It would be a profound understatement to say that 2020 has been a tumultuous and chaotic year. For all too many, it has been downright devastating. Despite the doldrums, disappointments and heartache, people far and wide are endeavoring to embrace the spirit of the holiday season and find joy where they can. This includes bestowing thoughtful and heartfelt gifts on friends, family, colleagues and others of care and concern in our sphere. With this, many have asked for my recommendations on foodie-forward holiday gift ideas that can make our lives increasingly “at home” more comfortable, enjoyable and tasty. Here are some of my favorite gift-worthy food and beverage finds of the year.
Four Grain Straight Bourbon Whiskey (www.Ship.BlackButtonDistilling.com)
For those who enjoy libations of the brown variety, Black Button Distilling’s Four Grain Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a no-brainer. It offers a unique character that represents locally grown grains, while also being approachable enough for all bourbon lovers. As a New York State farm distiller, the company uses only the finest corn, wheat, rye and malted barley—each sourced just a short drive from their distillery. In 2018, Black Button purchased a farm, not only to start producing juniper and other botanicals for their gin, but to grow the oak to make their own barrels. To accomplish this, they use the beautiful white oaks already on the property, as well as planting new saplings rather than outsourcing. From wood, to grain, to your glass, the Four Grain Straight Bourbon is a true representation of Black Button. Their mash bill takes its time aging, waiting patiently for their distillers to taste the unique Black Button character in every sip. A quick pass of Four Grain to your nose brings aromas of fresh oak, toffee and leather. Take a sip and enjoy light caramel and vanilla flavors leading to a clean finish all the way to the bottom of your glass. The Black Button Team suggests enjoying it neat, adding a little New York State pride to your classic Old Fashioned. Four Grain Straight is 60 percent corn, 20 percent wheat, nine percent rye and 11 percent malted barley.
Citrus Forward Gin (www.Ship.BlackButtonDistilling.com)
Also flawless for spirits-lovers is Black Button Distilling’s Citrus Forward Gin. Yes, bourbon may be the distillery’s first love, but gin is a close second! So much is it the case that they have two of the five Gin Guild members outside of the United Kingdom right at their own distillery. Started in London in the 1600s, the Gin Guild promotes and encourages commitment to excellence in gin distillation. Starting with an ultra-refined, wheat-based spirit and infusing an alluring blend of botanicals, the resulting Citrus Forward Gin provides an exotic experience that will leave you longing for more. It can capture the hearts of the strongest gin critics, even those that are sure gin is just not their spirit. Named “The Official Gin of Summer” by Food and Beverage Magazine, the rich and juicy orange delivers a bold fruit taste and is a perfect match for the New York State Cascade hops and delicate notes of juniper. Citrus Forward will add a unique character to any cocktail. It will certainly put a tasty twist on a classic Gin and Tonic, but it is also refined and smooth enough to be used in a Dry Gin Martini. The Black Button Team also suggests using Citrus Forward in a classic Bee’s Knees cocktail; just add lemon juice and honey syrup (1:1 honey to boiling water), shake with ice and pour—perfect for porch sipping on a hot summer day.