Ever seen that super-cute gift you gave your best friend—in her next tag sale? Awkward. Yet, there comes a time in many a gift-giver’s life when we have to confront this uncomfortable truth: Some of our dearest friends have enough stuff. That’s one reason why consumable hostess gifts are so prized. And if you’ve chosen wisely, by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around, your gift will be little more than a cherished memory—which is the one thing everyone can use more of when holidays roll around.
Frisk Prickly Riesling, 2010
In all my years of wine criticism, nothing delights folks as easily as a bottle of Frisk Prickly Riesling. Picture something halfway between bubbly, clean Prosecco and a rich, fragrant dessert wine. It’s Australian, so the blend of Riesling and Muscat Gordo grapes get nice and flower-garden perfumed, but then it’s made in this clever way that makes it brisk, clean and gulpable. That’s not all that’s good about it: Priced at about $10 a bottle, you can afford to give it to all the hostesses on your list.
Otima 10-Year Tawny Port
Like toffee made into something sophisticated enough for sipping on a private jet, this is the venerable Port house Warre’s bid to go boldly into the 21st century, and it is exquisite paired with crème brulee or a good old pint of vanilla ice cream.
New, artisanal bitters are all the rage in fancy cocktail circles—and those from Wisconsin’s Bittercube are some of the very best. Use them in traditional cocktails or add to bubbly water from a Soda Stream for something more low-cal but interesting.
Fresh mint simple syrup is most associated with a traditional mint julep and Derby season, but if you make a big batch and bottle it, your lucky gift recipient can use it for juleps, yes, but also for fresh mojitos, minty hot chocolate, to pour over ice-cream or to drizzle over cantaloupe chunks for a light dessert. Mint syrup is versatile and will keep well in the refrigerator for about two weeks after you make it.
Spicy Hot Chocolate
Mexican hot cocoa is very on-trend, so consider mixing up a few batches of the dry ingredients and package in Mason jars or prettily decorated bags or boxes.
General Mills has no affiliation with any of the products mentioned in this article.