Alyson’s Martini Diagram Posters!  With three varieties of martini, your amigo will surely know that you took the time to figure out what they liked.  Alternatively, check out etsy! It’s another great way to support small artists and creators while getting good deals on cool stuff.  Here’s just a few awesome martini posters and art that I found with a quick search:

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$18 from BokehEverAfter

 

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$60 From Bookoffstudios
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$75 from ArtHouseGraffiti

In Conclusion!

Hopefully if you were a little iffy on how to proceed, this has helped you immensely.  If it hasn’t, I hope at least that you were entertained.  Naturally, I wrote this article as I was searching for the perfect gift for the martini lover in my life (though after procuring it all I discovered that they actually mostly drank pretty things out of martini glasses so I really did break my own rules) and I would be remiss if I didn’t share my findings with you!

I wanted the full set so we have a silver serving platter for ~$20, set of 6 mid-century gold embossed martini glasses for ~$25, and a Vintage black and gold glass decanter for ~$15.  The martini poster in the back is a discontinued print from PopChartLabs and is part of my personal collection and not this gift.  It makes for a great picture though.  These were all found at Brass Armadillo with two locations in Phoenix, Az and I would say I spent a total of about 6 hours searching for the right stuff.  If you know your local thrift, estate sale, and antique places you could probably hope to do about the same.  If you do not know your local thrift, etc. places then I would expect to spend a few more hours to find them and to walk very slowly looking at a whoooole lot of stuff. Bring some headphones if you’re alone and listen to something relaxing.  This should not be a stressful gift giving experience, but rather a fun afternoon of antiquing with a particular goal in mind. Good luck!

 

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