Holiday shopping is hard. Drinking with your friends is easy. You might not know what your friends want this year but you sure as hell know what they drink, and I’ve summoned this same spirit out of the glass and into this year’s gift guide. From a bartender and thoughtful observer and gift-giving enthusiast, I’ve paired signature drinks with a smattering of unique, mindful, and downright badass gifts that will leave them wondering how you know them so well when the truth is, and arguably, nothing speaks more to a person than what they order at the bar.
Give it to them straight this year. Or neat. Or up. Or on the rocks. Give it to them how they want it.
The approachable intellectual, this person is deep, intentional, a good listener. He probably wears nice scarves. Her bike is an extension of her frame. When he opens his mouth to speak, it’s always something witty, sharp, and warm, It’s the friend you are so grateful to know, so show her just how well you know her.
Kings County Distillery Whiskey. From the oldest distillery in New York, this smoky, seductive spirit is best shared. Buy this exclusive set from Mouth, $98.
Binchotan Cleansing Set, because hygiene shouldn’t be so sterile. This charcoal-based set is from Need Supply, $120.
A year subscription to Monocle, the bible for the hip, refined urbanist. Get it at Monocle, $135 (comes with a free tote!)
Giles & Brother Railroad Spike Cuff, made in New York and engraved for free. It’s both understated and eye-catching and I never take mine off. Giles + Brother, $75.
Mini Macta Leather Backpack is as functional as it is hip and says way more than a Fjallraven. Perfect for the cyclist, find it at Need Supply, $426.
Everything Now, by Arcade Fire. Progressive and nostalgic, it’s one of the best albums of the year and goes perfectly with a heavy pour of bourbon and deep conversation. Get it at your Academy Records or your local record store.
The socialite, this is the friend who knows all the best restaurants and all the coolest clubs. She always looks effortlessly chic without overdoing it, she’s bright and animated at any hour, day or night, and she always arrives late. He belongs in New York and wherever he is, you want to be too… before everyone else in the city finds out about it.
A Bottle of Cordorniu Cava, from the oldest Cava vineyard in Spain, to accompany that Aperol. Because even a trend-setter appreciates a bit of rich history, especially one that’s potable. $16 at Dandelion Wine or your local wine shop.
Better than Sex Mascara. Thick, bold, eye-catching, it’ll attract attention as her eyes light up to tell you about the best new spot no one’s heard of yet. $23 from Sephora.
This book, Eating with the Chefs, at the top of every food-enthusiasts’ list that goes into the kitchen and into the creative minds of the masters of their craft. It will give him something to talk about at every hip restaurant in town. Find it at Archestratus or your local bookstore.
Because she is a class-pass indulger, these hip Adidas sneaks keep up. Find them at Nordstrom, $85.
This Felt Letterboard, because this bright spirit of many mantras will want to have a visible and changeable sign whenever she changes her mind. From Etsy, $29.
Always entertaining, this Slate Serving Board from Brooklyn Slate, found at Whisk, $34.
Fill it with a few of your favorites from Bedford Cheese Shop.
Masseduction by St Vincent. This album is an ode to city life, edgy and deep and devastatingly catchy, and it belongs in her record player. Get it at Captured Tracks or your local record shop.
A glass of Rioja Reserva.
The traveler, a gypsy soul. His apartment feels like a museum, full of carefully selected ephemera from trips and original artwork. Stories from her travels never feel pretentious or overdone because she experiences places the way most people experience a lover, with a deep soul connection, heartbreaking and exhilirating and always a part of her. And he approaches his wine just the same. With an unpretentious, uninterupted, unwavering reverence.
This Rioja Reserva from R. Lopez de Heredia in Haro, Spain. One of the oldest winemaking towns in the region, this vineyard is over 140 years old and has always had a female winemaker. The story and wine will transport her right back to the Iberian Peninsula. $50, at Uva wines or your local wine shop.
A vintage suitcase that will fit right in with his apartment decor and is waiting to be filled with ephemera. Found on Etsy, $145.
A Dream Catcher. Because she’s a dreamer and believer in harnessing spiritual energy. And, feathers and fringe are kind of her thing. Handmade in Brooklyn by Electric Love, price upon request.
A brass compass with something moving inscribed upon it to keep him moving. Shipped next day from Istanbul, mine is from Etsy and starts at $35.
A Mexican Blanket, the pinnacle of cultural textiles. For yoga, for picnics, for love-making. I got mine from Dobbin St Co-Op for $50.
This 2018 Moonphase Chart. Ethereal and soulful, she knows that the moon is powerful and omniscient, guider of the tides and our intentions. Let this be a constant reminder. Handmade in Brooklyn by Margins, $22.
A Monocle City Guide, for his next destination, or better, one he hasn’t heard of. Monocle’s hunger and understanding of urban environments is unmatched. He’ll get lost in this book before he finds himself there. Choose one at Monocle for $20.
Natalia Lafourcade’s Mujer Divina. Famed Folk singer and composer Agustin Lara’s songs all reimagined and sung with collaborations from well-known artists, this album is transportive and soulful and stunning. Look for it on Mexican Ebay (No kidding. You’ll never find it anywhere else.)
Gin and Tonic.
For the partier in your life. This is the friend that greets the sunrise on a too-regular basis. The one that is so into the underground scene they’re actually over it. She knows all the best new music. He never seems to get a hangover. He wants his booze straight-forward and easy to drink and drinks a lot of it. She’s already booked next year’s trip to Ibiza. Show her you can keep up with these gifts.
Brooklyn Gin. Oh as if you didn’t see this coming. Get it from Mouth, $55.
Tickets to any show, check Bowery Presents and go together.
The Man Who Fell to Earth by David Bowie. He’s her spirit-animal-human, and now guiding light. Find it at Word Books or your local bookstore.
This Milk Holographic Luminizer, to distract attention from dark eyes and keep her looking fresh all night. Get it from Milk, $28.
These dope headphones, because listening should be active and style should be audible. Find them at Net-A-Porter, $123.
A little responsibility goes a long way. Give her a reason to spend the night at home every once in a while. This Hanging Planter (filled with living things), from Anthropologie, $78.
LCD Soundsystem’s American Dream. Their first album in 7 years? You know it’s at the top of his list. American Dream, find it Halcyon or your local record store.
This is the friend that is always working on a new project. Always networking. Always knows someone who knows someone who she’ll connect you with. His bookshelf is full of spiritual, professional, and intellectual motivation. Bring something to the table with these gifts.
Industry City Distillery Vodka. Smoother than smooth and made from beet sugar, with an ambitious story and labeling that this go-getter will appreciate. Read the story and find a bottle here.
2018 Stendig Wall Calendar, because organization should be stylish and visible and always in Helvetica. Find it at Need Supply, $38.
You Are a Badass. Jen Sincero’s approach to purposeful, spiritual, and unyieldingly confident living is are the words that will keep her going and thinking and creating and believing. I got my copy at Word Books, $16.
Tom Dixon Copper Percolator. Because she stops for nothing, except coffee this charming little pot that will also start her mornings off in style. Order it from Amara Home $190.
Then fill it with your favorite blend from Brooklyn’s own Stumptown.
Caran d’Ache Notebook and Pen Set. This Sassy Pen and totable notebook, ready and waiting for all of the ideas. From Need Supply, $54.
Mondo Cozmo’s Plastic Soul. Anyone who’s heard his story, from dead-broke and cutting lawns to selling out shows nationwide, he gave up everything to confidently pursue his dream. His sound is strong and powerful and inspiring and just what she needs to be in her ears. Find it at Rough Trade or your local record store.
Nothing will make this person happier than they way they look underneath a whisper-thin Tshirt. Give them a compliment, and make it audible enough so others hear.
Happy gifting, happy drinking, happy holidays, with love from Brooklyn.