December 9, 2014 | Posted by The B-Team
'Tis the season for holiday parties (hallelujah!). I put together this gift guide with the spirit of holiday entertaining in mind -- entertaining with some West Coast flair, that is. These cocktail party finds from across my home coast will add a little more cheer (and cheers!) to your holiday gift-giving. And don't miss our New York gift guide, full of goodness from The Empire State!
Health Ceramics has been producing their iconic tableware in Sausalito since 1948, making them an enduring example of mid-century design. The Rim Line 14.75” circular platter ($93) with an exposed clay rim blends seamlessly into any tabletop décor, and the onyx color makes a rather dramatic backdrop for hors d’oeuvres. It's hard to believe that something this beautiful is also dishwasher and microwave safe, making clean up a cinch!
Just outside of Portland, in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Argyle is one of the premier sparkling wine makers in the region. The high altitude makes the vineyard well suited to producing prime bubbly, and this 2010 Brut Rosé ($50) is a showstopper. It has a rose petal shimmer and is delicate and nimble on the nose. This wine plays very well with food like smoked meats and fish, and makes a darn good gift for just about anyone (over 21, that is!).
March, a light and airy store in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights neighborhood, is one of California's superlative culinary shops, filled with skillfully edited selections of tableware, kitchen essentials, vintage bakeware, paintings, elegant fashions and pantry items. The March Pantry items are bold and inspiring, and the preserves are the ideal update to a tired cheese plate (prices range from $12-$14 -- I suggest getting a trio, as they're that good!). Another option: do a little cocktail hacking by stirring together a teaspoon of jam with your favorite spirit and topping it off with some ice and bubbly – et voila, your holiday cocktail is served!
Scrappy’s Bitters has these darling gift sets ($23) -- because honestly, unless you are making Old Fashions for the masses, who really needs a large bottle of bitters? These handcrafted tinctures from Seattle enliven both cocktails and mocktails with rich and heady aromatics. The flavors range from chocolate to celery, and delightful packaging makes these an ideal stocking stuffer for your favorite cocktail craftsman.
Napa Cakes Panforte ($18) is the perfect alternative to a dense, boozy fruit cake. These delightfully packaged sweets are studded with dried California nuts and fruits and get their moistness from grapseed oil. Looking for a simple and chic hors d'oeuvre? Serve thin slices of panforte with cheese and salumi, along with a bold red wine or your favorite bourbon-based cocktail. Bonus: they also come wrapped in white paper with twine so you can save yourself the trouble of giftwrapping.
Junipero Gin ($30) is made by hand in a copper pot still at the Anchor Distilling Company on Potrero Hill in San Francisco. More than a dozen botanicals go into this satisfyingly spicy spirit that begs to be invited to your holiday party. This gin pairs especially well with citrus -- so mix up some of Bobby’s Tangerine Fizzes or Old Vermonts at your next party!