With the holidays just around the corner, we asked some top tastemakers in the food community to curate their own gift guides from our collection. Check back for more Gifts with Taste and start making your own gift list!
Rich Bubbico is the General Manager at Schiller’s Liquor Bar in New York, a destination for casual dining and superbly mixed cocktails. He also co-authored the new book Schiller’s Liquor Bar Cocktail Collection, a three-volume collection full of recipes for his regulars’ favorite libations. Read on for his top holiday gift picks — they may be just the thing for the cocktail enthusiast on your list.
1. Kai Essential Knife Set: Mixing drinks isn’t my only passion; I also love to cook. My grandfather was a chef, and he advised me at a young age to use good quality cutlery. I remember watching him in the kitchen and I would be amazed at his garlic-chopping skills. He told me he seldom cut himself, and that if he ever did it was only when he was using an old, dull knife. That didn’t make sense to me at the time, but I think I get it now — so I always use good, sharp knives. This set is great for me, because it comes with knives I could use to make garnishes for drinks as well as knives that are essential for preparing a meal.
2. Waring Milk Shake & Drink Mixer: My inner child wants to be able to make milkshakes at home, and my inner grown-up wants to put bourbon in said milkshakes. So this is item is a win-win. I love how sleek the design is. Even in my cramped New York apartment, this will not take up too much valuable space. Retro green is the best — enough said!
3. Artisanal Cocktail Gift Set: All of the gift sets look wonderful, but since I manage a liquor bar, I gravitated toward this one. The packaging is handsome and the tools are elegant. I am a sucker for those big olives. I have not yet tried the Dillon’s DSB Bitters, so I would like to get this gift basket just for that.
4. Schiller’s Liquor Bar Cocktail Collection: Call it shameless self-promotion if you like, but it’s a great collection of recipes, and it is packaged beautifully for the holidays. I think it is a perfect gift for the cocktail lover in your life. There are a lot of seasonal drink recipes, so get your copy before the holidays, and you can hone your mixology skills before your holiday gatherings. Or just come to Schiller’s and I — or one of our highly-skilled bartenders — will mix you a drink!
5. Breville Juice Fountain Duo: Whether I am using juice as a mixer in a cocktail or drinking it on its own to get some much-needed vitamins, nothing beats fresh. I always try to use freshly squeezed juice when making cocktails, so this beautiful juicer is a must-have for me. I can’t believe I don’t already own one of these!